The ducat // was a gold or silver coin used as a trade coin in Europe from the later Middle Ages until as late as the 20th century. Many types of ducats had various metallic content and purchasing power throughout the period. The gold ducat of Venice gained wide international acceptance, like the medieval Byzantine hyperpyron and the Florentine florin, or the modern British Pound sterling and the United States dollar.
Trade coins are coins minted by a government, but not necessarily legal tender within the territory of the issuing country. These quasi bullion coins were thus actually export goods - that is, bullion in the form of coins, used to bulk buy important goods from other countries, where they could be bought at a favourable price, compared to the purchasing power of the same amount of bullion within the trade coins' country of origin.
The hyperpyron was a Byzantine coin in use during the late Middle Ages, replacing the solidus as the Byzantine Empire's gold coinage.
The pound sterling, commonly known as the pound and less commonly referred to as sterling, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the British Antarctic Territory, and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence. A number of nations that do not use sterling also have currencies called the pound.
|Silver ducat of Roger II of Sicily|
|+IC XC RC IN ÆTRN, nimbate bust of Christ facing, holding Gospels||R•R SLS, King Roger and, R•DX•AP, Duke Roger (son of Roger) standing facing, holding long cross between them; AN R X along staff of cross.|
|AG: scyphate ducalis or ducatum|
The word ducat is from Medieval Latin ducalis = "relating to a duke (or dukedom)", and initially meant "duke's coin" or a "duchy's coin".
A duchy is a country, territory, fief, or domain ruled by a duke or duchess. The term is used almost exclusively in Europe, where in the present day there is no sovereign duchy left.
The first issue of scyphate billon coins modelled on Byzantine trachea was made by King Roger II of Sicily as part of the Assizes of Ariano (1140). It was to be a valid issue for the whole kingdom. The first issue bears the figure of Christand the Latin inscription Sit tibi, Christe, datus, quem tu regis iste ducatus (meaning "O Christ, let this duchy, which you rule, be dedicated to you") on the obverse. On the reverse, Roger II is depicted in the style of a Byzantine emperor and his eldest son, Duke Roger III of Apulia, is depicted in battle dress. The coin took its common name from the Duchy of Apulia, which the younger Roger had been given by his father.
Scyphate is a term frequently used in numismatics to refer to the concave or "cup-shaped" Byzantine coins of the 11th–14th centuries.
Billon is an alloy of a precious metal with a majority base metal content. It is used chiefly for making coins, medals, and token coins.
The term trachy, plural trachea (τραχέα), meaning "rough" or "uneven", was used to describe the cup-shaped Byzantine coins struck in the 11th–14th centuries. The term was properly applied to coins of electrum, billon, or copper, and not to the gold hyperpyra.
Doge Enrico Dandolo of Venice introduced a silver ducat which was related to the ducats of Roger II. Later gold ducats of Venice, however, became so important that the name ducat was associated exclusively with them and the silver coins came to be called grossi.
Enrico Dandolo was the 41st Doge of Venice from 1192 until his death. He is remembered for his avowed piety, longevity, and shrewdness, and is known for his role in the Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople.
The Venetian grosso is a silver coin first introduced in Venice in 1193 under doge Enrico Dandolo. It originally weighed 2.18 grams, was composed of 98.5% pure silver, and was valued at 26 dinarii. Its name is from the same root as groschen and the English groat, all deriving ultimately from the denaro grosso.
In the 13th century, the Venetians imported goods from the East and sold them at a profit north of the Alps.They paid for these goods with Byzantine gold coins but when the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos backed a rebellion called the Sicilian Vespers in 1282, he debased the hyperpyron. This was just one more in a series of debasements of the hyperpyron and the Great Council of Venice responded with its own coin of pure gold in 1284.
Michael VIII Palaiologos or Palaeologus reigned as the Co-Emperor of the Empire of Nicaea from 1259 to 1261, and as Byzantine Emperor from 1261 until his death. Michael VIII was the founder of the Palaiologan dynasty that would rule the Byzantine Empire until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. He recovered Constantinople from the Latin Empire in 1261 and transformed the Empire of Nicaea into a restored Byzantine Empire.
The Sicilian Vespers was a successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out at Easter 1282 against the rule of the French-born king Charles I, who had ruled the Kingdom of Sicily since 1266. Within six weeks, approximately thirteen thousand French men and women were slain by the rebels, and the government of King Charles lost control of the island. It was the beginning of the War of the Sicilian Vespers.
