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1859, Kingdom of Prussia, Frederick William IV. Large Silver Thaler Coin. VF+

Mint Year: 1859 Reference: KM-471. Denomination: Thaler (Vereinstaler) Condition: Numerous bag-marks and small scratches, cleaned, otherwise VF+ Weight: 18.44gm Diameter: 34mm Material: Silver

Obverse: Head of Frederick William IV of Prussia right. Mint mark of Berlin (A) below. Legend: FRIEDR. WILHELM IV KOENIG V. PREUSSEN Reverse: Crown above Prussian eagle with monogram (FR) at chest and order chain, holding scepter and orb. Legend: EIN VEREISTHALER XXX EIN PFUND FEIN 1859


King Frederick William IV of Prussia (German: Friedrich Wilhelm   IV von Preußen) (15 October 1795 – 2 January 1861), the   eldest son and successor of Frederick William III of   Prussia, reigned as King of Prussia from 1840 to 1861. He was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of   Neuchâtel (1840 – 1857).

Frederick William was educated by private tutors, many of whom were   experienced civil servants, such as Friedrich Ancillon. He also gained military experience by   serving in the army during the War of Liberation against Napoleon I of France in 1814,   though he was an indifferent soldier. He was a draftsman interested in   both architecture and landscape gardening and was a patron of several   great German artists, including architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel. He married Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria in 1823, but the couple had no children.

Frederick William was a staunch Romanticist,   and his devotion to this movement, which in the German States featured a   nostalgia for the Middle Ages, was largely responsible for him   developing into a conservative at an early age. In 1815, when he was   only 20, the crown prince exerted his influence to structure the   proposed constitution of 1815, which was never actually enacted, in such   a way that the landed aristocracy would hold the majority of the power.   He was firmly against both liberalisation and unification of Germany,   preferring to allow Austria to remain the principal power in the German   states.

Upon his accession, he toned down the reactionary policies enacted by   his father, easing press censorship and promising to enact a   constitution at some point, but he refused to enact a popular   legislative assembly, preferring to work with the aristocracy through   "united committees" of the provincial estates. Despite being a devout Lutheran[citation needed], his   Romantic leanings led him to settle the Cologne church conflict by releasing the imprisoned Archbishop of Cologne,   and he patronized further construction of Cologne Cathedral. In 1844, he attended the celebrations   marking the completion of the cathedral, becoming the first king of   Prussia to enter a Roman Catholic building. When he finally called a   national assembly in 1847, it was not a representative body, but rather a   United Diet comprising all the provincial estates, which had the right   to grant taxes and loans but no right to meet at regular intervals.

When revolution broke out in Prussia in March 1848, part of the   larger Revolutions of 1848, the king initially   moved to repress it with the army, but later decided to recall the   troops and place himself at the head of the movement on 19 March. He   committed himself to German unification, formed a liberal government,   convened a national assembly, and ordered that a Constitution of the   Kingdom of Prussia be drawn up. Once his position was more secure   again, however, he quickly had the army reoccupy Berlin and dissolved   the assembly in December. He did, however, remain dedicated to   unification for a time, leading the Frankfurt Parliament to offer him the   crown of Germany on 3 April 1849, which he refused, purportedly saying   that he would not accept "a crown from the gutter". He did attempt to   establish the Erfurt Union, a union of German states   excluding Austria, soon after, but abandoned the idea by the Punctation of Olmütz on 29 November   1850, in the face of Austrian resistance.

Rather than returning to bureaucratic rule after dismissing the   national assembly, Frederick William promulgated a new constitution that   created a parliament with two chambers, an aristocratic upper house and   an elected lower house. The lower house was elected by all taxpayers,   but in a three-tiered system based on the amount of taxes paid so that   true universal suffrage was denied. The constitution also reserved for   the king the power of appointing all ministers, reestablished the   conservative district assemblies and provincial diets, and guaranteed   that the bureaucracy and the military remained firmly in the hands of   the king. This was a more liberal system than had existed in Prussia   before 1848, but was still a conservative system of government in which   the monarch, the aristocracy, and the military retained most of the   power. This constitution remained in effect until the dissolution of the   Prussian kingdom in 1918.

A stroke in 1857 left the king partially paralyzed and largely mentally   incapacitated, and his brother William served as regent from 1858 until   the king's death in 1861, at which point he acceded the throne himself   as William I.

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