Culvertons Antiques

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Maria Theresa Thaler - � the most beautiful coin in the world �

23/09/2012 9:17 PM

The Maria Theresa Thaler (MTT), has been described as the most beautiful coin in the world, and it is certainly the most famous and widely used, being a large coin measuring approximately 4cm in diameter with 10 coins containing about a pound of high grade silver.


The coin’s latin inscription describes Maria Theresa ’s world status during her reign:-  ‘Empess of the Romans, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Archduchess of Austria, Duchess of Burgundy, Countess of Tyrol�!  On her death in 1780, all coins minted since that year bear this same date following an Austrian tradition of issuing commemorative coins after the death of an Emperor, with the date of that death frozen.

Despite losing its status as Austrian currency in 1858, the Maria Theresa Thaler has since been minted globally, including in London and malaysian weave Birmingham for world trade. In 1935 Mussolini gained a 25 year concession over production of the MTT producing them in Rome for use in their conquest of Ethiopia.  The Italians blocked non-Italian banks and bullion traders from obtaining the coin and so France, Belgium, and the UK started producing it to support their economic interests in the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and East Coast of Africa.  During the war the British minted some 18 million MTT’s in Bombay to use in their campaign to drive the Italians out of Ethiopia.

During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia during World War II, enough people preferred the MTT to the money of the occupying forces, that the American Office of Strategic Service created counterfeit coins for use by resistance forces.

In 1961 the 25 year concession ended and Austria made diplomatic indian hair extensions approaches to the relevant governments requesting they cease production of the coin.  The UK was the last government to formally agree to the request, finally ceasing production in 1962.

In German-speaking countries the coin is referred to as a Maria Theresa Taler, (following a spelling reform in 1901, not affecting given names such as Theresa!), but here in England and English speaking countries the name ‘Thaler� remains.  To this day the Maria Theresa Thaler is still popular in North Africa and the Middle East.

Many thanks to Easy Clear Ltd for requesting our services in valueing these coins and many other items in the past months.

Elaine Leggett