The Great Council of Venice or Major Council, originally the Consilium Sapientium, was a political organ of the Republic of Venice between 1172 and 1797 and met in a special large hall of the Palazzo Ducale. Participation in the Great Council was established on hereditary right, exclusive to the patrician families enrolled in the Golden Book of the Venetian nobility.
Florence and Genoa had introduced gold coins in 1252 and the florin of Florence had become the standard European gold coin. Venice modeled the size and weight of their ducat on the florin, with a slight increase in weight due to differences in the two cities′ weight systems. The Venetian ducat contained 3.545 grams of 99.47% fine gold, the highest purity medieval metallurgy could produce.
The Florentine florin was a coin struck from 1252 to 1533 with no significant change in its design or metal content standard during that time. It had 54 grains of nominally pure or 'fine' gold with a purchasing power difficult to estimate but ranging according to social grouping and perspective from approximately 140 to 1000 modern US dollars. The name of the coin comes from the flower of the Giglio bottonato, which is represented at the head of the coin.
|Gold ducat of doge Michele Steno of Venice|
|Saint Mark standing giving gonfalone to the kneeling doge. S(anctus) M(arcus) VENET(I) DVX MICAEL STEN||Christ standing among stars in oval frame. SIT T[ibi] XPE (Christe) DAT[us] Q[uem] T[u] REGIS ISTE DVCAT[us]|
|AV, 21 mm; 3.50 g|
Gold ducat types derive from silver ducat types, which were ultimately Byzantine. The obverse shows the Doge of Venice kneeling before St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice. Saint Mark holds the gospel, which is his usual attribute, and presents a gonfalone to the doge. The legend on the left identifies the saint as S M VENET, i.e. Saint Mark of Venice, and the legend on the right identifies the doge, with his title DVX in the field. On the reverse, Christ stands among a field of stars in an oval frame. The reverse legend is the same as on Roger II’s ducats.
Succeeding doges of Venice continued striking ducats, changing only their name on the obverse. During the 15th century, the value of the ducat in terms of silver money was stable at 124 Venetian soldi, i.e. schillings. The term ducat became identified with this amount of silver money as well as the gold coin. Conflict between England and Spain in 1567, however, increased the price of gold and upset this equivalence.At this point, the coin was called the ducato de zecca, i.e. ducat of the mint, which was shortened to zecchino and corrupted to sequin . Leonardo Loredan extended the coinage with a half ducat and subsequent doges added a quarter, and various multiples up to 105 ducats. All of these coins continued to use the designs and weight standards of the original 1284 ducat. Even after dates became a common feature of western coinage, Venice struck ducats without them until Napoleon ended the Venetian Republic in 1797.
When the Roman Senate introduced gold coinage either the florin or the ducat could have provided an advantageous model to imitate[ when? ], but the Florentines who controlled the Senate’s finances ensured that their city’s coin was not copied. Instead, the Roman coin showed a senator kneeling before St. Peter on the obverse and Christ amid stars in oval frame on the reverse in direct imitation of the Venetian ducat. The Popes subsequently changed these designs, but continued to strike ducats of the same weight and size into the 16th century.
Most imitations of the Venetian ducat were made in the Levant, where Venice spent more money than it received. The Knights of Saint John struck ducats with grand master Dieudonné de Gozon, 1346-1353, kneeling before Saint John on the obverse and an angel seated on the Sepulcher of Christ on the reverse. Subsequent grand masters, however, found it expedient to copy the Venetian types more exactly, first at Rhodes and then on Malta.Genoese traders went farther. They struck ducats at Chios that could be distinguished from the Venetian originals only by their workmanship. These debased ducats were problematic for Venice, which valued its money's reputation for purity. The rarity of ducats that Genoese traders struck at Mytilene, Phocaea, and Pera suggests that Venetians melted those they encountered.
In Western Europe, Venice was an active trader but they sold more than they bought so their coins were less used than the florin.After Henckels assassinated Amadeus Aba in 1311, Charles I of Hungary began a gold coinage exploiting ores of Aba's ancient gold mines. His son, Louis I of Hungary changed the designs by replacing the standing figure of Saint John from the florin with a standing figure of Saint Ladislaus and later changing the lily of Florence to his coat of arms, but he maintained the purity of the gold. In the 15th century, a distinction was made between pure gold florins and debased imitations of the florin by calling the pure coins ducats and the debased coins gulden or goldgulden. The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V recognized this distinction in 1524 when he made ducats of the Venetian standard valid money in the Empire with a value 39% higher than the gulden. His younger brother and eventual successor, Ferdinand I, brought this system to Hungary in 1526, when he inherited its throne. The still-pure gold coins of Hungary were henceforth called ducats. Their purity made the Hungarian ducat acceptable throughout Europe. Even the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland left records of the ones his king used for gambling.
