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German City/State of Frankfurt am Main 1866 Double-Taler

By Bruce A. Walker, Cataloger, World Coins

Author: Bruce Walker / Thursday, June 25, 2015 / Categories: iAuctions

The Stack’s Bowers Galleries monthly iAuctions offer opportunities to add choice material to any collection, at what is often a very attractive closing bid. The offerings are eclectic and there is nearly always something of interest for every collector. Be sure you don’t miss out!

 This month’s featured iAuction coin originated in Frankfurt, Germany, and is cataloged as KM-365 by Krause.  Struck in 1866 this Two Taler piece is impressive and also carries a great deal of intrigue. Frankfurt is located in central Germany, and its location has meant that it has been a meeting place for imperial councils, going all the way back to the Carolingian period (800-888 AD).  The end of independence for Frankfurt came in 1866, the year this Double-Taler was struck, after the city/state picked the wrong side in the Austro-Prussian war. Frankfurt made the mistake of siding with Austria, and was subsequently absorbed by Prussia after Austria’s crushing defeat. The center of power in Europe moved considerably north as the result of this seven-week long war, and helped shape things to come in the subsequent Franco-Prussian war some five years later.

The obverse of the coin was designed by engraver August Friedrich von Nordheim, a contemporary sculpture and medalist (1813-1884), who apprenticed under Johann Veit Döll (1750-1835) as did a number of other German engravers during the period.  Nordheim went on to become an engraver at the Frankfurt mint in 1857, and worked there until 1866 the year this coin was minted.

According to the Spink & Sons monthly coin circular of February, 1908, the portrait is of Francofordia.  It was generally believed that the actress, Franseca Janauschek (1829-1904), served as a prototype for the design.  Janauschek was born in Prague and immigrated to the United States in 1867. At the other extreme, when the coin was first issued, there were those in the United States who had been led to believe that the woman portrayed was actually the love child or mistress of one of the Rothschilds, and the coin drew a considerable premium as a result of such rumors.

The craftsmanship that went into creating this beautiful portrait is impressive.  We seldom see sculptural portraiture on a coin that reveals such incredible detail, in this case, even the eyelash is clearly visible on the coin. The example offered in this month’s sale exhibits all of the portrait details, and has nearly flawless fields, with a radiant satin finish that adds considerably to the luster.  The reverse is equally impressive, with light tone accentuating the eagle’s feathers and legends.

With seven other examples graded at MS-65, the example offered is not the finest seen at the grading services.  Yet its low six-digit NGC submission number certainly offers broad speculation about what the coin might grade today were it resubmitted.

Visit StacksBowers.com to view and bid on this and all the other items in our upcoming monthly iAuction. If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency for future iAuctions (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors by calling 800.458.4646.

Tags: Taler German Coin