Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Ernest I., 1826-1844, Thaler 1827
Obv.Cuir. bust draped with ermine coat l.
Rev.Crown above crossed sword and sceptre in laurel wreath
Ernst I (1784-1844) was the eldest son of Duke Franz of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and his wife Countess Auguste Reuß zu Ebersdorf. Due to his father's serious illness, Ernst was declared of age in 1803 and assumed some of the duties of a sovereign.
His father died in 1806, whereupon Ernst was elevated to the rank of duke but was unable to rule because his country was occupied by Napoleonic troops. It was not until a year later that he returned and actually took up his reign, endeavouring to rebuild the devastated lands.
In 1817 he married Princess Luise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, with whom he had two children: Hereditary Prince Ernst II and Albert, the future prince consort of Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland. The marriage was not a happy one, both partners committed adultery and in 1826 the marriage was divorced.
In 1825 Frederick IV of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg died without a male heir and with him this ducal line of the Wettins became extinct. In the division of the land, Ernst received the Duchy of Gotha and now ruled as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
He had ceded Saalfeld with its mint when he took over Gotha. For this reason, he established the so-called New Mint in Gotha in 1828. Thalers, kreuzers and pfennigs were minted here for 10 years.
Ernst I died in 1844 at Friedenstein Castle in Gotha.