Serial Number: RAF0008
R. IMP.HU.BO REG. THERESIA D.G. BURG. CO.TYR. 1780 ARCHID. AVSI. DUX
The Maria Theresa thaler (MTT) is a silver bullion coin that has been used in world trade continuously since it was first minted in 1741. It is named after Empress Maria Theresa, who ruled Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia from 1740 to 1780 and is depicted on the coin.
In 1741 they used the Reichsthaler standard of 9 thalers to the Vienna mark (a weight approximating half a pound of fine silver). In 1750 the thaler was debased to 10 thalers to the Vienna mark. The following year the new standard was effectively adopted across the German-speaking world when it was accepted formally in the Bavarian monetary convention. Because of the date of the Bavarian Monetary convention, many writers erroneously state that the Maria Theresa Thaler was first struck in 1751.
Since the death of Maria Theresa in 1780, the coin has always been dated 1780. On 19 September 1857, Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria declared the Maria Theresa thaler to be an official trade coinage. A little over a year later, on 31 October 1858, it lost its status as currency in Austria.
The MTT could also be found throughout the Arab world, especially in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Muscat and Oman, in Africa, especially in Ethiopia, and in India. During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in World War II, enough people preferred it to the money issued by the occupying forces that the American Office of Strategic Services created counterfeit MTTs for use by resistance forces.
In German-speaking countries, following a spelling reform dated 1901 that took effect two years later, "Thaler" is written "Taler" (the spelling of given names like "Theresia" was not affected). Hence 20th-century references to this coin in German and Austrian sources are found under "Maria-Theresien-Taler". The spelling in English-speaking countries was not affected.
The MTT continues to be produced by the Austrian Mint, and is available in both proof and uncirculated conditions.
The thaler 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. Note: Rome mint struck MTTs are marginally lighter being produced in finer 835 standard instead of 833 standard silver.
The inscription on the obverse of this coin is in Latin: "M. THERESIA D. G. R. IMP. HU. BO. REG." The Reverse reads "ARCHID. AVST. DUX BURG. CO. TYR. 1780 X". It is an abbreviation of "Maria Theresia, Dei Gratia Romanorum Imperatrix, Hungariae Bohemiaeque Regina, Archidux Austriae, Dux Burgundiae, Comes Tyrolis. 1780 X", which means, "Maria Theresa, by the grace of God, Empress of the Romans, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Archduchess of Austria, Duchess of Burgundy, Countess of Tyrol. 1780". The "X" is actually a saltire or Burgundian cross, and was added in 1750 indicating the new debased standard of the thaler. Around the rim of the coin is the motto of her reign: "Justitia et Clementia", meaning "Justice and Clemency".