1/2 Thaler

Issue year(s):

Catalog reference:

1791, Regensburg, Leopold II. Silver ½ Thaler Coin.

Mint Year: 1791
Mintage: 1,446 pcs.
Reference: KM-463. R!
Denomination: ½ Thaler
Mint Official: Georg Christoph Busch (G.C.B.)
Mint Place: Regensburg (as a Free Imperial City)

Condition: Certified and graded by PCGS as AU (Tooled – referring to the small, but deep scratches in the reverse!)
Diameter: 35mm

Material: Silver

Weight: 14gm

Obverse: Laureated bust of Emperor Leopold II right. Initial (K) below bust.
Legend: LEOPOLDVS . II . D . G . ROM . IMP . S . A .
Exergue: K

Reverse: City view of Regensburg seen from north with houses, city walls, cathedral, bridge,  fortified gate and river depicted.


Exergue: XX . ST . EINE F . C . M / 1791 / G. C. B.

From 1663 to 1806, the Regensburg was the permanent seat of the Reichstag of the Holy Roman Empire. Thus Regensburg was one of the central towns of the Empire, attracting visitors in large numbers. In 1803 the city lost its status as a free city. It was handed over to the Archbishop of Mainz and Archchancellor of the Holy Roman Empire Carl von Dalberg in compensation for Mainz, which had become French under the terms of the Treaty of Lunéville in 1801. The archbishopric of Mainz was formally transferred to Regensburg. Dalberg united the bishopric, the monsteries and the town itself, making up the Principality of Regensburg (Fürstentum Regensburg). Dalberg strictly modernised public life. Most importantly he awarded equal rights to Protestants and Roman Catholics. In 1810 Dalberg ceded Regensburg to the Kingdom of Bavaria, he himself being compensated by the towns of Fulda and Hanau being given to him under the title of “Grand Duke of Frankfurt”.

Leopold II (5 May 1747 – 1 March 1792), born Peter Leopold Joseph Anton Joachim Pius Gotthard,   was Holy Roman Emperor from 1790 to 1792, King of Hungary, archduke of   Austria, and Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1765 to 1790. He was a son of   Emperor Francis I and his wife, Empress Maria Theresa. Leopold was a   moderate proponent of enlightened absolutism.

Leopold was born in Vienna,  a third son, and was at   first educated for the priesthood, but the  theological studies to which   he was forced to apply himself are  believed to have influenced his   mind in a way unfavourable to the  Church. On the death of his elder   brother Charles in 1761, it was decided that he should succeed to his   father’s grand duchy of Tuscany, which was erected into a   “secundogeniture” or apanage for a second son. This settlement was the   condition of his marriage on 5 August 1764 with Infanta Maria Luisa of   Spain, daughter of Charles III of Spain and Maria Amalia of Saxony.  On   the death of his father Francis I (18 August 1765), he succeeded to  the   grand duchy. Leopold was famous in Florence for his numerous    extra-marital affairs. Among his lovers was Countess Cowper, wife of    the 3rd Earl Cowper, who in compensation for being cuckolded was given   honors by Leopold’s brother Joseph II.

For five years, he exercised little more than nominal   authority,  under the supervision of counsellors appointed by his   mother. In 1770,  he made a journey to Vienna to secure the removal of   this vexatious  guardianship and returned to Florence with a free hand.   During the  twenty years which elapsed between his return to Florence   and the death  of his eldest brother Joseph II in 1790, he was employed   in reforming the administration of his small  state. The reformation was   carried out by the removal of the ruinous  restrictions on industry and   personal freedom imposed by his  predecessors of the house of Medici   and left untouched during his father’s life, by the introduction of a    rational system of taxation, and by the execution of profitable public    works, such as the drainage of the Val di Chiana. As he had no army to    maintain, and as he suppressed the small naval force kept up by the    Medici, the whole of his revenue was left free for the improvement of    his state. Leopold was never popular with his Italian subjects. His    disposition was cold and retiring. His habits were simple to the verge    of sordidness, though he could display splendour on occasion, and he    could not help offending those of his subjects who had profited by the    abuses of the Medicean régime.

But his steady, consistent, and intelligent   administration, which  advanced step by step, brought the grand duchy to   a high level of  material prosperity. His ecclesiastical policy, which   disturbed the  deeply rooted convictions of his people and brought him   into collision  with the pope, was not successful. He was unable to   secularize the  property of the religious houses or to put the clergy   entirely under  the control of the lay power. However, his abolition of   Capital Punishment was the first permanent abolition in modern times. On   30 November 1786,  after having de facto blocked capital executions   (the last was in  1769), Leopold promulgated the reform of the penal   code that abolished  the death penalty and ordered the destruction of   all the instruments  for capital execution in his land. Torture was also   banned. In 2000  Tuscany’s regional authorities instituted an annual   holiday on 30  November to commemorate the event. The event is also   commemorated on  this day by 300 cities around the world celebrating the   Cities for Life  Day.

