MARIA THERESA THALER

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Measuring 39.5-41 mm in diameter and 2.5 in thickness, this is a substantial coin.

The world famous Maria Theresa THALER, often referred to as MTT, is a silver coin which originally was struck as Bullion in Austria, used as official currency from 1857 until 1858 in Austria, before returning to the state of Bullion.


Whilst not being currency, it was used as legal tender in the new world under British control (USA), and in the present day the Maria Theresa Thaler is used across the Arab world and an extremely popular form of monetary value.


The Maria Theresa Thaler has another claim to fame however.The Thaler would develop into the currencies of several countries, leading to names such as Thaler, the Daalder, the Daler and eventually the Dollar, with 23 countries currently using the dollar as their currency tracing their origins to the Thaler.

MTT Thaler coinsHowever, the Thaler did not start with Maria Theresa. At the outset of the Thaler, it was a silver coin by Archduke Sigismund of Tirol in 1486 which would create a virtual

revolution of coin usage. Called the half Guldengroschen, it was approximately fifteen and a half grams in weight and would become so successful that demand could not be maintained. Although not a Thaler, the claims are made that this was the precursor to the Thaler by introducing some level of regulation to a silver coin.  


Despite the Thaler no longer holding official currency, it has constantly been struck by official mints, not just in Austria but worldwide, with over 800 Million silver Maria Theresa Thaler coins having been produced. It's no surprise then that experts claim the Maria Theresa Thaler is the most popular silver coin ever minted.


The Habsburg empire was extensive under Maria Theresa, for traders, merchants and travellers, the Maria Theresa Thaler offered a standardised weight and value to each coin, allowing the holder to know the value of the coin regardless of where they were.

MTT Maria Theresa Thaler coinsSimilarly today, the use of the Rand (gold) and Sovereign (UK) are held as both investments and indeed a singular coin value which can be used in trade or sold / exchanged in banks or privately for a set value (although not in the local shopping mall)!!


In numerous countries outside the Hapsburg Empire, the MTT proved so popular that it achieved legal tender status. It was one of the early coins that circulated in British North America and, subsequently, the United States. The coin was used to buy slaves for the Southern cotton fields, while the North used it to buy Egyptian cotton during the Civil War. It developed into becoming the choice of currency as the Dollar for the newly independent United States.


The precise origins can be argued pre Maria Theresa. However, her influence in standardising the coin into a precise weight and value, is clear to see by the coin being minted and carrying her name to this date.


The Thaler now is a silver coin that is 39.5-41 mm in diameter and 2.5 mm thick, weighs 28.0668 grams and contains 23.3890 grams (0.752 troy ounces) of fine silver. It has a silver content of .833 and a copper content of .166 of its total millesimal fineness.


As Maria Theresa Thalers are minted in various locations, so the value of silver will vary, but this is a known fact and so each mint strike has their value. As an example, Rome mint struck MTTs are slightly heavier being produced in 835 standard silver instead of 833 standard silver, thus the value of a Thaler will depend upon production mint.


The MTT is a very complex and indeed valuable market, there are specific historical sites where  the MTT is explored in depth. Whilst there are also expert coin dealers that could help with your needs far more extensively.


US quarter

Bohemia Joachimsthaler 1525 Bohemia Joachimsthaler 1525 front

Bohemia, Joachimsthaler 1525. REVERSE

Bohemia, Joachimsthaler 1525.

 St Joachim

For over 400 years the Thaler coin had been the centre of finances in Europe.

Thanks to Maria Theresa the standardisation of the coin, which included quality of material as well as physical appearances, could at last be relied and depended upon just as coins of today can.


The fact that the Thaler is not in use as a National currency, it is remarkable that it is used daily as a currency, especially in the Middle East.

Being struck in many countries around the world as commemorative coins and for collectors etc, it holds a unique position in the world, as well as original coins being highly by collectors of all range.

Maria Theresa Thaler restrike coin Maria Theresa Thaler new coin

This modern re-strike of the Maria Theresa Thaler shows the date of 1780, which the majority will show.


The original Theresa Thalers were issued in the Austrian State of Burgau in 1780.


The re-struck coins will be virtually identical to the originals from 1780 Burgau, as they are being re-struck to commemorate Maria Theresa in one form or another. All re-strikes will however have a slight variation, usually on its edge, which will identify exactly when and where the coin was struck. These are not minted to be fakes but to be a celebration of something relating to Maria Theresa.

Perhaps as this was a standardised coin for value, from the following year of 1781, the coins have been struck by mints around the world all the way up to today.

The value of these ‘new’ coins will vary depending upon the price of silver on the day. When $21 approximately per troy ounce of silver, the coin will be worth the silver bullion weight of the coin which weighs 0.7516 ounces, which is then approximately $16.


I am sure that people reading about the Thaler will be questioning WHY?

Why use or buy or keep them?


However, once you realise that over 900 million of these coins have been struck, and struck for usage and not collectors, then perhaps their value becomes more apparent, especially as whilst not a national currency, they are a common Trade currency.


Similar to the South African Krugerrand, the gold bullion coin, and the English Sovereign, both of which have the recognised and standardised weight of gold recognised the world over, and thus its value based upon the bullion price of gold, so the Maria Theresa Thaler has its recognised value based on the silver bullion price.


Travelling through the middle east in the 1990’s, where I mixed with locals as I travelled in remote areas away from the tourist trail, I first encountered the Thaler.


At the time I did find it odd that the currency used between traders, was not the local but the Maria Theresa Thaler. Then realising that international borders for traditional traders and Bedouins did not apply, the Thaler as a coinage became clearly practical and fell outside the political and social fluctuations which drive currency values up and down.


A Thaler worth $15 (example), has the same value regardless of where you are, hence making it a valuable coin to carry. No exchange rates and no search for a bureau de change.


NOT TO BE CONFUSED with original and collectable Maria Theresa coins which have exchanged hands for several thousand GB Pounds.

Austrian Mint for Maria Theresa Thaler

For the latest information on the Maria Theresa Thaler, including prices for the Thaler coin direct from the official Austrian Mint: click the link.

Use the link at the top of the page for more information direct from the Austrian-Mint. They also carry excellent advice as well as the history of the Maria Theresa Thaler coins.

 

The Story of the Maria Theresa Taler of 1780


 By Kerry R.J. Tattersall

This article was written for the Austrian-Mint and gives an excellent insight from the official mint of the (MTT) Maria Theresa Thaler.

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