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Secular Silbertaler Archduke Leopold V of Austria-Tyrol, minted 1632 in Hall (Tyrol)
Reverse side of the coin; Fine weight: 25.667 g with 890.625 ‰ silver content

The thaler , German spelling until 1901 thaler, is a type of large European silver coin that was important from the early modern period to the 19th century . Silver coins, which in terms of their contemporary value corresponded to a golden guilder coin , were first minted in Hall in Tyrol in 1486 . Such coins gradually spread across Europe and beyond from 1500. The guldengroschen struck in the Bohemian Joachimsthal (today Jáchymov ) were first called " Joachimsthaler " and later, according to the popularly known as "'s Tal", called "Thaler" for short, which is a generic termfor coins of this size. The legal silver content of the various thalers decreased from about 27.4 g to 16.7 g of fine silver from the Imperial Guilders (1524) to the Vereinstalers .

In Germany the thaler in the form of the Vereinstaler (1857–1871) remained the most important large silver coin until the introduction of the mark . On May 19, 1908, parallel to the suspension of the Vereinstaler, it was decided to issue 3-Mark coins of equal value. They were still popularly referred to as "thalers". Thaler-sized silver coins were also popular outside of Germany; so the term dollar is derived from the Low German / Dutch pronunciation of taler .


Forerunners and thalers up to the 3rd Reich Coin Order

The Tyrolean guldiner

Guldiner of Archduke Siegmund of Tyrol

The Tyrolean Guldiner from 1486 was also called the Großer Groschen or Großer Pfennig and was the first of its kind. It was created when the idea of minting a silver coin worth one gulden came up in Tyrol, which was blessed with newly discovered silver deposits . Gold minted guilders (see also Florentines ) had spread from northern Italy as a popular type of money for high payments since the late Middle Ages. With a value ratio between gold and silver of 11.58: 1, the guldiner had to have a fine weight of 29.9 g of silver. With a silver alloy of 15 Lot = 937.5 ‰, this corresponds to a theoretical coin weight (rough weight) of almost 32 grams. In fact, measurements showed that the rough weight varied between 27.17 g and 32.02 g. Silver coins this large were new for the time and could only be minted after some technical problems had been resolved. The large differences in the rough weight seem to indicate that this was less a coin in circulation and more of a representational coinage. This also applies to the many early imitations.

Since the coin was supposed to have the value of one guilder, it was called the "guldiner". As a result, the name "Guldiner" or "Gulden" stuck to the silver coin. The gold gulden was now called "gold gulden" - a pleonasm . The guldiner was divided into 60 kreuzers , and over time this value became established as the bill of exchange: 1 gulden was the unit of measurement for 60 kreuzers, even if the minted coin was valued higher because the silver content of the kreuzer minted steadily decreased.

The Saxon guldengroschen from 1500 ("Klappmützentaler")

Folded cap thaler around 1518

As early as 1492 and 1493, the Zwickau and Schneeberg mints in the silver-rich Electorate of Saxony had minted beard groschen and from 1496 interest groschen. The actual history of the thaler as a circulation coin begins in 1500, when the Saxon Electorate began to issue a "groschen so gulden tut".

The Elector Frederick the Wise issued in agreement with Duke Albrecht, who was represented by his son, George, and his brother John, the Saxon Coinage of 1500, as a pattern for other mints , and also as a basis for Reichsmünzordnungen served the 16th century. Eight coins were to be struck from a rough Cologne mark (= 233.86 g). So this coin had a mass of 29.23 g. With a fineness of 15 solder = 937.5 ‰, the fine weight was formally 27.41 g silver, i.e. h., it was added 8 8 / 15 shaped coins from a Cologne Mark fine silver. Since around 1505, the fineness has been reduced by 2  grains to 14 89 Lot = 930.6 ‰, so that the new fine weight was around 27.2 g (for fluctuations in the mass data, see e.g. Rittmann, Geldgeschichte, p. 725).

Since the coin image showed the elector and the two dukes with folding hats, the Saxon guldengroschen, which was minted until 1525, was later referred to as the “Klappmützentaler” after the term thaler had prevailed. It was coined in the mints Annaberg , Buchholz , Leipzig and possibly also in Wittenberg .

