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The first Thaler

The last step of the Tyrolean coin reform already becomes visible in the attempts to mint, by using a semi-florin die, thick coins double the weight, to the value of a rating-guilder worth 60 kreutzers (1,200 Berner). However, these attempts failed because of the unfavorable relation diameter to thickness of the planchet. Nevertheless, this very semi-florin of 1484 has first been proclaimed the oldest Thaler of the world, according to the oldest mention in literature. Today modern science agrees upon not the thick-coin version of the semi-florin of 1484 having to count as the world’s first thaler, but instead the florin minted in 1486. Now with this coin to the value of 60 kreutzers, an equivalent to the gold florin had been established. In order to document that this new coin, called the "Guldiner" or also, because of its weight "Unzialis", was meant to replace the old florin in use, its front was designed in the same way as the predecessor’s.

Be initiating the coin reform of the 1482-1486 period, Tyrol and the Hall mint can proclaim having created a currency system which, in the end, remained decisive up until the 19th century. Directly after the reform, as already mentioned, primarily the Sechser was copied by other European mints. However, soon they also started coining the Guldiner after the Hall-model e.g., 1488 Lorraine, 1493 Bern, 1498 Sitten, 1499 Hungary, 1500 Solothurn, 1502 Hessen, 1503 Carmagnola in the Piemont region, 1504 Salzburg, 1509 Wurttemberg, 1511 Bremen, 1512 Zurich and 1518 Lucerne. The mints of Saxony helped the big silver coin to its final breakthrough since ca. 1500, likewise sites in Bohemia from 1519 on, as well as - after the discovery of America - also Spain. Then in the course of the first half of the 16th century all European countries gradually followed this development.

This big silver coin has been called 'Thaler' from then on for several reasons. In 1490 Maximilian I. took over the government instead of archduke Sigmund. The chaotic economic policy of this emperor entailed that the silver yield of the Tyrolean mines had to be pawned almost entirely to Southern German business houses for financing of the imperial policy. Indeed, great Guldiner and show coins were still being stricken for the ruler, however, mass-minting of coins as a currency had to be stopped because of shortage of silver. However, at the same time the counts of Schlick in Bohemia opened the Joachimstal mint. Because the Schlicks’ silver mines registered the highest yield in all of Europe at that time, the Joachimstal mint could maintain an extensive Thaler coinage for decades. The Guldiner stricken there were the most widely used big silver coins in Europe, a factor that, in the end, contributed to the change of the name of all European big silver coins. At first they were actually called "Joachimstaler", finally being reduced to "Thaler". Around 1540 this name had already generally asserted itself and continues to live on today in the word 'Dollar'. That the Thaler had been invented by the Hall mint in Tyrol had already been forgotten for a long time. Since all Guldiner or Thaler of that time had to show - after the Tyrolean model - a rough weight of about 30 gs, a precision weight of about 27 to 29 gs and fineness of ca. 930/1000.
The archduke Sigmund, under whose government, since the beginning of the coin reform in 1482 up to his resignation in 1490, about 32 tons of silver had been minted to Sechser, Pfundner, semi-florins and florins, deserves due respect for having recognized the change of the economic- and finance structures on the threshold to modern times and having corresponded to it by introducing the coin reform as the first ruler in Europe.
Amongst others, it was this circumstance that, soon after his death, he was given the epithet "der Münzreiche", meaning “rich in coins”.