1772, Bavaria, Maximilian III Joseph. Silver 20 Kreuzer (w. Madonna)
Mint Year: 1772 Reference: KM-550.1. State: Bavaria (German State) Denomination: Silver 20 Kreuzer Diameter: 29mm Material: Silver Weight: 6.52gm
Obverse: Bust of Maximilian III Joseph right within diamond-shaped border. Value (20) below. Legend: ARCHID . & ELECTOR . MAX . IOS . BAV . DUX
Reverse: The Virgin (Madonna) seated in clouds, holding baby-Jesus child and cross-topped orb in left hand and scepter in right hand. All within diamnd-shaped border. Legend: IN DEO CONSI LIUM 1772 .
Maximilian III Joseph (28 March 1727 – 30 December 1777) was Prince-elector of Bavaria from 1745 to 1777.
Born in Munich, Maximilian was the eldest son of Emperor Charles VII and his wife Marie Amalie, Archduchess of Austria. His maternal grandparents were Emperor Joseph I and Wilhelmina Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg.
Upon his father’s death in 1745, he inherited a country in the process of being invaded by Austrian armies (see War of the Austrian Succession), and quickly abandoned his father’s imperial pretenses and made peace with Maria Theresa in the Treaty of Füssen, in which he agreed to support her husband, Grand Duke Francis Stephen of Tuscany, in the upcoming imperial election.
MaximilianJoseph was a progressive and enlightened ruler who did much to improve the development of his country. In 1747 the porcelain factory at Nymphenburg was established. Munich’s first academic institution, the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, was founded in 1759 by Maximilian III. During the severe dearth in 1770 Maximilian sold crown jewels to pay corn shipments. In this year he also issued his edict against the extravagant pomposity of the Church which contributed to the end of the era of Bavarian rococo. He also forbade the Oberammergau Passion Play. In 1771 the elector regulated the general school attendance.
In December of 1777 Maximilian Joseph died of small pox without leaving an heir. As the last of the junior branch of the Wittelsbach dynasty which derived from Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor and had ruled Bavaria since early 14th century, his death led to a succession dispute and the brief War of the Bavarian Succession. Maximilian’s consort Maria Anna Sophia of Saxony negotiated with Prussia to secure Bavaria’s independence against Austria. Ultimately, he was succeeded by his distant cousin, the Elector Palatine Karl IV from the senior branch of the dynasty.
Max III Joseph is buried in the crypt of the Theatinerkirche in Munich.
Max III Joseph ordered in 1751 François de Cuvilliés to construct the splendid rococo Cuvilliés Theatre. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was received by Maximilian III Joseph, who was skilled in music and composed, but due to strict frugality no post was offered.