1560 Mansfeld thaler, What's so Special?

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I won this thaler recently and immediately received a "buy from owner" offer through Heritage for a decent increase over my winning bid. This one is destined for my Silver Dollars of '60 set so I didn't respond to the offer but I did post a trade offer in several forums that I frequent, hoping to catch the eye of the individual that really wants this coin. I haven't received a response from the trade offers but I did get a second, higher offer through Heritage after the first one expired.

So what's so special about this thaler? I know why it's special to me so I was willing to bid higher than I expected.  But obviously someone else really wanted it (and didn't put in a high enough proxy bid).  I found only two other auction records for coins closely matching this one on acsearch although there were quite a few that were similar. Most of my references don't go back to the 16th Century, but I dug out my copy of the "Standard Price Guide to World Crowns & Talers 1484-1968 as cataloged by Dr. John S. Davenport" for further information. Given the span of years, this reference is not much more than a listing of Davenport numbers with a few notes, out-of-date prices with a small fraction having coin images (and none matching my coin). However, it does include the following introduction to Mansfeld thalers:


Coins of Mansfeld in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are of remarkable similarity. The St. George and Dragon motif is found on virtually every piece. This, in conjunction with the numbers of family lines, large amounts of silver to mint coins and the rulers of one line issuing coins together with rulers of other lines, results in a enormous number of virtually indistinguishable talers...

So, no small task to figure out the correct Daveport number without a picture. In my photo, you can see the mintmark to the left of St. George's head. German auction results associate the Weinblatt (or grape leaf) mintmark with the town of Einsleben. The Davenport reference shows a section for the Vorderort Eisleben line with Davenport numbers 9481-9499 and the first rulers listed are Johann Georg I, Peter Ernst I, Christoph II, 1558-1569. These track better than any others with my coin having the legend on the obverse of -- IOHAN * GE * PETER ERNS * CHRIS -- with the (15)60 date. It looks like the possible numbers are 9481 and 9484 -- the NGC label says 9484 so maybe that's correct.

The historic lands of the counts of Mansfeld, and their many lines, was in the current German state of Saxony-Anhalt and included the town and castle of Mansfeld, the neighboring town of Eisleben and eastern foothills of the Harz mountains, where the silver was mined.  Martin Luther was born in Eisleben and later moved to Mansfeld -- his father was involved in mining and smelting.  Of the rulers noted on my coin, Peter Ernst I von Mansfeld-Vorderort (1517–1604), would become the governor of the Spanish Netherlands.

I'm not convinced that there's anything special about this thaler above and beyond its full strike and the colorful toning in the remnants of luster in the legends.  Perhaps in Europe ...?



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It is special to me -- just try finding a nice 1560 silver crown.  I just wonder if it would be more special to someone else and I could be convinced to trade it if, for instance, it was needed for numismatic research or a link to someone's genealogy.

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You may not have a genealogical link to this coin, but you sure have the numismatic research down pat. Other than that you are very unselfish about this coin. You are more concerned about the greater good of the hobby or in this case another collector. You are my friend, "a breath of fresh air." That said, it would be nice to know the identity of the other collector and to know what their interest was in this coin. BTW, nice coin!


Edited by gherrmann44
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I wish heritage allowed you to get in touch with the person making you the offer.....perhaps this coin is needed for their set, has a special significance, etc but alas you will never know....

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