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What is a thaler? Ancient coins and their value
What is a thaler? Ancient coins and their value

Beginner numismatists are concerned about the question of what a thaler is. This is a silver coin that played an important role in international trade in the 16th-19th centuries. In fact, it was one of the first international currencies. The appearance of the coin was different from the usual medieval banknotes. Thaler became the basis of the monetary system in many countries of the world. For those who are interested in old coins and their value, it is no secret that the price of a coin at auctions often exceeds 500 thousand rubles.

History of occurrence

Johimstaler with Ferdinand's profile

The development of trade in European countries caused the need for a large silver coin for settlements. The golden guilder was popular, but there were not enough gold reserves to issue this coin. In 1484, the production of a new coin began in Tyrol. It weighed about 15 g and was minted from high-grade silver. Two years later, Duke Sigismund issued a larger coin weighing 31 g. It was called a guldiner. But the coin was not widely used. Few people knew what a thaler was. They were used only in Saxony. Only in the 16th century guldiners weighing 29 gspread throughout Europe. They were minted in Switzerland and Saxony. Initially, coins were issued in small gift lots. Only in 1500 guldiners were recognized as a means of payment. The coins have shrunk in diameter and become thicker.


In 1510, new deposits of silver were discovered in Bohemia. The settlement of miners was named Tal (valley). In 1517 it was renamed Joachimsthal, in honor of Saint Joachim. Currently, this city is called Jachymov and is part of the Czech Republic. A year later, the local baron, Stefan Schlick, received from the king the right to issue a silver coin. In 1518, 60 thousand coins of excellent quality from 920 silver were issued. The merchants no longer had the question of what a thaler was. In the description of the coins, the thaler did not stand out in any way: on one side of the coin, the image of St. Joachim was printed, and on the other, a lion. The proximity of Leipzig contributed to the rapid spread of the coin. Famous fairs were held in this city. After the death of the baron, his family lost their monetary regalia. The mint became the property of King Charles V. The portrait of Ferdinand replaced the image of St. Joachim on the new coin. By 1545, 3 million silver guldiners were produced. According to the place of issue, they were called "Joachimstalers". From the word "thaler" came the names of many modern coins, for example, the dollar.

Holy Roman Empire

Thaler 1549

In 1524, a single monetary charter of the Holy Roman Empire was adopted. He had to answer the question, what is a thaler. According to himthe mass of this coin was 29 g with a silver content of 85%. But the statute was not properly observed. In each country, the coin had its own characteristics. Kings and dukes printed their portraits on thalers. After all, coins were also used for political purposes at that time. In 1534 Saxony and Bohemia began issuing coins with a lower silver content. The quality of coinage began to decline. For this reason, in the 50s of the 16th century, two more coin charters were adopted. Silver began to be supplied to Europe in large quantities from America. The value of this metal has declined.

In 1551, the mass of the thaler was increased to 31 g. The silver guldiner was again equated with the gold gulden. But in Germany, the new standard did not take root. New stamps and thalers were issued here. Only in 1556 a single standard was adopted in the country. Coins began to be called Reichsthaler. Guldiner was equal to two-thirds of a thaler. The stability and versatility of the thaler has allowed it to take a leading position in international trade for a long time.


Thaler of the Holy Roman Empire

The national currency of the state was the real. Spain at that time was a world maritime power. For trade with other countries, new coins were issued in denominations of 8 reais. This was the course of the German thaler. The coin was called the peso. In Russia it was called piastres. Also in many countries it was known as the Spanish dollar. This coin has spread all over the world. To get one real, it was cut into 8 parts.


Thaler 1624

The state that declared independence quickly got rid of the British monetary system. The Spanish piastres became the basis for the country's new currency, the silver dollar. Piasters were withdrawn from circulation only in the middle of the 19th century.

Latin America

Thaler 1648

In the countries of the New World, the peso has become the national currency. In Brazil, the silver coin was given the Spanish name real. The English letters "P" and "S" are considered the origin of the "$" character. Coins also reached Asian countries by sea. The Chinese Yuan and the Japanese Yen are also descended from the Spanish dollar.


One third thaler

Spain also produced a thaler for the Netherlands. Soon wars broke out between the provinces of this country. Each of them renamed the thaler in its own way. After the unification of the country, in 1581, the coin was called the Reiksdalder. In 1816 the name was changed to gulden. It was issued for almost 200 years, before the country's transition to the euro.

Scandinavian countries

Swedish thaler began to be produced in 1534. He received the name riksdaler. These coins were used in Denmark and Norway. After some time, they were replaced by the new currency of Scandinavia - the crown.


In this state, the coins were called Tallero. They were of poor quality. They were used as a monetary means for trade with African countries and the Levant. These coins were issued until 1941.


Joachimstalers in Russia renamed into morea simple word - efimok. One efimok was equal to 64 kopecks. In 1654, the issue of new coins with a denomination of one ruble began. But they did not take root and were again minted into kopecks. Usually, thalers were not melted down, but only the symbol of the Russian mint was applied to them. Under Peter I, a new monetary reform was carried out. The issue of silver rubles has begun.


At the beginning of the 17th century in Germany, the issue of small silver coins was unprofitable. Stocks of this metal were not enough to meet the need for cash. Thalers and guldiners were melted down to produce local coins. The quality of minting silver thalers in Germany was constantly deteriorating. They were refused to be accepted as a salary, even money riots began. The closure of illegal mints stabilized the country's monetary system. The mark was equal to 15 silver thalers. The mass of the thaler was reduced to 28 g. This coin was issued in Germany until 1907. The three-mark coin was called the thaler until the 1930s.


In Switzerland, the thaler was used as a currency until the middle of the 19th century. In 1850 the Swiss franc was put into circulation. In the 20th century, most European states switched to their own currencies.

Interesting facts

In the 90s in Belarus, the introduction of a monetary unit - the tolar - was discussed. Until 2006, the Slovenian currency had a similar name.

In 2008, a 20 kg coin was issued in Austria. She practically repeated the design of the 1508 coin. This is a collectible item for those who study vintagecoins and their value.

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