Leopold also approved and collaborated on the   development of a  political constitution, said to have anticipated by   many years the  promulgation of the French constitution and which   presented some  similarities with the Virginia Bill of Rights of 1778.   Leopold’s  concept of this was based on respect for the political rights   of  citizens and on a harmony of power between the executive and the    legislative. However, it could not be put into effect because Leopoldo    moved to Vienna to become emperor in 1790, and because it was so    radically new that it garnered opposition even from those who might    have benefitted from it.

However, Leopold developed and supported many social   and economic reforms. Smallpox vaccination was made systematically   available, and an early institution  for the rehabilitation of juvenile   delinquents was founded. Leopold  also introduced radical reforms to the   system of neglect and inhumane  treatment of those deemed mentally ill.    On 23 January 1774, the “legge sui pazzi” (law on the insane) was    established, the first of its kind to be introduced in all Europe,    allowing steps to be taken to hospitalize individuals deemed insane. A    few years later Leopold undertook the project of building a new    hospital, the Bonifacio. He used his skill at choosing collaborators to   put a young physician, Vincenzo Chiarugi,  at its head. Chiarugi and his   collaborators introduced new humanitarian  regulations in the running   of the hospital and caring for the mentally  ill patients, including   banning the use of chains and physical  punishment, and in so doing have   been recognized as early pioneers of  what later came to be known as   the moral treatment movement.

During the last few years of his rule in Tuscany,   Leopold had begun  to be frightened by the increasing disorders in the   German and  Hungarian dominions of his family, which were the direct   result of his  brother’s headlong methods. He and Joseph II were   tenderly attached to  one another and met frequently both before and   after the death of their  mother. The portrait by Pompeo Batoni in which   they appear together shows that they bore a strong personal    resemblance to one another. But it may be said of Leopold, as of   Fontenelle,  that his heart was made of brains. He knew that he must   succeed his  childless eldest brother in Austria, and he was unwilling   to inherit  his unpopularity. When, therefore, in 1789 Joseph, who knew   himself to  be dying, asked him to come to Vienna and become co-regent,   Leopold  coldly evaded the request.

He was still in Florence when Joseph II died at   Vienna on 20  February 1790, and he did not leave his Italian capital   until 3 March  1790.

Leopold, during his government in Tuscany, had shown a   speculative  tendency to grant his subjects a constitution. When he   succeeded to the  Austrian lands, he began by making large concessions   to the interests  offended by his brother’s innovations. He recognized   the Estates of his  different dominions as “the pillars of the   monarchy”, pacified the  Hungarians and Bohemians, and divided the   insurgents in the Austrian Netherlands (now Belgium)  by means of   concessions. When these failed to restore order, he marched  troops into   the country and re-established his own authority, and at  the same time   the historic franchises of the Flemings. Yet he did not  surrender any   part that could be retained of what Maria Theresa and  Joseph had done   to strengthen the hands of the state. He continued, for  instance, to   insist that no papal bull could be published in his dominions without   his consent (placetum  regium). One of the harshest actions Leopold took   to placate the noble  communities of the various Habsburg domains was   to issue a decree on 9  May 1790, that forced thousands of Bohemian   serfs freed by his brother Joseph back into servitude.

If Leopold’s reign as emperor and king of   Hungary-Croatia and Bohemia had been prolonged during years of peace, it   is possible that he would  have repeated his successes as a reforming   ruler in Tuscany on a far  larger scale. But he lived for barely two   years, and during that period  he was hard pressed by peril from west   and east alike. The growing  revolutionary disorders in France   endangered the life of his sister Marie Antoinette of Austria, the queen   of Louis XVI,  and also threatened his own dominions with the spread of   a subversive  agitation. His sister sent him passionate appeals for   help, and he was  pestered by the royalist emigrants, who were   intriguing to bring about  armed intervention in France.

From the east he was threatened by the aggressive   ambition of Catherine II of Russia and by the unscrupulous policy of   Prussia. Catherine would have been delighted to see Austria and Prussia   embark on a crusade in the cause of kings against the French Revolution.   While they were busy beyond the Rhine, she would have annexed what   remained of Poland and made conquests against the Ottoman Empire.    Leopold II had no difficulty in seeing through the rather transparent    cunning of the Russian empress, and he refused to be misled.

To his sister, he gave good advice and promises of   help if she and her husband could escape from Paris.  The emigrants who   followed him pertinaciously were refused audience, or  when they forced   themselves on him, were peremptorily denied all help.  Leopold was too   purely a politician not to be secretly pleased at the  destruction of   the power of France and of her influence in Europe by  her internal   disorders. Within six weeks of his accession, he displayed  his contempt   for her weakness by practically tearing up the treaty of  alliance made   by Maria Theresa in 1756 and opening negotiations with England to   impose a check on Russia and Prussia.