The Schlick Guldengroschen 1519–1546 ("Joachimstaler")


In the Bohemian Ore Mountains , too , silver was mined in large quantities from 1516 onwards, and from 1519 onwards the counts Schlick had huge amounts of guilder groschen struck according to the Saxon coinage rate - 29.232 g rough and 27.202 g fine. After their place of origin Joachimsthal they were soon called "Joachimsthaler", later shortened to "Thaler / Taler". This name prevailed for all silver coins of this size from the middle of the 16th century. The Joachimsthaler carried on one side the image of the local saint, St. Joachim , and on the reverse the lion's coat of arms of Bohemia , which is why the coin was alternatively referred to as the “lion penny”. From 1536 the fineness of the Joachimsthaler was reduced to 14 Lot 8 Grän = 902.77 ‰ and thus to 26.39 g of silver.

The Husum thaler from 1522

The Danielstaler

The Danielstaler are thalers from the Jever reign from the reign of Fraulein Maria (1536–1575). They were minted without a year and with the year 1561 and 1567. The coinage without the year had a special reason. When the imperial coinage system was introduced, Maria von Jever decided, due to her special situation, not to mint according to the imperial coinage system, but to continue to use the lighter Burgundian standard and initially to omit the year. She was not alone in this practice. See Danielstaler # Das Münzverbot .

The Reichstaler from 1566 (minted coin and bill coin)

Attempts to create a uniform imperial coin system accepted by all imperial estates failed at the imperial diets of 1524, 1551 and 1559. Some coin estates always refused to adhere to the regulations. However, two of the decisions made were valid: 1) At the Reichstag in Esslingen in 1524, the Cologne mark (= 233.856 g) was set as the basic weight of coins for the entire empire. It was not replaced by the 500 g pound until 1857. 2) At the Diet of Augsburg in 1559 the realization finally prevailed that the original unit of gold guilders = silver guilders = 60 kreuzers could no longer be maintained. The gold gulden should be 72-75 kreuzers. The imperial guldiner , which had already been valued at 63 kreuzers in 1524 and 72 kreuzers in 1551, has now been reduced to 60 kreuzers, the traditional value of the guilder . The bill coin and the minted coin should coincide again. However, this also meant that from now on the thaler and imperial guldiner were two different coins: the large coins, now generally called “thalers”, with a fineness of approx. 27 g and the somewhat lower imperial guldiner with a fineness of 22.907 g. The latter are to be regarded as the first (silver) guilders in the true sense. They were minted with significant numbers under the name "Reichsguldiner" or "Guldentaler" only in Austria and Nuremberg.

Since the thalers were already circulating in large quantities in the empire and were still minted in large quantities, especially in northern Germany, many imperial estates refused to even consider the issue of the imperial guldiner of 1559. At the Reichstag in Augsburg in 1566, reality was taken into account and an amendment to the Imperial Coin Order of 1559 was issued which also raised the taler to the rank of an imperial coin. From this Reichstaler - as already traditional - 8 should be minted from a rough Cologne mark. The silver content of the coin alloy was, however, reduced somewhat. The fineness sank to 888.89 ‰ (then: 14 Lot 4 Grän). Thus, exactly nine Reichstaler could be minted from one Cologne mark of fine silver. The Reichstaler thus had a calculated fine weight of 25.984 g with a mass of 29.232 g. The Reichstaler was valued at 68 cruisers from that time in the Reichsmünzordnung of 1566. After the usual objections, it prevailed relatively quickly throughout the empire and beyond.

A big problem that dragged on through the whole of German coin history well into the 19th century was the constant deterioration of coins. Fraudulent minters repeatedly reduced the precious metal content of their coins, especially for the smaller denominations . At a time when the precious metal content of a coin was decisive for its value, this meant that small coins such as cruisers, groschen and shillings continuously depreciated. The Reichstaler was initially rated at 68 kreuzers, but it quickly rose to 72 kreuzers. The contemporaries constantly complained about the "rise of the taler"; this was due to the deterioration of the small coins.

After the hyperinflation of the Kipper and Wipper times , the small coins were stably issued for about 40 years from 1623. At that time 90 kreuzers had to be paid for a Reichstaler. People got used to this long-term stable relationship and soon saw the Reichstaler as the bill for 90 Kreuzers. In parts of northern Germany, the Reichstaler was seen as being worth 24 good groschen , 36 Mariengroschen or 48 Luebian shillings.

However, the change in change soon set in again, and the Reichstaler rose again. Whole Reichstaler after the Reichsmünzfuß were noticeably less pronounced.

