Exquisite 16th Century German Taler from Trier

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is thrilled to once again present an official auction of the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Chicago this August. The coin previewed today offers an opportunity to peer into the cultural history of 16th century Germany. Struck under Johann von Schönenberg (Archbishop-Elector of Trier) at the height of the Trier witch trials, this coin bears great historical significance. An admirer of the Jesuits and a leading figure in the counter-reformation, Johann von Schönenberg spearheaded the mass killing of 368 in the cities and towns surrounding Trier, with perhaps as many as 1,000 souls in the diocese as a whole eventually facing execution. Of the 22 villages near Trier purged of witches, two villages were left with only a single female survivor. No one was immune from the accusation of witchcraft and sorcery – a third of the victims came from nobility – though special emphasis was directed towards Jews and Protestants. Much of the slaughter was driven purely by greed, as examiner and executioner alike prospered from seized property of the accused.

In spite of some minor doubling of the strike, the detail on this piece is exquisite, especially considering it has existed for four centuries. The large silver Taler depicts Saint Peter striding left with the key to heaven on the obverse. On the reverse, there is a mitre atop the combined arms of Trier and Schönenberg. The luster is outstanding and truly elevates the appeal of this piece. This coin is certain to attract serious bidding and excitement once it crosses the auction block this August in Chicago.

Look for this and other world numismatic rarities in our upcoming August ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction. Preview this coin and the rest of our auction this July at the Stack’s Bowers Galleries office in Irvine, California. For details please refer to the Events Calendar link at To schedule an appointment, please call 800.458.4646. Though our Stack’s Bowers August ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction is no longer open for consignments, we are now accepting consignments of Asian coins and currency for our August 2015 Hong Kong Showcase Auction as well as world and ancient coins for our November Baltimore Auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.

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