He was able to put pressure on England by threatening   to cede his  part of the Low Countries to France. Then, when sure of   English  support, he was in a position to baffle the intrigues of   Prussia. A  personal appeal to Frederick William II led to a conference   between them at Reichenbach in July 1790, and to an  arrangement which   was in fact a defeat for Prussia: Leopold’s  coronation as king of   Hungary on 11 November 1790, preceded by a  settlement with the diet in   which he recognized the dominant position  of the Magyars.  He had   already made an eight months' truce with the Turks in September,  which   prepared the way for the termination of the war begun by Joseph  II, the   peace of Sistova being signed in August 1791. The pacification of his   eastern dominions left Leopold free to re-establish order in Belgium and   to confirm friendly relations with England and Holland.

During 1791, the emperor continued to be increasingly   preoccupied  with the affairs of France. In January, he had to dismiss   the Count of  Artois, afterwards Charles X,  king of France, in a very   peremptory way. His good sense was revolted  by the folly of the French   emigrants, and he did his utmost to avoid  being entangled in the   affairs of that country. The insults inflicted  on Louis XVI and Marie   Antoinette, however, at the time of their  attempted flight to Varennes   in June, stirred his indignation, and he made a general appeal to the    sovereigns of Europe to take common measures in view of events which    “immediately compromised the honour of all sovereigns, and the security    of all governments.” Yet he was most directly interested in the    conference at Sistova, which in June led to a final peace with Turkey.

On 25 August 1791, he met the king of Prussia at   Pillnitz, near Dresden,  and they drew up a declaration of their   readiness to intervene in  France if and when their assistance was   called for by the other powers.  The declaration was a mere formality,   for, as Leopold knew, neither  Russia nor England was prepared to act,   and he endeavoured to guard  against the use which he foresaw the   emigrants would endeavour to make  of it. In face of the agitation   caused by the Pillnitz declaration in  France, the intrigues of the   emigrants, and the attacks made by the  French revolutionists on the   rights of the German princes in Alsace, Leopold continued to hope that   intervention might not be required.

When Louis XVI swore to observe the constitution of   September 1791,  the emperor professed to think that a settlement had   been reached in  France. The attacks on the rights of the German princes   on the left  bank of the Rhine, and the increasing violence of the   parties in Paris  which were agitating to bring about war, soon showed,   however, that  this hope was vain. Leopold meant to meet the challenge   of the  revolutionists in France with dignity and temper, however the   effect of  the Declaration of Pillnitz was to contribute to the   radicalization of  their political movement.

He died suddenly in Vienna, in March 1792.

Like his parents before him, Leopold had sixteen   children, the eldest of his eight sons being his successor, the Emperor   Francis II. Some of his other sons were prominent personages in their   day. Among them were: Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany; the Archduke   Charles of Austria, a celebrated soldier; the Archduke Johann of   Austria, also a soldier; the Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary; and   the Archduke Rainer, Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetia.

Mozart’s opera La clemenza di Tito was commissioned   by the Estates of Bohemia to be included among the festivities that   accompanied Leopold’s coronation as king of Bohemia in Prague on 6   September 1791.

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2  coins in the group

(1537 X 741pixels, file size: ~328K)
Posted by: anonymous  2023-10-29
1791, Regensburg, Leopold II. Silver ½ Thaler Coin. 1,446 pcs. Struck! PCGS AU+ Mint Year: 1791Mintage: 1,446 pcs.Reference: KM-463. R! Denomination: ½ ThalerMint Official: Georg Christoph Busch (G.C.B.)Mint Place: Regensburg (as a Free Imperial City) Condition: Certified and graded b ...

(1365 X 652pixels, file size: ~207K)
Posted by: anonymous  2017-07-17
1791, Regensburg (Free City), Leopold II. Silver "City-View" 1/2 Thaler Coin. R! Mint year: 1791 Mintage: 1,446 pcs. Denomination: ½ Thaler Reference: KM-463. R! Mint Official: Georg Christoph Busch (G.C.B.) Mint Place: Regensburg (as a Free Imperial City) Condition: Lightly smo ...

Sold for: $69.0
Info: https://www.ebay.com/itm/364866712554 2024-05-12
PRUSSIA 1 Thaler 1871 A - Silver 0.900 - Victory of France - VF - 4283

Sold for: $82.0
Info: https://www.ebay.com/itm/364866712426 2024-05-12
PRUSSIA 1 Thaler 1861 A - Silver 0.900 - Coronation - XF - 4282

Sold for: $78.0
Info: https://www.ebay.com/itm/305543090437 2024-05-12
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