Thaler in the 17th and 18th centuries

When the silver yield of the mines in the Holy Roman Empire fell significantly in the course of the 17th century, many minters switched to minting only smaller parts of the Reichspeciestaler. The place of the large ('coarse') silver coins was increasingly taken over by foreign coins. Above all, the French thalers, the Écus blancs, minted since 1641 , formed the main circulation coin in large parts of Germany in the first half of the 18th century, and they were equated with the Reichspeciestaler - around 1700 this was 1 das (invoice) Reichstaler or 2 guilders -, even if not all of them reached their full value, as otherwise there would not have been enough coarse varieties available. This situation led to various attempts by the issuance of new - i. H. to stabilize the situation (or to benefit from it). In the Habsburg hereditary lands, instead of the Reichstaler, an Austrian Taler was minted with its own coin base.

To finance the Seven Years' War , various minters - above all Frederick II of Prussia - issued their own coins with increasingly poor fineness (see Ephraimites ). There is also talk of a third tipper and luffing period . In addition, own and foreign coins were forged on a large scale ( hedge coin ) . Thalers and parts of thalers were also affected to a large extent (see Leipzig Mint - under Prussian occupation) . Only after the end of the war did the situation normalize.

Taler after the first coin reforms under Prussian leadership (1667–1690)

In the first half of the 17th century, the silver content of small coins fell for a long time to 90 kreuzers (24 good groschen) per Reichstaler; the Reichstaler became the bill of exchange on which long-term contracts were based (see also Bancotaler ). After the end of the Thirty Years' War, however, inferior money slowly spread again. In addition, due to the declining own taler minting, more and more foreign taler coins flowed into the country, which were mostly minted according to a somewhat lighter coin standard. Examples are the Spanish-Dutch Philippstaler and French silver thaler ( ecu d'argent ).

⅔ thaler based on the coin recess of Zinna (1667)

A first noteworthy attempt to order the situation was the Zinna coin recession , which was closed in 1667 between Kursachsen and Kurbrandenburg . The distinctive, fully-fledged Reichstaler and its arithmetic value had risen in value to 105 (again deteriorated) cruisers in northern Germany. It has now been agreed to keep the Reichsmünzfuß only for the entire Reichstaler. For sections from the ⅔ thaler downwards, a 10.5 thaler foot should apply instead of the 9 thaler foot . This corresponds exactly to the reduction of the calculated value Reichstaler from 105 cruisers back to 90 cruisers.

The pieces minted according to the Zinnaer foot were actually inferior coins : Instead of 25.98 g of fine silver, one ⅔ plus one ⅓ thaler only contained 22.272 g of silver. The "old" Reichstaler, which was pronounced according to the Reichsmünzfuß of 1566 - ie existing "in specie" - were now called Speciestaler or Reichsspeziestaler to distinguish between them . In 1668 the Duchy of Braunschweig-Lüneburg joined the Zinna agreements. Since one gulden traditionally represents 60 kreuzers, the often pronounced thalers were also called gulden. These two-thirds thalers became a predominant coin type in northern Germany for a long time.

The Kuranttaler of the Zinnaischer Münzfußes was an invoice thaler at 24 groschen = 90 Kreuzer or 36 Mariengroschen. The old Reichstaler had risen to a value of 28 groschen. However, the Kuranttaler in Kursachsen was pronounced on special occasions.

Thaler based on the Leipzig 12 thaler foot (1690)

The Leipzig Recess of 1690 represents the second important attempt at reform ; the contracting parties were the same as those of the Zinnai Recess. The Reichsppeziestaler had meanwhile risen to a value of 120 kreuzers. Again, the coin base would be adapted to the minting of the dividing coins and changed to a 12-thaler foot (12 thalers from one weight mark of fine silver). The calculated silver content of a thaler according to the Leipzig foot dropped to only 19.488 g. The whole thaler was again just a calculation variable, which was now called Reichstaler (Rtlr., Rthlr.) Or Taler Courant (Kurantaler). Initially, at most ⅔ pieces were also pronounced.

This coin standard was raised to the imperial standard in 1738. The smooth relationship between the 9 thaler and the 12 thaler foot resulted in a comparatively clear system of coins that lasted until the 19th century: 2: pieces again resulted in exactly one Reichstaler after the 1566 foot.

(Taler Courant)
Good penny Mariengroschen gulden cruiser
1 1 ⅓ 32 48 2 120
(Taler Courant)
¾ 1 24 36 1 ½ 90
Good penny 132 124 1 1 ½ 116 3 ¾
Mariengroschen 148 136 1 124 2 ½
gulden ½ 16 24 1 60
cruiser 1120 190 415 25 160 1

If you disregard the Saxon cliffs and commemorative talers struck after the Zinnaer and Leipziger Münzfuß , which occasionally have the inscription "1 Thal." Or "1 Thal. C: ”, ie a“ Taler Courant ”, but were actually commemorative coins such as Sterbetaler and Schießaler cliffs, Kuranttaler were not minted before the middle of the 18th century.