Hungary continued to strike ducats with 3.53133 grams of 98.6% fine gold. Unlike the unchanging designs of the ducats in Venice, the coat of arms on the reverse of the ducats of Hungary was frequently modified to reflect changed circumstances. In 1470, Matthias Corvinus replaced the coat of arms by a Madonna.Hungary struck ducats until 1915, even under Austrian rule. These were used as trade coins and several of the later dates have been restruck.
The Dutch Revolt gave its seven northern provinces control of their coinage. The collapse of the government of Francis of Anjou in 1583, however, left them without a constitutional ruler to name on those coins. They fell back on the longstanding regional tradition of imitating well accepted foreign coins. In this case they avoided political complications by copying obsolete coins. The gold coins Ferdinand and Isabella issued to the standards of the ducat were widely copied and called ducats.They also imitated the Hungarian ducat and those coins had more influence on the subsequent coinage of the United Provinces. Since the Netherlands became a dominant international trader, the influence of these ducats was global.
At first, ducats of Hungarian type struck in the Netherlands had a standing figure on the obverse with the crown and battle axe that St. Ladislaus carried on the Hungarian prototype, but naming him with a different legend. Like the original, but not contemporary, Hungarian ducats, the reverse had a shield, which now showed the coat of arms of the issuing province.These types evolved into a standing knight holding a sword and seven arrows representing the seven provinces in the union. The legend, CONCORDIA RES PARVÆ CRESCUNT, shortened in a variation of ways, says “by concord small things increase”. It also names —or shows a symbol representing— the province that issued the coin. The reverse had a tablet inscribed and always shortened in the same way: MOneta ORDInum PROVINciarum FOEDERatorum BELGicarum AD LEGem IMPerii, gold money of the federated provinces of Belgium in accordance with the law of the realm. In the Napoleonic period, the Batavian Republic and Louis Bonaparte continued to strike ducats with these designs. These coins were not issued during the annexation of the Netherlands into the French Empire. Since Napoleon’s defeat, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has continued to issue them as trade and bullion coins. The text in the table on the reverse now says MOneta AURea REGni BELGII AD LEGEM IMPERII.
During the 15th century, international traders in Western Europe shifted from the florin to the ducat as their preferred currency. As rulers reformed their currencies, they most frequently used the ducat as a model. The Mamluk ashrafi, the Ottoman altun, and the Castilian ducat are examples.Coinage reforms of The Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian initiated coinage of gold ducats in Austria in 1511. Austria continued to strike ducats until 1915, and has continued to restrike the last of them, including some four ducat coins illustrated here. Nevertheless, bullion for Spain's American colonies allowed the Spanish dollar to supersede the ducat as the dominant currency of world trade.
Around 1913, the gold ducat was worth the equivalent of "nine shillings and four pence sterling, or somewhat more than two dollars. The silver ducat is of about half this value."Even now some national mints produce batches of ducats made after old patterns as bullion gold and banks sell these coins to private investors or collectors.
The British florin, or two shilling coin, was issued from 1849 until 1967, with a final issue for collectors dated 1970. Valued at one tenth of a pound, it was the last coin circulating immediately prior to decimalisation to be demonetised, in 1993, having for a quarter of a century circulated alongside the ten pence piece, identical in specifications and value.
Roman currency for most of Roman history consisted of gold, silver, bronze, orichalcum and copper coinage. From its introduction to the Republic, during the third century BC, well into Imperial times, Roman currency saw many changes in form, denomination, and composition. A persistent feature was the inflationary debasement and replacement of coins over the centuries. Notable examples of this followed the reforms of Diocletian. This trend continued into Byzantine times.
Byzantine currency, money used in the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the West, consisted of mainly two types of coins: the gold solidus and a variety of clearly valued bronze coins. By the end of the empire the currency was issued only in silver stavrata and minor copper coins with no gold issue.
