Poland 1779-EB 1/2 thaler
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 Poniatowski, 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. This specimen was lot 1544 in Stephen Album sale 27 (Santa Rosa, CA, January 2017), where it sold for $1,527.50. The catalog description noted, "POLAND: Stanislaus Augustus, 1764-1795, AR ½ thaler, 1779. Initials EB, tiny faint obverse scratch, small reverse flan flaw, EF, R." This type is noted for 1768, 1772-82 in small quantities along with the thaler (Dav-1619). This specimen realized nearly six times the catalog value.
Recorded mintage: 14,000.
Specification: 14.03 g, .833 fine silver.
Catalog reference: KM-191.2.
- Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.
- Album, Stephen, Joseph Lang, Paul Montz, Michael Barry and Norman Douglas Nicol, Auction 27, featuring the Dr. Paul Stevens Collection of Indian Coins, Part VI, Santa Rosa, CA: Stephen Album Rare Coins, Inc., 2016.