World Coins

Countermarked Swiss taler in Burki collection sale

This silver taler of Schaffhausen was remonetized by Russia in 1655. The piece is one of the highlights of SINCONA AG’s auction No. 91 on May 15.

Images courtesy of SINCONA AG.

A silver taler from the Swiss canton of Schaffhausen, countermarked for use in Russia, is a highlight of the first offering of the Konrad Burki collection of Swiss Cantonal coins.

The 1621 taler, countermarked in 1655 during the reign of Czar Alexei Mikhailovich, is one of perhaps 20 such pieces struck on a Swiss coin.

The coin is offered May 15 in SINCONA AG’s Auction No. 91 in Zurich.

History behind the issue

The countermarking was done to adhere to a new standard in circulation.

“The countermarking of talers ceased in 1655 or in the very beginning of 1656,” according to The Russian Monetary System by I.G. Spassky.

According to Spassky, about 800,000 European talers were countermarked, of which perhaps 1,500 survive to this day. Of those, only 16 to 20 pieces are coins of Swiss origin, with 10 of those from the city of St. Gallen, according to the auction firm.

The countermarks on this coin depict St. George on horseback fighting the dragon, and the year 1655.

The coin weighs 28.67 grams.

The type is categorized as Spassky-1487. It was previously offered in Hess-Divo’s auction No. 300, in October 2004 (its previous price realized was unavailable).

Of “high rarity” with a fine, dark patina and in Very Fine condition, the coin has an opening bid of 4,000 Swiss francs ($4,362 U.S.).

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