Mintmasters in the Joachimsthal mint from 1640s to 1660s

Story of Joachimsthal Taler of 1656

Mintmaster David Knobloch

In the second half of the 1640s, the coin production in the Joachimsthal mint weakened considerably again. The taler minting stopped and only small coins were occasionally minted, hence the mint reported no profit. Mintmaster Knobloch’s salary was reduced to one third of the original sum. Similarly, the salaries of the remaining two employees of the mint were cut. Due to the lack of cash, salaries were even partially paid in lead ore. In this hopeless situation, David Knobloch applied for removal from the office of Joachimsthal mintmaster. His request was granted after mid-1649.


Mintmasters Jan Freistein and Jan Jakub Kittner

Jan Jakub Kittner, responsible towards the Royal Chamber for the buy-out of mining silver in Joachimsthal, proposed already in 1648 to his superior officials to send silver of Joachimsthal to the Prague mint. His proposal was probably motivated by the effort to obtain easily available cash to pay salaries to the Joachimsthal miners. However, this proposal was not accommodated. The situation did not improve even after the appointment of the new mintmaster - Jan Freistein. Even during his administration, Kittner repeatedly demanded to send silver to the Prague mint. The situation in the mint deteriorated further in autumn 1650. Mintmaster Freistein refused to convert to the Catholic confession and was therefore removed from his office by the order of the supreme mintmaster. The activity of the mint came to a complete halt and the chamber itself now began to consider deliveries of Joachimsthal silver to the Prague mint. Surprisingly, the appointment of Jan Jakub Kittner as its administrator brought about a temporary solution of the critical situation in the operation of the mint.


Joachimsthal Taler of 1656

Only a few incomplete reports on the activities of the mint have been preserved from the period of Kittner’s administration. They prove that the mint operated only on an occasional basis. Kittner’s report from April 1656 states that after more than one year of standstill the mintage did not restart production until the second half of 1655. According to Kittner’s recordings, another period of inactivity followed from late 1656 to (at least) spring 1658. It was in the meantime of the above production breaks, during 1656, that extremely rare talers with the date 1656 were minted in the Joachimsthal mint - the only talers of Ferdinand III. with the mark of the Joachimsthal mint administrator Jan Jakub Kittner. We will probably never be able to find out what was behind their production in the period of the almost absolute decline of the Joachimsthal silver mining. Perhaps an extraordinary mining yield or rather an extraordinary delivery of “pagament” (nb: scrap metals used for minting), the owner of which demanded to be paid in talers.

Sold in Auction # 26 for 95 000 €.

Joachimsthal Taler of 1656



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