Holy Roman Empire, Ferdinand I, Halbpfundner

Toward the end of the 15th century, European economy developed a need for large silver coins. However, the minting of such coins posed technical challenges that had to be solved step by step. To begin with Archduke Sigismund of Tyrol thus created a silver coin worth 6 kreuzers in the year 1482, the "small groat" of "half pounder." A year later followed a somewhat larger coin of 12 kreuzers. It was called "large groat" or "pounder," and it was not only the first large silver coin, but also the first coin on the north side of the Alps depicting a portrait bust. When the king and later Emperor Maximilian I assumed power over Tyrol in 1490, he inherited the excellent coinage system that Sigismund had accomplished. Maximilian I had great numbers of half pounders issued. As did his successors: this coin is from Maximilian's grandson Ferdinand I (1522-1564). Its obverse depicts the bust of the emperor with a scepter and a sword.