||half ducat 1775 - Maria Theresa||
? mm, ~1.75 g, 98% gold
Obverse: outer pearl circle, bust of empress Maria Theresa facing left and legend:
Reverse: outer pearl circle, inside the double headed eagle holding the Transylvanian coat of arms on its chest, value 1/2 and legend:
The legend starts on the obverse and ends on the reverse:
M·THERE·D:G·___R·I·HU·BO·REG· A·AU·DUX·B·M·PR·TRA·COTY·1775· , standing for
and meaning Maria Theresa, by the grace of God empress of the Romans, queen of Hungary and Bohemia, archduchess of Austria, duchess of Burgundy and Milan, princess of Transylvania and countess of Tirol.
Medieval Transylvanian mintage knows a few main evolutionary periods: the period of the Hungarian kingdom that struck coin inside the Carpathian space (close to the gold mines, to say so), autonomous principality period (under Turkish suzerainity), Habsburg period up to Maria Theresa during which properly called Transylvanian coins kept on being struck (bearing the face of either the emperor or the empress, but also the coat of arms of the principality) and the last one that reminds of Transylvania only through mint ensigns on regular imperial coins.
The life of the autonomous Transylvanian principality under Habsburgs lasted from 1691 to 1867, when Austro-Hungarian dualism brought it to an end. The principality enjoyed a separate statute (endorsed by the Leopoldian Diploma), being direct subject of the emperor. Through the Carlowitz peace (1699) and the one of Passarowitz (1718) the Porte was compelled to acknowledge Austrian domination in Transylvania.
The coin in the pictures above belongs to the third period, being a golden half ducat struck by Maria Theresa (1740 - 1780), daughter of Carol VI. A fine piece like the one in the pictures is worth about 300 or 400 euros. The coin was struck in the very year of 1775, the year when Maria Theresa ripped Bucovina apart from the principality of Moldavia through military preassure and bending morality, despite the desperate protests of prince Grigore Ghica III that led him to his tragic death.
It is mentioned at position 3154 in Monede şi bancnote româneşti.
The gold coin pictures above are present on Romanian coins through the kind permission of Mr. Clark Smith, numismatist and renowned specialist in world gold coins.