Grasping history Nov / Dec 2016

Christmas Taler

Early 19th century / Vienna
Adoration of Christ.
Reverse: Dedication.

Christmas Taler (Weihnachtstaler) produced in the workshop of Franz Zeichner, a prominent imperial die cutter at the Habsburg court. Dedicated to Joseph Karinger by his uncle and godfather Franz Lackner in 1837.


The first Christmas talers with representations of the birth or the adoration of the Infant Jesus were created in the 16th century. These talers were popular gifts presented to cherished people. Cologne, M√ľnster and Hamburg were early centres of production. The spread of regular nominals of the official currency picturing the birth of Christ as well as similar talers displaying the baptism of Christ in the river Jordan (called "Tauftaler") reached the peak of it's spread in the 17th century.

In later centuries also nonofficial strikes occured increasingly having been produced to serve civic and rural milieus as donations. These items had the character of medals and were not official denominations any more. Still today many municipalities and institutions have modern Christmas talers manufactured, mostly of precious metals and in varying artistic quality.

The sample presented here is a masterpiece from an artist, who worked for the imperial court of Austria and has been promoted to the "First Die Cutter" of the imperial mint in Vienna in 1849.

35,2 g / diameter 52 mm