German Thaler


German Thaler


The thaler, a coin widely used throughout Europe since the 16th century, was considered by many to be a standard currency of the era. This particular silver coin, however, was minted in 1761 in northern Germany near the end of its popularity. The death of the thaler was indicative of the much broader economic developments throughout the 18th century.

The German economy experienced especially dramatic changes throughout the 17th and 18th century. The aftermath of the Thirty Years War left the economy uniquely volatile to the wider disruptions felt throughout Europe in this "Age of Crisis". Commerce throughout this period became quite stagnant as a result of unstable price signals and depleted resources. These failures of price signals and subsequent inflation required an entirely new approach to monetary policy. The role of the state, therefore, became a central consideration of this era. Perhaps the war was most felt in the German countryside where "a survey in the abbey of Ottobeuren found only 133 horses and 181 cattle in 1636, compared to 2,094 and 6,607 respectively 16 years earlier" (Wilson, 801). The state's role, therefore, was in part a response to the destruction experienced by rural communities and the demands of the struggling German farmer.




German Thaler, 1761. Vänersborgs Museum.

Wilson, Peter H. Europe's Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War. Penguin UK, 2009.




Zach Irvin


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[Unknown], “German Thaler,” HIST 139 - Early Modern Europe, accessed June 23, 2024,

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