The Laubtaler

Laubtaler with Bern counterstamp

One of the most important coins flowing in from abroad was the Écu aux lauriers , minted since 1726, which in this country was referred to as deciduous, laurel or feather thaler because of the laurel branches depicted on it. There is a wide variety of information about the coinage of the Laubtaler: Legally, 8 310 should be struck from the Paris mark at 244.753 g; this meant a gross weight of 29.488 g, which with a fineness of 14 Lot 12 Grän = 916.66 ‰ resulted in a total of 9 355 and a fine weight of 27.031 g. However, studies at the end of the 18th century showed that these values ​​were undercut more frequently. Only after the advent of the Konventionstaler and the Prussian Reichstaler did the Laubtaler lose its "sole rule among the coarse coins" in Germany after 1765.

The convention thaler (from 1748)

Kingdom of Saxony, King Anton, Speciestaler (in the convention base ) 1831, Mmz. S, Dresden Mint
Maria-Theresien-Taler (Levantetal), 1780

The endeavor to make oneself independent of foreign sorts and to reform one's own broken coin system with the increasingly poorer small coins led to the introduction of a new coin standard in the Habsburg hereditary lands in 1748 : the Reichspeciestaler, which had been valid for 120 kreuzers around 1700, was up to 133⅓ cruiser increased. As in the north German area under Prussian leadership, Habsburg also set about reducing the silver content of the large silver coins.

The new "Taler after the Convention Foot" was reduced to 120 kreuzers by reducing its silver content. With the theoretical silver value of a cruiser of 25.984 g (Reichsmünzfuß): 133.333 (current rate of the Reichsspeziestaler) = 0.195 g, this resulted in a mass of 0.195 g • 120 = 23.386 g for the new coin. It was thus possible to mint exactly 10 Convention thalers from a fine Cologne mark. The coins according to the convention base were made of silver with a fineness of 833.33 ‰. The conventional thalers had a rough weight of 28.063 g.

In order to put the new coin standard on a broader basis, Austria concluded a convention with Bavaria in 1753 to adopt its coin standard; since then the new thalers have been referred to as "convention thalers". As a result, many states in southern and western Germany introduced the convention money, but from 1754 with a revaluation of the taler: It was not valued at 120 kreuzers, as in Austria, but with 144 kreuzers; however, this usually had no effect on the coinage.

After peace was concluded in 1763, a number of states in northern Germany adopted the Convention. Here, too, the convention coins were minted, but - as in southern and western Germany - counted differently, namely still after the Reichstaler at 24 good groschen, which was worth three quarters of the convention thaler; accordingly, North German convention thalers often bear the label "SPECIESTHALER".

Traditionally, thalers have so far not shown any value, parts of them could only be distinguished by their size with the same coin design, the base of the coin was usually unknown to the average consumer. With the advent of the convention thalers, it became customary to specify the number , e.g. B. "X EINE FEINE MARK" for the whole thaler, "XX EINE FEINE MARK" for the half thaler, etc., with which the silver content was clearly determined. In what is now Germany, the last convention thalers were minted in Saxony in 1838, but were then replaced by the new “VEREINSMÜNZE” (see below) on the basis of the Munich (1837) and Dresden Coin Treaties (1838).

The most famous convention thaler , the Maria Theresa thaler , was legal tender in Austria until 1858, but migrated en masse to the Middle East and North Africa as early as the 18th century. B. in Ethiopia until 1945 represented the national currency ( Levant thaler ). It was widely used abroad and is still officially minted by the Austrian Mint with the year 1780.

The Kronentaler (1755-1800 and longer)

Nassau Kronentaler (1817)

From 1755, the Habsburgs in the Austrian Netherlands , today's Belgium, which still belonged to the Holy Roman Empire, but had long since left it internally, had new thalers minted, the so-called Kronentaler. They replaced the Albertustaler , which had occasionally also been minted in Germany and was an important trading coin in the Baltic Sea region. Of these Brabant Kronentalern or Écus de Flandre, 9½ went to the rough Wiener Mark of 280.668 g, so it weighed 29.54 g, which with a fineness of 13 Lot 17 Grän = 871.53 ‰ resulted in a fine weight of 25.75 g. From around 1790, but especially after France had conquered Belgium in 1792, the now homeless coin spread rapidly in southern Germany, displacing the conventional thalers and the leafy thalers that were still in circulation. Since the thaler was overrated at Austria's insistence - 162 instead of 158½ kreuzers - it was worthwhile, according to Gresham's law , to melt down the better older thalers and to mint them into inferior crown thalers.

