Austrian Gold-Dukaten depicting Kaiser Franz-Josef, c. 1910

The ducat (pronounced /ˈdʌkət/) is a gold coin that was used as a trade coin throughout Europe before World War I. Its weight is 3.4909 grams of .986 gold, which is 0.1107 troy ounce, actual gold weight.[citation needed]


The first issue of this coin is thought to have been under Roger II of Sicily, who, in 1140, coined ducats bearing the figure of Christ, and the inscription, Sit tibi, Christe, datus, quem tu regis iste ducatus (or roughly, "O Christ, let this duchy which you rule be dedicated to you." This seems to be a reference to Matthew 22:19-21).

The ducat was introduced by the Republic of Venice in 1284 under the Doge Giovanni Dandolo (1280–1289). The Venetian ducat, ducato, then called zecchino since 1554–1559, featured the Doge kneeling before St. Mark on the obverse and Jesus on the reverse. During the Middle Ages the ducat gained much popularity, as it was easy to mint, and packed quite a value in one relatively small coin. Several cities and small states in Europe – mostly Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages – issued multiple, single and fractional ducats. The standard of coin was adopted in Hungary; and for a long time all foreign coins bore the name Ongri, Venetian for "Hungarian", where the trade of the world at this period was concentrated. They did not become popular in Germany until a later date.

The Golden Bull of Charles IV gave to all members of the empire the privilege of issuing gold coins, with any stamp they chose; but these were only gold guilders, equivalent to the florin.

Ducats became a standard gold coin throughout Europe, especially after it was officially imperially sanctioned in 1566. The ducat remained sanctioned until 1857. To make it more confusing there was also a silver ducat minted in many European nations. The Royal Dutch Mint still issues silver ducats with a weight of 28.25 grams.

The most common type of ducat were the old Dutch ducats, bearing the impression of an armed figure, which gave way, for a short time only, to the figure of Louis II of Flanders. They circulated almost as merchandise, but had been frequently counterfeited in the Grisons. The counterfeits were very good in appearance, both in weight and sound.

According to 1913 Webster the ducat was worth the equivalent of "nine shillings and four pence sterling, or somewhat more than two dollars [around $44 in 2010 dollars]. The silver ducat is of about half this value." The ducat itself was worth an amount of money, but it was not written down in other denominations, such as its exact worth in German marks, dollars or any other currency of that time. 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.

Ducat mints

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

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • ducat — ducat …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • ducat — [ dyka ] n. m. • 1275; it. ducato « monnaie à l effigie d un duc » ♦ Ancienne monnaie d or des ducs ou doges de Venise. ● ducat nom masculin (italien ducato) Monnaie frappée par des ducs, en particulier monnaie d or des doges de Venise, de 1284 à …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ducat — DUCÁT, (1) ducate, s.n., (2) ducaţi, s.m. 1. s.n. Provincie, teritoriu, stat de sub stăpânirea unui duce2 sau unei ducese. 2. s.m. Monedă de aur sau de argint (la origine italiană) care a circulat în mai multe ţări din Europa, printre care şi în… …   Dicționar Român

  • Ducat — Duc at, n. [F. ducat, It. ducato, LL. ducatus, fr. dux leader or commander. See {Duke}.] A coin, either of gold or silver, of several countries in Europe; originally, one struck in the dominions of a duke. [1913 Webster] Note: The gold ducat is… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ducat — DUCAT. s. m. Pièce d or fin, dont la valeur est différente suivant les différens Pays. Il y a aussi des ducats d argent. Il avoit mille ducats depension. On appelle Or ducat, L or qui est au titre du Ducat …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • ducat — late 14c., from O.Fr. ducat (late 14c.), from It. ducato (12c.), from M.L. ducatus coin, originally duchy, from dux (gen. ducis) duke (see DUKE (Cf. duke) (n.)). So called for the name or effigy of Roger II of Sicily, Duke of Apulia, which first… …   Etymology dictionary

  • ducat — Ducat. s. m. Piece d or fin qui pese un peu plus qu un escu sol. Il y a aussi des ducats d argent. Or ducat …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • ducat — [duk′ət] n. [ME & OFr < It ducato, ducat, coin bearing image of a duke < LL ducatus: see DUCHY] 1. any of several gold or silver coins formerly used in some European countries 2. Slang a piece of money 3. Slang a ticket, esp. an admission… …   English World dictionary

  • ducat — Ducat, ou Duché, voyez Acarnanie …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • ducat — ► NOUN 1) a gold coin formerly current in most European countries. 2) (ducats) informal money. ORIGIN Italian ducato, originally referring to a silver coin minted by the Duke of Apulia in 1190 …   English terms dictionary

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