Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, Ernest I, 1640-1675, Reichsthaler 1675
On the occassion of his death
Obv.Cuir. and drap. bust r.
Rev.9 lines of writing in circle of coat of arms surrounded by inscription
Ernest I came from the noble family of the Ernestine Wettins. His father was John III of Saxe-Weimar, his mother Dorothea Maria of Anhalt. He was born in 1601 and was the ninth son of his parents.
Due to the large number of his brothers (the famous Eight Brothers of Saxony) and the resulting disputes over the inheritance of the father, Ernest came quite late to his rule. Only in 1640 - his father had died in 1605 - he agreed with his brothers William IV and Albert on the division of the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar. He received Saxony-Gotha.
In 1643 he began the construction of Friedenstein Castle as a befitting residence in Gotha (completed in 1654), one of the largest newly built palaces in Germany during the Thirty Years' War.
In 1650 he set up a new mint for his duchy. Ernst wanted above all to demonstrate his sovereignty over his brothers and relatives, because there was only sporadic mintage in Gotha.
In 1672 he named his line Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, after he could decide the inheritance dispute of Altenburg for himself and thus created the most important territorial state of Thuringia.
He died in 1675 at the age of 74 years. His eldest son, Frederick I, succeeded him as ruler of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.