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What is a ducat? History of the currency

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What is a ducat? History of the currency
What is a ducat? History of the currency

In the Middle Ages, in most European countries, the main monetary unit was the ducat. It was a coin made of gold, weighing about 3.5 grams. Venice was the first to mint ducats. Thus, this state borrowed the practice that took place in the Florentine Republic, where they began to make florins even earlier. What is a ducat? This material will help answer this question.

Interesting facts

For seven centuries, many European states have been manufacturing ducats. One of the features of these coins is extreme wear resistance. And to this day they have retained their sample and original weight. Such characteristics make the ducat an attractive commodity at various specialized auctions. So, some copies are traded at the level of two hundred US dollars. For example, Dutch ducats.

Coins from other countries are much rarer. At the same time, the price for them can be several times higher than for ducats from Holland. Polish ducats are considered to be one of the rarest coins. What does the word "dukat" mean? The name of this currency came fromfrom the word dux - "duke".

austrian ducat obverse

Ducats in Venice

During the reign of the legendary Doge of the Venetian Republic Enrico Dandolo (1192-1205), Byzantine hyperpyrons were the main coin used in trade operations in the Mediterranean. They were also called "hyperpyres". At the same time, it should be noted that the Byzantine rulers of that era regularly devalued the local currency. The purpose of such actions was to mint new coins to cover military expenses. As a result of this permanent devaluation, hyperpyrone lost its popularity. What is a ducat for Venice of that time?

Venetian merchants, on the contrary, were interested in a strong and stable currency that would have authority and be trusted by foreign merchants. And in 1294 in the Venetian Republic began to mint gold ducats. This moment occurred during the reign of Doge Giovanni Dandolo, who was the great-grandson of Enrico.

austrian ducat reverse

Dukats in other countries

Venetian coins were made by analogy with the Florentine florin, which appeared in circulation in 1252. Their weight was 3.545 grams of the purest gold that the metallurgical industry of the Middle Ages could only produce. It should be noted that the metric standard of modern wedding rings is equal to a maximum of 958, while the indicators of gold ducats corresponded to 994.7.

Besides Venice, Genoa, Hungary, Romanpope, and also, in the second half of the 15th century, the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror. True, the latter minted its own monetary unit, the golden sultani, but according to the standard of European coins. In addition, at the end of the 16th century, after gaining independence from the Spanish crown, the Netherlands began to produce their own ducats.

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