The three sons of John Frederic the Magnanimous during his imprisonment, 1547-1552.
The Schmalkaldic War ended on April 24, 1547, when elector John Frederic I the Magnanimous lost the battle of Mühlberg. He was made the emperor's prisoner, was first sentenced to death, later to life-long imprisonment. Officially, he charged his three sons with the administration of his remaining territories. In fact, he managed the most important affairs himself, from inside the prison, and this included minting matters.
John Frederic had not only lost the electorship but also his share of the mines of Schneeberg and Buchholz and their mints. He chose Saalfeld in Thuringia as his new mint town. John Frederic approved of the first thalers minted there in 1551, and 1146 pieces were delivered in March of that year.
1/2 Thaler 1551, Saalfeld. Ø 33 mm, 13,99 g. Schulten 3165 (erroneously as 1/4 Thaler)
"Money of the Sons of Johann Friedrich senior, Duke of Saxony"
quartered arms (Thuringia and Meissen; below: Palatinate Saxony and Landsberg; center: Saxony),
on top the date
crowned and armoured effigy of Charles V with sceptre and sword grip.
Thaler 1551, Saalfeld. Ø 40mm Schnee 141 ; Dav.9742
Obv.: MONE·FILIOR·IOH·FRID·SENIORIS·DV·SAX (mm.)
"Money of the Sons of Johann Friedrich senior, Duke of Saxony" (mintmark) - coat of arms
"By the grace of God Charles V, Roman Emperor, ever august"
• Lothar Koppe: Die Münzprägung der Ernestiner nach 1547 durch Johann Friedrich und seine Söhne
in: Jahrbuch Thüringer Münz- und Medaillenkunde 7 (1995/96) 106-119.
• Wieland Jung: Der Schmalkaldische Bund - Numismatische Zeugnise zur Geschichte. Teil I
in: Beiträge zur Münzkunde in Hessen-Kassel, Heft Nr.16 (1989)