The Louis d'or[lwi dɔʁ] is any number of French coins first introduced by Louis XIII in 1640. The name derives from the depiction of the portrait of King Louis on one side of the coin; the French royal coat of arms is on the reverse. The coin was replaced by the French franc at the time of the revolution and later the similarly valued Napoleon. The actual value of the coins fluctuated according to monetary and fiscal policy, but in 1726 the value was stabilized.
The franc, also commonly distinguished as the French franc (FF), was a currency of France. Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money. It was reintroduced in 1795. It was revalued in 1960, with each new franc (NF) being worth 100 old francs. The NF designation was continued for a few years before the currency returned to being simply the franc; the French continued to reference and value items in terms of the old franc until the introduction of the euro in 1999 and 2002. The French franc was a commonly held international reserve currency of reference in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The solidus, nomisma, or bezant was originally a relatively pure gold coin issued in the Late Roman Empire. Under Constantine, who introduced it on a wide scale, it had a weight of about 4.5 grams. It was largely replaced in Western Europe by Pepin the Short's currency reform, which introduced the silver-based pound/shilling/penny system, under which the shilling functioned as a unit of account equivalent to 12 pence, eventually developing into the French sou. In Eastern Europe, the nomisma was gradually debased by the Byzantine emperors until it was abolished by Alexius I in 1092, who replaced it with the hyperpyron, which also came to be known as a "bezant". The Byzantine solidus also inspired the originally slightly less pure Arab dinar.
A mohur is a gold coin that was formerly minted by several governments, including British India and some of the princely states which existed alongside it, the Mughal Empire, Kingdom of Nepal, and Afghanistan. It was usually equivalent in value to fifteen silver rupees. It was last minted in British India in 1918, but some princely states continued to issue the coins until their accession to India after 1947. Similar coins were also issued by the British authorities in denominations of 2⁄3 mohur, 1⁄3 mohur and the double mohur, and some of the princely states issued half-mohur coins.
The term écu or crown may refer to one of several French coins. The first écu was a gold coin minted during the reign of Louis IX of France, in 1266. Écu means shield, and the coin was so called because its design included the coat of arms of France. The word is related to scudo and escudo. The value of the écu varied considerably over time, and silver coins were also introduced.
The sequin is a gold coin weighing 3.5 grams (0.12 oz) of .986 gold, minted by the Republic of Venice from the 13th century onwards.
The coins of Newfoundland are of historical importance as Newfoundland was a British colony until 1907, and a Dominion until 1949, when Newfoundland and Labrador became the tenth province of Canada.
A mint mark is a letter, symbol or an inscription on a coin indicating the mint where the coin was produced.
The Swiss franc has been the currency of Liechtenstein since 1920. The Swiss franc is legal tender since Liechtenstein is in a customs and monetary union with Switzerland. The 1980 treaty between Switzerland and Liechtenstein allows Liechtenstein to mint limited amounts of Swiss francs with a Liechtenstein inscription, but only in the form of commemorative coins, and they are not allowed to issue banknotes.
Medieval Bulgarian coinage are the coins minted by the Bulgarian Emperors during the Middle Ages at the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire.
The gold dinar is an Islamic medieval gold coin first issued in AH 77 (696–697 CE) by Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan. The weight of the dinar is 1 mithqal.
Paolo Renier was a Venetian statesman, the 119th, and penultimate, Doge of Venice. He was a orator and tactician, and served as ambassador to Constantinople and to Vienna. His election as Doge was unpopular, and he was the subject of numerous menacing letters at the time. Renier was succeeded as Doge by Ludovico Manin, who would be the last Doge of Venice. He married Giustina Dona in 1733, and Margherita Delmaz in 1751.
The stavraton or stauraton was a type of silver coin used during the last century of the Byzantine Empire.
The basilikon, commonly also referred to as the doukaton, was a widely circulated Byzantine silver coin of the first half of the 14th century. Its introduction marked the return to a wide-scale use of silver coinage in the Byzantine Empire, and presaged the total abandonment of the gold coins around the middle of the century.
The Gigliato, also Gillat or Carlino, was a coin of pure silver established in 1303 by Charles II of Anjou in Naples, and then also in Provence from 1330. Its name derives from the Lilies ("giglio") depicted on the reverse entwined around a cross. The coin weighed 4 grams. This type of coin was widely copied in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially by the Turks, such as the Emir of Saruhan.
The Coinage of the Republic of Venice include the coins produced by the Republic of Venice from the late 12th century to 1866. After this date, coins were produced in Venice by the mint.
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