A vintage Austrian silver stopper for a wine bottle or decanter, the finial constructed from a coin known as the “Maria Theresa Thaler”. These coins were first minted during the reign of the Empress Maria Theresa, mother of Marie Antoinette. The front depicts Maria Theresa and the back features the imperial Hapsburg double eagle arms. The abbreviated Latin inscription reflects her full title, “Maria Theresa, by grace of God, Empress of the Romans, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Archduchess of Austria, Duchess of Burgundy, Countess of Tyrol” and includes her personal motto, “Justice and Clemency.” When the Empress died in 1780, the date on the coin was fixed in perpetuity. The coin had a very reliable silver content and became one of the most accepted coins for international trade—especially in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia. It ceased to be used as legal tender in the Austrian empire in 1857, but continued to be minted for international trading purposes. The coin used for this stopper has characteristics usually associated with early 20th century examples, and the hallmark on the stopper’s collar is that used in Vienna after 1922.
Origin: Austria, ca. 1930. Condition: excellent, sharp detail, all original; note that the cork is too wide to fit a wine bottle, but could be shaved down to fit. Size: 2-1/4” from bottom edge of silver collar to the top of the coin; 1-5/8” wide across the coin. Weight: 45.0 grams.