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Gold 10 dukat tops in Amsterdam

Obverse and reverse of the gold Dutch “Portugalöser” struck in 1640 by the city of Deventer. It was sold for a record $179,000 by Heritage Auctions Europe in May. The die work and metallurgical content are typical of contemporary coins of the Dutch provinces. (Images courtesy www.ha.com)

Heritage Auctions Europe is claiming a record price for sale of a pre-Kingdom Dutch provincial coin. In the firm’s May 22-27 sale in Amsterdam a 10 dukat “Portugalöser” struck by the city of Deventer in the year 1640 realized $179,000.

In the mid-17th century, Dutch entrepreneurs were endeavoring to establish trading posts if not colonies in Brazil. To support their efforts they struck gold coins to compete with those the Portuguese were already circulating there. These imitative coins were dubbed “Portugalöser.”

It became rumored in The Netherlands that the 10 ducat Dutch gold pieces were overweight and hence were bringing a 50 percent premium in Brazil. This encouraged anyone in the Dutch provinces who had the wherewithal to produce similar coins.

The city of Deventer in the province of Overijssel was one that decided to cash in. Although they did not have the authority to mint such coins, they went ahead. They avoided conflict with the authorities by simply calling their product medals.

The rumor turned out to be false and the central Dutch government forbad further striking of this coin type whatever its name. Further it took several arduous months for the struck gold to travel to Brazil to be sold at a profit. As a consequence, only a few dozen were minted. Even less have survived to today.

The coin that sold is believed to be the only one in private hands. It had the added advantage of being certified MS-61. Given that regular Portugalösers can realize over $100,000 the price realized was not unexpected.


This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.


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