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V14 2011 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 7, February 13, 2011, Article 19

BERNHARD BEHEIM THE ELDER: THE MAN WHO INVENTED THE TALER

Ursula Kampmann wrote a nice article in Coins Weekly titled " What is left of the man who invented the taler". Here are some excerpts. -Editor

Archduke Sigismund Rich coin obverse Archduke Sigismund Rich coin reverse

It was under Bernhard Beheim the Elder, whose tomb so many tourists of the city of Hall pass without taking further notice, that the first guldiner were minted, the big silver coins that were issued by Duke Sigismund Rich in Coin who had silver in abundance. These pieces with their weight being related to the gold gulden, whose silver equivalent they were designed to be, became the predecessor of the most common trade coin of early modern times, the taler.

Tomb of Bernhard Beheim the Elder

His tomb shows Bernhard Beheim in the style of the Renaissance, in a sheer garment, his halfway rotten body eaten up by bugs, snakes, toads and snails. This pitiful representation was considered appropriate by early modern artists to visualize the horror of death and to state the human body gets into after death, in contrast to the undying soul. To the modern viewer that may seem odd since the sepulchral marker hardly betrays what important man it covers.

Bernhard Beheim the Elder was the person responsible for minting the gold coins of Sigismund Rich in Coin of Tyrol before he was appointed mint master in 1482 of the Hall Mint which had been established not long before, in 1477. Back then, he received an annual salary of 200 Mark and supervised roughly 20 employees. Bernhard Beheim seems to have been an innovative craftsman who, together with the executive senior civil servant of Sigismund, Anton vom Roß, was the leading figure in conducting the Tyrolean currency reform. After “inventing” the “pfundner”, a coin worth 12 kreuzer, and the sechser, a coin of 6 kreuzer, a silver coin was designed worth 30 kreuzer or half a gold gulden and shortly afterwards the guldiner.

To read the complete article, see: What is left of the man who invented the taler (www.coinsweekly.com/en/page/5)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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