start page Charles V TOUR :   Maurice of Saxony

      Contemporaries in the Holy Roman Empire      

John Frederic I the Magnanimous
- duke of Saxony 1532-1554, elector up to 1547 -
*1503. The last elector of the Ernestine branch of the Saxon House of Wettin was a nephew of Frederic the Wise and succeeded his father, elector John the Steadfast. He had close connections with Luther and was always in conflict with his cousin Maurice of the Albertine Line. In 1547 he lost the decisive Battle of Mühlberg against Charles V at the head of the Protestant Schmalkaldic League. He was taken prisoner and condemned to death. In 1547 he lost his electoral rank to Maurice of the Albertine Line of the House of Wettin. In 1552 John Frederic was set free when Maurice, who had once helped the emperor during the Schmalkaldic war, rebelled against the emperor's predominance.
During the time of imprisonment his three sons ruled his country and minted thalers with the effigy of Charles V.

    First government, 1532-1547 (as Elector of Saxony)    

2 Thalers 1539, Buchholz.    Ø 49 mm, 58,14 g.   Keilitz 246.1; Schnee 89; Dav.9724.
Obv.:   IOANnes FRIDericus DVX SAXoniae ELECTor ET BVRGGRAF MAIGDeburgensis·FIERI·FEcit (Mz.)
"Johann Friedrich, Duke of Sachsen, Elector and Burggrave from Magdeburg had this coin minted"
Effigy in electoral coat, long electoral sword on his shoulder and both hands at the grip.

Rev.:   SPES - MEA - IN - DEO - EST - 1 5 3 9     "My hope is in God"
Shield of 12 arms and crests for Thuringia, Saxonia and Meissen;
under the central shield of Electoral Saxonia (crossed swords): arms of the Burggraviate Magdeburg.
This "Schautaler" was issued in 1534 and 1535, without referring to Magdeburg.
Johann Friedrich could adquire with substantial costs the Burgraviate from the city of Magdeburg in 1538. Title and arms were augmented with this prestigious addition on the issue of 1539.

1/4 Guldengroschen 1541, T-Buchholz.     Ø 27 mm.   Keilitz 250.
Obv.:   IOHAnnes·FRIDericus·ELECtor·DVX·SAXoniae·FIeRII·FEcit·T
Rev.:   ·SPES·MEA·IN· - ·DEO·EST·1541

Community coinage
The division of holdings between Ernestines and Albertines in 1485 did not affect mining and coinage, which remained common cause until 1547.

    Joint coinage 1539-41 together with duke Henry of the Albertine Line    

Thaler 1540, Annaberg.     Ø 40 mm, 29,0 g.   Keilitz 152; Schnee 94; Dav.9728.
Obv.:   (¤) IOHANnes F (¤) RIdericus·ELE (¤) Ctor·DVX·S (¤) AXoniae·FIeri·Fecit
interrupted with the coat of arms of the Electorate (top), Meissen (right), Thuringia and Saxony.
Rev.:   (¤) HEINRIcus (¤) ·DVX·S (¤) AXoniae·FIEri·Fecit (¤) ·1540 ⊕
interrupted with the coat of arms of Saxony, Meissen, Palatinate Saxony and Thuringia
⊕ = Sign of mintmaster N.Streubel 1539-45 in Annaberg

  Joint coinage 1539-40 together with brother John Ernest and duke Henry of the Albertine Line  

Thaler 1539, Buchholz.     Ø 39 mm.   Keilitz 170; Schnee 91; Dav.9726.
Obv.:   (¤) IOHANnes·FRidericus (¤) ELECtor·DVX (¤) SAXoniae·BVRGgravius (¤) MAGdegurgensis (Mzz.)T
John Frederic in electoral robes with electoral sword; date 15-39 in the field.
Rev.:   (¤) HENRIcus·ET (¤) IOHANnes·ER (¤) NESTus·DVXces (¤) SAXoniae·FIeri·FEcerunt
Effigies from Henry and John Ernest facing each other.

  Joint coinage 1540-42 together with brother John Ernest and duke Maurice of the Albertine Line  
Maurice followed his father Henry in 1541.

Thaler 1540, Buchholz. Hybrid 1541.     Ø 39 mm.   Keilitz 176; Schnee 98; Dav.9729.
Obv.:   Legend as before, head in profile, date now 15-40.
Rev.:   (¤) MAVRITIVs (¤) ET·IOHANnes (¤) ERNESTus·DVces (¤) SAXoniae·FIeri·FEcerunt·
Effigies from Maurice and John Ernest facing each other. T (sign for Buchholz) at the right.
Maurice came to power in 1541, but a die from 1540 was used for the obverse. So this coin carries an hybrid date.

Compare with two well-known oil paintings:
1. 1531 from Lucas Cranach the Elder , the court painter of Saxony [51x37 cm, Louvre Paris], and
2. as prisoner of Charles V. ca.1550 from Tizian, court painter of the Emperor [103x83 cm, KHM Viena].

    Second government, 1552-1554 (as duke)    

Thaler, 1552, Saalfeld.     Ø 40 mm, 28,6g.     Schnee 144;, Schulten 3172; Dav.9748.
Obv.:   ¤ IOannes·FRIDERicus·SENIor - NATVs·ELECtor·SAXoniae·
"John Frederic, first born Elector of Saxony"     bust above arms (Electoral Saxony & Saxony).
Rev.:   CAROLVS:V:ROManorum:IMPerator:SEMPer·AVGustus:155Z
title of the emperor ,   crowned double eagle with orb on the breast
design and legend in accordance with the 2nd Imperial Mint Order of 1551.

Double Goldgulden,1552, Saalfeld.     Ø 27 mm, 6,48 g.   Friedberg 2937.
Obv.:   IO·FRIDER·SEN - · - NAT·ELEC·SAXO·     bust and arms (Electoral Saxony & Saxony)
The double gold gulden carries the titles of Charles V, John Frederic's adversary. John Frederic is shown with a long and deep cut on his left cheek: according to contemporary testemonies, he received this injury in the battle of Mühlberg.

1/2 Thaler n. d. (1554), Saalfeld.     Ø 33 mm, 14,36 g.   Koppe 244.
on his death (March 3, 1554) and on the death of his wife Sibylle of Cleves, who died a few days earlier.

Obv.:   Effigy to the left, below the arms of the Electorate (swords) and Saxonia.
Rev.:   Brustbild seiner Gemahlin Sibylle fast v. v. mit Hut, umgelegtem Mantel und Perlenkette.
Sibylle (1512-54) was the eldest sister of William V , Duke of Jülich-Berg and Cleves, another opponent of Emperor Charles V. Lucas Cranach the Elder painted several portraits of Sibylle, so in 1531.

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