When Austria stopped issuing the coin in 1800, the Kronentaler slowly became scarce, so that the southern German states began to issue their own coins from 1809. The coin dates of the Brabant Kronentaler were not known, so one had to orient oneself to the circulating coins, which were differently used. This led to the fact that each of the seven issuing states or coin stands minted their crown thalers with a slightly different weight and fineness, as extreme values ​​for fine weight in AKS 25.47 g and 25.74 g, with Rittmann 24.89 g and 25, 90 g. This makes the Kronentaler one of the most unreliable German Kurant coins ; however, despite the differences, all were treated as equals in circulation. In 1837, the southern German states decided to change their coin system to the Kronentalerfuß, which corresponded to about a 24½ guilder foot, for the purpose of standardization. However, the unreliable Kronentaler themselves were no longer minted and they slowly disappeared from circulation from the middle of the century, but were confirmed in an additional agreement of the southern German states to the Vienna Mint Treaty of 1857 at the rate of 162 kreuzers.

When the minting of the crown and convention thalers was stopped in 1837/38, the issue of special thalers in today's Germany ended.

The Prussian or Graumann Reichstaler (1750)

Silberthaler Friedrich II (1777)

Johann Philipp Graumann (approx. 1706–1762) created a new coin base for Frederick the Great of Brandenburg-Prussia, now known as the “Graumann”. While the Zinnaer, Leipziger and Konventions-Münzfuss still maintained a reference to the Reichspeciestaler, Graumann completely broke away from this reference. Instead, he examined the value of the groschen in circulation and calculated their average silver content. Because traditionally 24 groschen make up a taler, he compared the silver content of 24 groschen with a fine Cologne mark. The result was about 14 thalers per Cologne mark. A thaler embossed in this way has a fine weight of 16.704 g, which results in a rough weight of 22.272 g with a fineness of 12 Lot = 750 ‰. This thaler was labeled "EIN REICHSTHALER". Since 1790 it often only bore the name "EIN THALER". In 1809, the custom of convention money was also adopted in Prussia to indicate the number: "XIV EINE FEINE MARK". With the development of the Kurant Taler, the discrepancy between bill coin and species coin finally disappeared.

The Graumann thaler was extremely successful: the double thaler, to which 3½ South German guilders were treated as equivalent, became the "VEREINSMÜNZE" of the 18 German customs union states involved in the Dresden Mint Treaty in 1838 , ten of which decided to adopt the Prussian thaler system; this was taken over by eleven other German states by 1858. In the Vienna Mint Treaty of 1857, the Prussian thaler was slightly modified to become the VEREINSTALER (see below).

Although the mark was introduced in the (second) German Reich in 1871 , the Graumann Reichstaler remained formally a Prussian currency coin until 1907.

Kuranttaler after 1750

After the introduction of the lighter "Reich" and convention thalers from the leading mint stands, some other German states also minted Kurant thalers:

  • Lübeck 1752: struck as “48 SCHILLING COURANT GELDT” in the Luebian 17 guilder foot = 11 ⅓ thaler foot; Fine weight: 20.634 g
  • Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach 1760: Konventionskuranttaler “13 ⅓ ST. A FEINE MARCK ”; Fine weight: 17.539 g. This is the only case in which the Konventionskuranttaler was actually issued, although the northern German states consistently counted in the Konventionskurant: 1 Konventionstaler = 1 ⅓ Kuranttaler = two ⅔ thaler = four ⅓ thaler etc.
  • Hessen-Kassel 1776 and 1778: Sterntaler in 13 ¾ thaler feet; Fine weight: 17.008 g
  • Hanover 1801: " Hannoverscher Kassentaler " in 12 ⅓ thaler feet; Fine weight: 18.962 g
  • Berg 1802–1806: Reichstaler in the 24 guilder foot, the variant of the convention foot common in southern and southwest Germany, with the addition: "XVI EINE FEINE MARK"; Fine weight: 14.616 g

Two special Kuranttaler were:

  • Hanover 1749–1757: Kuranttaler after the imperial foot of 1738, d. H. the Leipzig foot of 1690, were minted as gold guilders with a value of ½ to 4 thalers. The taler coin bore the inscription "½ GOLDGULDEN / 1 THAL. NDR FUS ”.
  • Baden 1829–1830: The "THALER ZU 100 KRZR / IM KRONENTHLR FUSS" represents Baden's attempt to single-handedly introduce the decimal system in coinage. However, they were unpopular among the conservative population and were minted for only two years, yet they remained in circulation until 1875. The values: rough weight = 18.148 g, fineness = 14 Lot = 875 ‰, fine weight = 15.879 g, number = 14 811

