The thaler is, with its impressive weight (around 30g), an innovative silver-type coin that was invented in the late 15th century. For me it is one of the most impressive kind of coin ever minted after the classical era.
It was the archduke Sigismund of Tirol who minted thalers for the first time in 1484. The reason for this innovation is two-fold: there was a huge demand for coins with higher values and there were opportunities for minting these coins.
These opportunities were also two-sided.
The silver mines in Europe, especially in the area where the thalers were minted, were highly productive. In addition, there was also a huge supply of silver from the New World. The second opportunity was presented by the technique that, since the late 15th century, was developed enough to mint a coin as big as the thaler. All these factors resulted in a fabulous new coin type.
Since the invention of the thaler in Tirol a lot of rulers in the mid-west of Northern Europe started to mint thalers of their own design, using their own iconography. There is too little space and time here to discuss all the phases of the thaler but it can be concluded that the coin’s invention eventually led to the fact that the main trade coins in Europe were no longer struck in gold but in silver. Of course there were still golden trade coins like the gold ducat (as discussed before), but since the late 15th century there was another option in Europe that, over the centuries, has seen extensive use on a global scale: the Maria Theresia thaler.
Between the minting of the first thalers in 1484 until the Maria Theresia thalers of today a lot different types have been minted with a multitude of iconographies and a variety of weights. Most famous are probably the many different types that were minted in Germany after the late 15th century.
Also well-known by collectors are the so-called lionthalers from The Netherlands. The first lionthaler was minted in Holland in the year 1575 and had no reference to Philip II on it. This must be seen as a form of rebellion, because in this year he was still the landlord of The Netherlands. The lionthaler became an accepted coin throughout almost the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean world, but especially in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, the Ottoman Empire.
The following is a selection of Thalers on MA-Shops:
- 1541 Münster, Bistum Franz von Waldeck (1532-1553). Extra Fine.
- 1640 Rostock. Very Fine to Extra Fine.
- 1687-RB Braunschweig-Calenberg-Hannover, ab 1692 Kftm. Han Ernst August (1679-1698). Extra Fine.
- 1595 Siebenbürgen Transylvania. Extra Fine.
- 1757-KB Haus Habsburg. Maria Theresia (1740-1780). Extra Fine.
- 1606 Utrecht. Leeuwendaalder. Utrecht. Extra Fine.
- 1711 Anhalt-Bernburg. Viktor Amadeus (1656-1718). Very Fine.
- 1762 Neufursten. Auersperg Heinrich (1713-1783) Kabinettstück. Herrliche Patina, Brilliant Uncirculated.
- 1675 Deutschland. Brandenburg-Preußen auf den Sieg bei Fehrbellin. Extra Fine. Toned.
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 In Dutch, leeuwendaalder. “Daalder” is etymologically related to the word “thaler”.