Junk box gems: a revolutionary Austrian coin

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13 October 2018
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Find out more about this Austrian coin with an intriguing and dramatic history

This piece is a billon, base silver, actually .438 fine; it has the Austrian crown over the double eagle and it says it is small change of the Kingdom of Austria (in German), but it does not name an emperor and the reverse says only ‘6 kreutzer 1849’. 

1848 was the ‘year of revolution’ all over Europe and the coins dated 1848/9 were made by the revolutionaries when they had taken control of the government.

However, a new emperor, Franz Joseph, recovered control - and quite surprisingly he continued to mint these revolutionary coins, still dated 1849, until 1852 and even returned to making more of them from 1859 to 1870, but all dated 1849.

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It is not clear why this was done, as pro rata they contain more silver than the 5 kreutzers of 1858-64.