The 19th century: thalers on the way to unification

The club thaler

Basically this is nothing more than the Prussian thaler, but it was based on the new basic weight of 500 g = 1 inch pound established in the Vienna Treaty of 1857. Instead of “XIV EINE FINE MARK”, ie 233.856: 14 = 16.704 g, it was now “XXX ONE POUND FINE”, which resulted in a fine weight of 500: 30 = 16.667 g. Such a difference would previously have meant a reduction in value, but in the 19th century the idea gradually gained acceptance that the value of a coin no longer depended on the material value (= intrinsic value), but on the state-guaranteed value (= external value). the new coin, which officially bore the designation "VEREINSTHALER", was equated with the old thaler. With a fineness of 900 ‰, the Vereinstaler was significantly lighter than the Graumann thaler: It weighed 18.519 g compared to 22.272 g.

The club thaler was introduced by 26 German customs union states as well as Austria and Liechtenstein. In northern Germany, the Taler countries , it was divided into 30  silver groschen (in Saxony 30 new groschen ), in the southern German guilder countries it was valid for 105 kreuzers (1 guilder and 45 kreuzers), in Austria and Liechtenstein 150 new kreuzers. In Germany the club thaler was minted until 1871 - as a double thaler in Saxony even in 1872, i.e. after the introduction of the imperial currency - and it remained in circulation with a value of 3 marks until 1907. In Austria it was minted until 1867 and withdrawn in 1893. However, running at the time of the great majority of the Austrian Vereinstaler in the German Reich to; there they were drafted in 1901.

The Bremen thaler gold made of silver

In the middle of the 18th century, the Hanseatic city of Bremen introduced the gold currency based on the French Louis d'or . A louis d'or was valued at around 5 thalers. The gold thaler was never minted as an independent coin. It was not until 1863, 1865 and 1871 that the city issued three silver commemorative coins with the inscription "EIN THALER GOLD". It was minted in 15-solder silver (986.11 / 1000) and weighed 17.539 g with a fineness of 17.269 g. Since the Bremen varieties could in no way fit into the system of the new imperial currency - the thaler gold was equivalent to 3.3214 marks - they were the first to be withdrawn from circulation as early as 1872, while the Vereinstaler German coins were circulated until 1907 Then from 1908 they were replaced by the new 3-mark piece - the last Kuranttaler, if you will.

Thaler outside the core area of ​​the Holy Roman Empire


The taler, which was taken over by the Swiss city-state of Bern in 1493 and soon became an indispensable trade coin in almost the entire area of ​​the Old Confederation , was given to that of Bern from 1795, then by the Swiss government and finally between 1812 and 1835 by the cantons of Aargau , Appenzell Ausserrhoden , Bern , Friborg , Lucerne , Solothurn , Ticino , Waadt and Zurich issued 4 francs (40 chunks ) the name. Unofficially, the 5-franc coins issued after 1850 by the Swiss federal state founded in 1848 were also called talers here and there , for example in Appenzell, in the Bernese Oberland or in the St. Gallen Rhine Valley.

Thaler outside of the German-speaking area

Nikola III. Zrinski thaler minted in Gvozdansko (Croatia), early 16th century.

Talers were minted even outside of today's Germany very early on:

  • in Spain since 1497 as an eight-reales piece or peso or piastra , which also spread over the Spanish colonial empire and from which the US dollar is derived;
  • in Hungary since 1499.
  • in the southern Netherlands, today's Belgium, by Emperor Charles V the Karolintaler since 1520; later thalers were the Philippstaler, the Burgundian Reichstaler, the Patagon or Albertus- or Kreuz-Taler , the Ducaton and the Kronentaler;
  • in the northern, today's Netherlands as Rijksdaalder since 1583; since 1575 there was already the lower value Löwentaler; later thalers were the Patagon or silver ducat and the ducaton or "Silver Rider";
  • in Denmark as Sölvgylden, i.e. silver guilders, since 1516, the later name is Rigsdaler ;
  • in Sweden as a Riksdaler since 1534.
  • in England as Crown since 1551 and the Cromwellcrown Oliver Cromwells from the short time of the English Republic
  • in Italy, which was as territorial and monetarily divided as Germany, as Tallero, Ducatone (1551 in Milan), Scudo (1588 in the Papal States ), Piastra and others. a .;
  • in Poland and Lithuania since 1578; the German taler was called Joachimik there;
  • in France as Écu, Louisblanc or Louis d'argent since 1641; the German thalers were already referred to there as Jocondales, that is, corrupted Joachimstaler;
  • in Russia as the ruble since 1704; the German talers were called Jefimok there .
  • in Croatia in the 1520s and 1530s in Gvozdansko , the property of Prince Nikola III. Zrinski

