start page Charles V TOUR :   group portraits


Ferdinand I,   roman king since 1531, emperor 1556-1564
- brother of Emperor Charles V   and   founder of the Austrian line of Habsburg -
Ferdinand I was born in 1503 in Spain and educated at the court of his grandfather Fernando de Aragón in the Spanish tradition. However, he had to leave Spain in 1517 when his brother Charles V arrived with his Dutch court to become King of Spain. In 1521/22 Charles V ceded him Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Craina, the Tyrol, western Austria and the Habsburg-occupied Württemberg. Ferdinand became King of Bohemia and Hungary, following his brother-in-law Louis II, who died fighting the Turks (Battle of Mohács 1526). Ferdinand united Austria, Bohemia and Hungary, which helped to shield Europe from the Turks. In 1531 Ferdinand was elected Roman King and thus the Emperor's governor and successor. The two brothers were temporarily alienated when Charles V tried to make his son Philip successor to the Empire.
Ferdinand was highly respected even by his political and protestant antagonists because he sought to mediate between the confessions. In 1552 he acted against the Emperor's wishes when he effected the Treaty of Passau together with Maurice of Saxony, thus preparing for the Augsburg Religious Peace of 1555. Charles V was disappointed by these events. He abdicated in 1556 and Ferdinand was crowned emperor in 1558. In Austria, Ferdinand encouraged a centralized administration and favoured the counter-reformation.
Both Charles V and Ferdinand tried to standardize the minting rules for the empire in three monetary ordinances (1524-59).
Ferdinand ruled countries rich in silver resources. From the count of Schlick, he took over mines as well as the mint in Joachimstal, where the "Joachimsthaler" originated. He tried to standardize the varying monetary systems in his countries and had thalers minted in Austria (Hall, Klagenfurt, Linz, Graz, Vienna), in Bohemia (Joachimstal, Kuttenberg, Prague), in Hungary (Kremnitz), in Silesia (Breslau) and in Alsace (Thann). Ferdinand encouraged efforts to design a roller mint machine which could print the design for obverse and reverse simultaneously onto metal strips. A few years after his death, the mint in Hall built such a machine that used the technique successfully for mass production.


As administrator of the county of Tyrol, 1522-1526/9, afterwards as count of Tyrol.
The Tyrol silver production had been pledged for the expenses of Charles V election as emperor. To restart minting in Hall in 1523, Ferdinand had to buy the necessary amount of silver which he later paid with the minted coins. Ferdinand was the emperor's governor in Tyrol until 1526 and did not become Count of Tyrol officially until 1529.


6 Kreuzer n. d. (after 1524), Hall.   Ř 24mm, 2,8g.   Enz.9, Markl 1642, M.T.89
Obv.: +FERDINANdus·PRINCeps·ET·INFans·HISPaniarum  -  half-length figure holding sceptre and hilt.
Rev.:  ARCHI - Dux·AVSTrie - COMITatus - TIROL  -  Cross between arms of Austria, Castile, Burgundy and Tyrol.
"Ferdinand, prince and infante of Spain - archduke of Austria and duke of Burgundy. County of Tyrol"
Here Ferdinand does not use the title of a count (comes) of Tyrol. Since 1529 COMES replaces COMIT in the legend.
The design of both sides of this piece matches the 6 Kreuzer pieces of Archduke Sigismund. He had introduced this nominal in 1482 which initialled the development from the simple Kreuzer to the Uncialis (60 Kreuzer = one Goldgulden, the first Thaler) within just 4 years. The 6 Kreuzer coins were extremely current and kept its late medieval design up to the 17th century.



As archduke of Austria 1521-1526.
Ferdinand was "Infante of Spain, Archduke (of Austria) and Duke of Burgundy" from birth. Although these titles were not linked to any rights or offices, Ferdinand did not give them up, even after becoming emperor.


Pfundner (12 Kreuzer), 1524, Vienna.   Ř 28mm, 5,82g.   Schulten 4096, Markl 68
Obv.:   +FERDINANDus·PRINCeps·ET·INFANS·HISPANiarum    "Spanish ruler and infante (prince)"
Ferdinand with an archduke's headdress

Rev.:   +ARCHIDVX·AVSTRIE·DVX·BVRGVNDIE    "archduke of Austria and duke of Burgundy"
quarterly arms of origin: (Austria, 2x Burgundy, Brabant with escutcheons of Flanders and Tyrol) | (Castile, León,
Aragón, both Sicilies, Granada)
In 1482 Archduke Sigismund of Tyrol introduced the Pfundner [= 1 pound (240) pennies]. Ferdinand gave them a new design in the style of the renaissance.



