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Magdeburg Reformation Thaler

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The Magdeburg Reformation Thaler is a commemorative coin issued by the city of Magdeburg to mark the 100th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, which sparked the Reformation.

In 1617 the Reformation was commemorated in the Protestant parts of Germany. Thus, the city of Magdeburg issued a thaler showing the bust portraits of the reformers Jan Hus and Martin Luther. On the other side is the double-headed, crowned imperial eagle, topped with the Magdeburg city coat of arms.

On the page with the Reformers is the abbreviated Latin transcription: CENT(um) ANN(is) REU(olutis) DEO ET MIHI RESP(ondebitis) UAT(icinium) IOAN(nnis) HUSSII A(nn)O 1415 COMB(usti)[1] // HIS LAP(sis) D M(artinus) LUTHER(us) AD REP(urgandam) DOCT(rinam) COE(litus) A DEO EXCIT(atus) A(nn)o 1517 (“When a hundred years have passed, you will answer God and me. Prophesy of John Hus, who was burned in 1415. – When these [hundred years] were over, D. Martin Luther was called by God from heaven for the purification of doctrine in the year 1517”).[2]

The side with the imperial eagle bears the inscription: MO(neta) NO(va) REIP(ublicae) MAGDE(burgensis) DE IVBILÆO A(nn)o C 1617 (“New coin of the city of Magdeburg for the 100th anniversary in 1617”).

The Magdeburg Reformation thaler was issued in the following denominations: half thaler, thaler, and double thaler. The thalers are still relatively common in different stamp variations. Half thalers are rare. Only one example of the Doppeltaler has been found so far.[3] The auction price (without auction surcharge) was 38.000 Euro. A report by Friedrich Wilhelm Hoffmann[4] about a quadruple Reformation thaler is possibly incorrect, in any case no specimen is known until today.

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Individual references

  1. cf. cough valley
  2. Johann Georg Leuckfeld: Antiquitates Nummariae, oder Historische Beschreibung vieler alten raren silbern Bracteaten und Blech-Müntzen. Leipzig and Wolfenbüttel 1721, p. 200
  3. Auktionshaus Künker, Auction 223, Lot 431.
  4. History of the City of Magdeburg, 2nd volume, 1847