Classification criteria for thalers

Thaler name after the coin image: Example: Butterfly thaler from the time of Countess Cosel
Bern thaler from 1798

A distinction is also made between Speciestalers and Kuranttalers . Speciestaler actually means, on the one hand, coins denominated in coins in contrast to pure bill coins or paper money denominated in talers. In addition, after 1566 there was an increasing number of talers with a lower silver content than the official Reichstaler (see above). In contrast to the original Reichstaler (= speciestaler), these poorer, actually circulating thalers were called Kurant thalers. Just as Frederick II of Prussia did not shy away from decorating his thaler, which had just been devalued to 16.4 g of fine silver, with the inscription "Reichsthaler", other mint states later stamped the designation "Speciesthaler" on their thalers, which also differed from the standard of 1566. This type of “ fraudulent labeling ” not only confused contemporaries, but also makes it difficult to understand real economic history today.


  • It is important to know that a coin that bears a thaler name is not always a thaler, i.e. a coin. Well-known examples of this are Hustaler , Kleetaler , Philippstaler , which were minted smaller in size in the 17th century, the Locumtenenstaler with high relief and the Luftpumpentaler , which was minted with the same coin image as a medal and Reichstaler among several other taler-shaped medals with a taler name.
  • The Kuranttaler, worth 24 groschen, was the main unit of currency after the Treaty of Zinna (1667). It was an invoice term. Nevertheless, it was pronounced in some cases for rare commemorative coins. Although it is recognizable as a Kurant thaler by its weight, it is sometimes not exactly differentiated from the Speciesreich thaler. An example of this is the taler for the award of the Order of the Garter and for the St. George Festival of 1678

The taler in German-language literature and popularly

See also


  • Paul Arnold, Harald Küthmann, Dirk Steinhilber; edited by Dieter Faßbender: Large German coin catalog from 1800 to today. 26th edition. Battenberg Verlag, Munich 2010–2011, ISBN 978-3-86646-056-0 (= AKS).
  • Helmut Caspar: From the taler to the euro. The Berliners, their money and their coins. 2nd Edition. Berlin Story Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-929829-30-4 .
  • Georg Caspar Chelius, aphorisms from the field of coin legislation and coinage of the past and present, Frankfurt am Main 1817 (= aphorisms); Online in Google Book Search
  • Heinz Fengler, Gerhard Gierow, Willy Unger: Lexicon of Numismatics. VEB Verlag for Transport, Berlin 1976, ISBN 3-524-00598-5 .
  • Helmut Kahnt: The large lexicon of coins from A to Z. H. Gietl Verlag, Regenstauf 2005, ISBN 3-924861-84-6 .
  • Tyll Kroha : Large encyclopedia of numismatics. New edition, Bertelsmann Publishing Group, Gütersloh 1997, ISBN 3-577-10554-2 .
  • Johann Georg Krünitz: Economic encyclopedia or general system of the state, city, house and agriculture. Berlin 1773 to 1858; Online at the University of Trier .
  • N. Douglas Nicol: Standard Catalog of German Coins 1501-Present. 3rd Edition, Krause Publications, Iola 2011, ISBN 978-1-4402-1402-8 .
  • Heinrich August Pierer: Universal encyclopedia of the present and the past. 4th edition. Altenburg, 1857-1865; Online at .
  • Herbert Rittmann: German monetary history 1484–1914. Munich 1975 (= 'monetary history').
  • Herbert Rittmann, German coin and monetary history of the modern era up to 1914. (= Archive for Postal History Issue 1/1976), Frankfurt.
  • Beatrice Schärli: Taler. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  • Gerhard Schön: German coin catalog 18th century. 1700-1806. 4th edition. Battenberg Verlag, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-86646-025-6 (= beautiful).
  • Friedrich von Schrötter u. a .: dictionary of coinage. First edition 1930; 2nd, unchanged edition. Walter de Gruyter & Co., Berlin 1970; Online edition (excerpts).
  • Schweizerisches Idiotikon Volume XII 1350-1368 ( Taler II ), then 1368-1392 numerous compositions with -Taler as the basic word.
  • Wolfgang Trapp , Torsten Fried: Handbook of coinage. 2nd Edition. Reclam-Verlag, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-15-010617-6 .
  • Tristan Weber: The Saxon coinage from 1500 to 1571: A quantitative study. Edition M & S, Gietl Verlag, Regenstauf 2010, ISBN 978-3-86646-827-6 .
  • Johann Heinrich Zedler: Large complete universal lexicons of all sciences and arts. Leipzig 1731–1754; Online edition .

