1657 Austrian Salzburg Silver Thaler




Obverse: Crowned and nimbly Madonna with short scepter in front of her family coat of arms under a legate hat.

Reverse: Standing St. Rupert with crook and salt barrel with the coat of arms at his feet.

St. Rupert was the first bishop of Salzburg, who, in some legends, is credited with giving the city its name. Rupert was born in the late seventh century, to a part of the French imperial family. Little is known about his early life, but, like many sons of noblemen, entered the clergy. Rupert was elected bishop of Worms, a German city that was an important seat of power in the Carolingian dynasty. At first, Rupert’s flock welcomed his presence as a caring and faithful bishop. All too soon, however, the relationship between Rupert and the people of Worms soured. Conveniently, a Bavarian Duke, Theodo, asked for Rupert to come south to his palace at Regensburg to come spread Christianity to the diverse tribes he ruled over in Bavaria. Rupert is often credited with baptizing Theodo, and officially welcoming him into the Church, as the seventeenth-century painting to the left depicts. And with Theodo’s blessing, he began his missionary work among the Bavarian tribes. Rupert found that Bavaria was still, in many ways, truly a wilderness with lots of outbreaks of violence. Thus, Rupert traveled to an old ruined Roman city and renamed it “Salzburg.” Rupert founded and rebuilt several different monasteries in the area and lay the foundations of the Salzburg Cathedral. Where, a little over a thousand years later, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized. Rupert died in 710, and there’s some dispute whether he had returned back to Worms at the time of his death or whether he died in Salzburg. His successor, Bishop Vergilius of Salzburg, interred his remains in the newly-finished Salzburg Cathedral in 774. Rupert is known as the “Apostle to the Bavarians” and is a patron saint of Salzburg, Austria, and salt miners.