Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the 1766 Friedberg St. George 1/2 Thaler.
Painting by Hans Von Aachen.
According to legend, the narrative of Saint George and the Dragon took place the town of "Silene" (thought to be modern day Libya). The town had a large pond, where a plague-bearing dragon dwelt that poisoned all the countryside. To appease the dragon, the people of Silene would feed the creature two sheep every day, and when the sheep failed, they fed it their children, chosen by lottery. One day the lottery fell on the king's daughter, who was to be sacrificed. The king, distraught with grief, told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half of his kingdom if his daughter were spared, but the people refused. The King's daughter was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon.
By chance, Saint George, a Roman soldier serving under Emperor Diocletian, rode past the lake. The princess, trembling, sought to send him away, but George vowed to remain. The dragon reared out of the lake while they were conversing. Saint George fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross, and charged on horseback with his lance, spearing the dragon with a debilitating wound. Saint George then called to the princess to throw him her girdle, and he put it around the dragon's neck. When he did so, the dragon followed them like a meek beast on a leash.
The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene, where it terrified the people at its approach. But Saint George called out to them, saying that if they consented to become Christians and to be baptized, he would slay the dragon before them. The king and all fifteen thousand people of Silene converted to Christianity, George slew the dragon with his mighty sword Ascalon, and the body of the creature was carted out of the city on four ox-carts. On the site where the dragon fell, the king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to Saint George, and from its altar arose a water-spring which cured all disease.
In 1766, the town of Friedberg, Germany commemorated the legend of Saint George. The town of Friedberg sits atop a basalt plateau overlooking the Usa, and has been populated since Roman times. The relics of a Mesolithic settlement along with a Roman military camp, Castle Hill, have been found along with other Roman ruins in the area. Friedberg's imperial currency included a 1/2 Thaler, bearing Saint George on the obverse, with city coat of arms on the reverse.
The Grove Minting Company was able to acquire an exceedingly scarce mint-state example of the 1766 Friedberg 1/2 Thaler, and commemorates the 250th anniversary of 2016 in faithful rendition to the original design. Many depictions of Saint George portray him atop horseback slaying the dragon, a theme commonly reiterated across a variety of coinage. The face forward portrait of George standing atop the dragon is the rarer interpretation, and singularly unique to this original design.
Struck in Fine .999 Silver, this 1 Troy-Ounce Proof 2016 Commemorative is limited to 250 pieces.
Pictured below is the original 1766 Friedberg 1/2 Thaler.
Historical narrative of Saint George sourced and paraphrased from Wikipedia.