Web links

Commons : Taler  - collection of images
Wiktionary: Taler  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. Kluge. Etymological dictionary of the German language. Edited by Elmar Seebold. 25th edition. De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2011.
  2. ^ Etymological dictionary of German. Developed under the direction of Wolfgang Pfeifer. Academy, Berlin / German paperback, Munich 1995; each s. v.
  3. Wolfgang Trapp: Small handbook of coinage and money in Germany. Reclam 1999; New print Anaconda, Cologne 2005, pp. 84–86.
  4. ^ Paul Arnold, Harald Küthmann, Dirk Steinhilber: Large German coin catalog from 1800 to today. Augsburg 1997, p. 391.
  5. The information in the literature is contradicting itself and also often incorrectly computationally. (Rittmann, Geldgeschichte, p. 92)
  6. See Weber, p. 16.
  7. This was a rather hypothetical value well into the 19th century. Some coin stands, e.g. B. Augsburg, Nuremberg and Vienna had their own mark, and even when the Cologne mark was taken over in many places, the weight of this standard varied: The Cologne mark in Dresden weighed 233.543 g, compared to 233.957 g in Frankfurt am Main. In the literature, values ​​are usually simply calculated on the basis of the Brandenburg-Prussian Cologne mark.
  8. Since the material value of a coin determined its value at that time, it was usually no problem to pay in foreign currency; Large amounts of foreign coins were still in circulation in Germany well into the 19th century. (See Ludwig Bamberger's speech in the Zollvereinparliament of May 5, 1870, who mentions a merchant in a small town in southern Germany as an example: His income consisted of 24 types of coins, including - in addition to various German - French, Spanish, English, Russian, American, Dutch and Danish.) That also meant that normally older coins simply continued to circulate at their material value after the introduction of a new coin base, but also that older, worn coins were no longer accepted at their full value.
  9. See Rittmann, Geldgeschichte, p. 379.
  10. ^ Trapp, p. 87.
  11. According to Rittmann, Geldgeschichte, p. 274, "with this foot ... the newer German coin history begins".
  12. See Aphorisms, p. 39.
  13. See Krünitz, keyword "Laub-Thaler"
  14. ^ Rittmann, Geldgeschichte, p. 380.
  15. This is the so-called Rhenish 24 guilder foot. It is not a matter of a coin rate in the actual sense, but an invoice rate, since the minting and denomination of the coins were usually not affected. If the coin values ​​were the same, the calculation was simply different: B. was simply rated at 24 cruisers, a ten-cruiser piece with twelve cruisers, etc.
  16. ZB Schön, Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, No. 368
  17. Important exceptions are here: a. the Austrian Maria Theresa thaler and the Bavarian Madonna thaler.
  18. "According to others" - as the literature always says so beautifully when precise information is missing - the rough weight was 29.27 g, the fineness was 13 Lot 16 Grän = 868.06 ‰, which is a fine weight of 25.41 g meant. Rittmann, Geldgeschichte, p. 466.
  19. So the first Bavarian "Krontaler", which is also called "Schwerttaler" because of the coin design.
  20. ^ Monetary history, p. 470 ff.
  21. 1 Kronentaler ≈ 25.74 g = 162 Kreuzer → 1 Kreuzer ≈ 0.159 g → 60 Kreuzer = 1 Gulden ≈ 9.545 g → • 24 ½ ≈ 233.856 g
  22. Schön No. 34
  23. Schön No. 103
  24. Schön No. 151
  25. Schön No. 368. This value is even more theoretical than the others already are (see above), since 12 49 , 12 1336 and 12 413 are also given or can be calculated .
  26. AKS No. 1 & 2
  27. Schön No. 283–286
  28. AKS No. 53; see. also Rittmann: monetary history. P. 474 ff.
  29. See Rittmann, Geldgeschichte, p. 837 ff.
  30. AKS 14, 16 & 17
  31. Schweizerisches Idiotikon XII 1351, Article Taler II, under meaning 1a .
  32. ^ Paul Arnold: The Saxon Thaler Currency from 1500 to 1763 , Swiss Numismatic Rundschau, Volume 59, 1980, p. 83