Holy Roman Empire, City of Zurich, Taler 1560

In the early 1560's the Zurich mint masters still struck their coins from silver that had been confiscated from the churches during the Reformation (1525). Especially talers were issued, for their size allowed nice political propaganda.

The obverse of this taler shows a lion presenting the Zurich shield. In his right paw he holds an imperial orb. The reverse shows the Zurich motto DOMINE CONSERVA NOS IN PACE (Lord, preserve us in peace) around the double-headed imperial eagle.

The eagle had been the heraldic animal of the Holy Roman Empire since the 12th century. It may at first be surprising to see the insignia of the empire – the heraldic animal, the imperial crown and the orb – on coins of a Swiss city. But in this way Zurich made it clear that it was a free city, part of the Holy Roman Empire, but subjected to nobody else but the emperor.