As King of Hungary and Bohemia since 1527.
His coins include the new royal titles in the legend.


Pfundner, 1527, Vienna.   Ř 28mm, 5,57g.   Schulten 4109, Markl 84
Obv.:   +FERDINANDus·Dei·Gratia·HVNGarie·BOEmie·REX·INFans  -  Ferdinand with an archduke's headdress
Rev.:   +HISPAniarum·ARCHIDux·AVSTRIE·DVX·BVRGVndie  -  quadripartite arms (Hungary|Bohemia), above the paternal arms (Austria [band], Old-Burgundy, Castile|León - Aragón, both Sicilies, New-Burgundy [fleur-de-lis], Brabant and Granada [pomegranate]), centre shield (Tyrol|Flanders). On top the date 15Z7.
The title extends over both sides and means :
"Ferdinand, by the grace of God king of Hungary and Bohemia, prince of Spain, archduke of Austra, duke of Burgundy".



Thaler 1530, Joachimstal.     Ř 40mm, 28,8g, 894 fine.   Diet.109; Markl 662; Voglh.49/5; Dav.8044
(Schlick's mine and mint at Joachimstal was taken over by Ferdinand in 1528)

Obv.:   FERDINANdus·D·G·BOEM·HVNG·DALmatiae·CROAtiae·REX·INFAns (mm.)
young crowned and beardless half-length figure in armour holding sceptre and hilt, the order of the Golden Fleece on the breast
Rev.:   HISPaniarum.ARCHIDUx·AVSTrie·DVX·BVRundie·SiLEsiae·MARchio·Moraviae
crowned quadripartite shield (Bohemia|Hungary) with escutcheon (Austria|Castile) in between date 15 - 30
The title starts with Bohemia, where the mint is situated: "Ferdinand, by the grace of God king of Bohemia, Hungary, Dalmatia & Croatia, prince of Spain, archduke of Austria, duke of Burgundy & Silesia, margrave of Moravia".



As elected and crowned roman king (ROMANORUM REX) since 1531.
The coin reverse now carries the royal title and the royal eagle (single headed und uncrowned).
The mintage of the new denomination Groschen (3 Kreuzer) began in 1534 in Vienna and Linz.


Groschen (3 Kreuzer), 1549, Vienna.     Ř 22mm, 2,5g, 500 fine.     Markl 117var ; Schulten 4128
¤FERDINAN·D·G·RO·VNG·BO·RX   //   49·INF - HI·AR - CHID - AVST·15 -
The legend on the revers incorporates the four end bits of a cross, which gave to the first "Kreuzer"
from the Tyrol their popular name.
Even a small field may carry an expresive portrait.
Compare the Dreigröscher with a realistic portrait from King Sigismund of Poland from the same period.


In 1547 Ferdinand's beloved wife dies giving birth to their 15th child.
Since then Ferdinand wears a beard as a sign of morning.
The image of a beardless youth changes into one of seniority, moustached and bearded.
In 1548, the first thaler showing the elder and bearded king turn up in Joachimstal and Kuttenberg.



Groschen (3 Kreuzer), 1556, Linz.     Ř 21mm, 2,47g.     Hippmann 173F
+FERDIN·D·G·RO·HVN·BO·REX   //   ·INFans·HISPaniarum A - RCHIdux:AVStriae·Dux:Burgundiae 1556
Rev.: Eagle with the arms of Austria upon the Enns (Upper Austria), orb and declared value 3, according to the imperial mint order of 1551.
The arms in the escutcheon of the reverse often disclose the place of mintage.
However, this is not the case with the above "Pfundner" from Vienna.



Reichsguldiner (72 Kreuzer) 1557, Klagenfurt.   Ř 42mm, 30,61g, 882 ‰ fine.   Voglh.51/1; Dav.8022
minted in some accordance with the 2nd Imperial Mint Order (Augsburg 1551)

Av.:   ¤FERDINAND:D:G:ROM:HVN:BOE:Dalmatiae:CRoatiae:REX
Half-length figure of the elder king with moustache, beard and long hair. Finned cuirass with collar and Fleece Order necklace. Cruciform flower scepter in the right hand and sword hilt in the left.

