US Coins

‘First’ silver dollar realizes $23,772 in Künker auction

An Extremely Fine example of the first “silver dollar,” the 1486 guldiner, realized a hammer price equivalent to $23,772 U.S. in an Oct. 6 sale.

Images courtesy of Fritz Rudolph Künker.

The dollar may be synonymous with the United States but is actually rooted in Austria.

An example of the famous 1486 guldiner from the Hall Mint in Tyrol realized a hammer price of €19,000 ($23,772 U.S.) Oct. 6 in Fritz Rudolf Künker’s auction No. 254. The coin had an estimate of €7,500 ($9,384 U.S.). The final price was unavailable; the buyer’s fee charged per coin ranges from 20 to 23 percent.

The Hall Mint was the birthplace of the original taler, which evolved into the Maria Theresa taler and later served as the inspiration for what would eventually become the most famous monetary unit in the world, the U.S. dollar. 

In 1477 the official mint for Tyrol (now in modern Austria) was moved to be closer to rich silver mines. The silver allowed Archduke Sigismund von Tirol to reform the monetary system by replacing some traditional gold coins with silver coins. This resulted in the minting of the first silver guldiner in 1486, which “replaced” the old gold gulden. 

The new coin was immediately popular and was copied all over the region and spread throughout Europe. The guldiner, called the joachimsthaler in Bohemia, soon became known simply as the thaler (German) or the daalder (Dutch), and would evolve into dollar.

The coin was among 9,451 lots sold in seven auctions over six days, which in total realized a hammer price estimated at €11.4 million (about $14,263,200 U.S.)

For further details about the sale, visit the firm’s website.

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