Wednesday, 3 February 2010

A junk box quarter thaler of 1624

I always scour junk boxes at coin fairs, containers that hold cheap coins in bulk that are a fixed price. In one such box last weekend I came across a renaissance silver coin, 28mm in diameter and dated 1624 priced at £4.

I buy such items for the "enjoyment" of puzzling what they are and, after a little gentle cleaning, I was able to identify it as a quarter thaler of Sigismund III, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, 1587-1632. He was also ruler of Sweden between 1592-99.

The word "thaler" later got corrupted and morphed into the word "dollar", still the unit of currency in so many parts of the world.

The portrait, sadly half flat, shows the crowned king with a large ruff around his neck, fashion of the age, remember the portraits of Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh, wearing his armour and holding a vertical sword.

The Wikipedia page on Sigismund III can be found HERE.