Maria Theresa thaler
The coin illustrated here is not just a familiar Maria Theresa thaler but was in fact the actual one employed in the preparation of the dies for the striking of thalers by the Royal Mint. For some twenty-five years from the mid 1930s millions of thalers were produced at Tower Hill in order to supply British merchants operating in Ethiopia and neighbouring territories where the thaler was extensively used.
A wax enlargement was generated on the reducing machine from this thaler and was given to the artist Langford Jones to sharpen the details and clean up the surface knocks and bangs from the original coin. He was under firm instructions to make an exact copy of the original, paying particular attention to the small feathers on the wings. Clara Semple's published history of the thaler mentions the Tower Hill production and reminds us what a colourful and fascinating life this much-loved coin has had.