Rev.:   INF:HIS:ARCHID - CARINTIE:Dux:BVR:1557·
Ferdinand is presented here as "Archduke of Carinthia".
Eagle with halo and arms of Carinthia, below an orb and the value 72, in partial accordance with the imperial mint order.
Compare the Reichsguldiner 1551 from Berlin, which was minted in full accordance with the Second Imperial Mint Order. The mandatory design of the revers includes the imperial double eagle, the orb on its breast and the emperor's title in the legend.
Ferdinand was allowed to depart from the standards of the Imperial Mint Order - not only in the layout of the thaler's reverse but also in the thaler's weight. His brother Charles V. accorded him the important "Privileg des Quentchens", i.e. Ferdinand was given permission to mint thalers a bit lighter than the mint order actually demanded for thalers minted by the imperial estates. According to the rules of the 2nd Imperial Mint Order, the thaler shown above should have weighed 31,17 g at a fineness of 882 ‰.



As Roman Emperor (ROMANORUM IMPERATOR) since 1558.
With his rise in 1558, the imperial double-eagle replaces the single headed royal eagle on the revers.
Also, an imperial crown is added to the double-eagle.



Guldentaler (60 Kreuzer) 1560, Hall.   Ř 38mm, 24,55g, 931 fine.   M.T.138 var; Voglh.57; Dav:33
minted in some accordance with the 3rd Imperial Mint Order (Augsburg 1559)

Obv.:   +FERDinandus:Dei:Gratia·ROmanorum·IMPerator·Semper·AVGustus·GER·HVNG·BOE·REX
"Ferdinand, Roman emperor by the grace of God, ever augmentor of the empire, German, Hungarian & Bohemian king"
half-length figure with emperor's crown (bowed crown), orb and declared value on the hand
Rev.:   +INFans·HISpaniarum·ARCHidux·AVSTrie·Dux·BVRundie·COMes·TIRolis·1560
"prince of Spain, archduke of Austria, duke of Burgundy, count of the Tyrol"
imperial crown on top of imperial eagle, a shield on its breast (Hungary|Bohemia) charged with the shield of Tyrol (eagle)
This Imperial Crown consists of a rim holding a row of lilies and a high arch mounted in profile (i.e. from forehead to neck). The arch seperates two halves of a mitre which are mounted laterally. The revers of the Thaler shows the double eagle and the crown, both faceing forward. On the obverse, the crown still faces forward so as to show the arch and the divided mitre even though the effigy itself is shown in profile.

The Guldentaler, dated 1563-4 and minted in Kuttenberg, also seems keen on presenting the details of the crown: the effigy carries the same personal crown, this time mounted obliquely on the effigy.      

The Imperial Crown with attached mitre was a personal crown, privately owned and never used for coronation. In contrast, the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire has an arch without mitre. It was kept in Nuremberg and could only leave the city for the coronation.



Posthumous roller-press coinage
(During Ferdinand's life time, all coins were hammered.)


Thaler n. d. (posthum 1573-6), Hall.     Ř 41mm   29g   Voglh.39/2 , M.T.217v , Dav.8030A
Obv.:   ¤ FERD·Dei·Gratia·ROmanorum·HVNGArieque·BOhemie·DALmatie·CROAtie·REX
"Ferdinand, by the grace of God King of the Holy Roman Empire and King of Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia"
Crowned effigy with long hair, moustache, beard, decorated armour, necklace without Golden Fleece; the left hand holds the sceptre, the right hand grips a sword.
Rev.:   ¤ INFans:HISpaniarum:ARCHIDVX:AVSTRIE·DVX·BVRGundie
"Infante of Spain, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy"
King's eagle with shield of Castile and Austria
This so called "rolled Augsburg thaler" was minted by Ferdinand's son Archduke Ferdinand in Hall between 1573 and 1576. He used an old design and an old minting rule in order to increase his seigniorage (i.e. his gains). The piece shown here carries features of rolled coins: It is of equal thickness throughout and punched perfectly circular. Its engraving is uniform and the figures of both sides are aligned.
Around 1567 rolling machines began to replace the ancient hammer-struck coinage technique in Hall. A strip of rolled metal passed between two engraved steel rollers thus printing a relief onto both sides of the strip. The Tirolian Numismatic Club reconstructed the roller coining machine (8 m long, 4 m wide and 2,5 m high), to be seen at its original place in the museum Old Mint at Castle Hasegg in Hall near Innsbruck. In 1585, such a roller coining machine was exported to Segovia. Here, King Philip II installed a new royal mint to accomodate the machine, which was driven by giant waterwheels.

start page Charles V   /   Karl V. TOUR :   group portraits