The Reichstaler or Rix-dollars of 1723 was a coin familiar to the Schwenkfelders in the 1730s. Reichstalers were used within the Holy Roman Empire states and were also referred to as Spezies-Thaler. Reichstalers were accepted in European cities where currency exchanges took place— a broadly accepted form of currency inside and outside the Holy Roman Empire—and was the same unit of currency requested by John Stedman, the captain of the St. Andrew vessel the Schwenkfelders boarded in the 1730s in Haarlem, the Netherlands.
According to the account written by Christopher Schultz in the Vindication of Caspar Schwenckfeld von Ossig, the full fare to board the St. Andrew in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was 30 Reichstaler. For individuals under the age of 15 the fare was half price or 15 Reichstaler. The fare was waived for children under the age of 4. In the same account Schultz informs us the Byuschanse brothers, Mennonite merchants in Haarlem, graciously paid the Schwenkfelders fare. This act of charity initiated the Schwenkfelder Church Charity Fund still in existence today.
The 1723 original taler, or coin, was prepared by the official mintmaster, Schomburg, in the Dresden court. The Dresdner Medaillen Münse Glaser & Sohn company in Dresden, Germany manufactures replica coins and for a limited time these authentic Reichstaler replicas are now available for purchase in the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center’s gift shop. The coin comes in a furnished box with a German language booklet and an English translation provided by Allen Viehmeyer. It’s a tiny bit of history you can take home with you, a coin the 18th century Schwenkfelders would have easily recognized. Each coin is available for $25. Shipping and handling is an additional charge. If you are interested in purchasing a coin, please contact our Administrative Assistant, Michelle Pritt, (215) 679-3103 or email her at Michelle@schwenkfelder.com.