Courland 1780 thaler Dav-1624

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Goldberg sale 75, lot 4473
photo courtesy Goldberg Coins and Collectibles
Livonia in 1740, from Shepherd's atlas

This specimen was lot 4473 in Goldberg sale 75 (Los Angeles, September 2013), where it sold for $1,955. The catalog description[1] noted, "Poland - Courland. Taler, 1780. Bust of Duke Peter Biron right. Reverse: Crowned shields of Poland and Lithuania, draped by a wreath and are atop a decorated frame. Nicely toned with considerable original mint luster. NGC graded AU-50." The kingdom of Poland, weakened by the devastation of the Great Northern War (1700-21), fell under the domination of her neighbors, Prussia, Russia and Austria. Stanislas Leszczinski, a former lover of Catherine the Great, was installed as her puppet king on the death of the Saxon August III. When he proved to be insufficiently pliant, the partitions began. In three slices, in 1772, 1793 and 1795, the entire state was devoured. Even then, Stanislas could not rally the greedy and selfish Polish nobility to defend the country. Courland, now part of Latvia, was conquered by the Teutonic Knights in the Middle Ages and held by them until the Reformation led to their collapse. The region was contended by Sweden, Russia and Poland, with Russia the eventual winner. Duke Peter's father, Ernst Johann, lover to Russian empress Anna, was installed as a puppet ruler in 1737.

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 28.3 g, silver.

Catalog reference: KM-32 (listed under Courland); Dav-1624; Cr-23; Hcz-3410.


  • Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.
  • [1]Ponterio, Rick, et al., Ponterio sale 161: The Chicago ANA Auction, Irvine, CA: Stack's-Bowers, LLC, 2011..

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