Venetian gold ducat and its imitations

Ives, Herbert E. (Herbert Eugene), 1882-1953
Numismatic Notes and Monographs
American Numismatic Society
New York
Worldcat Works




Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program.


Table of Contents




In the second half of the thirteenth century two important gold coins were introduced in Italy, the florin of Florence (1252) and the ducat or zecchino of Venice (1284). Of virtually the same size and value, and of high purity, these coins were issued, with little change in design, for a period of several centuries: in the case of the florin, up to 1533, after the institution of Alessandro de Medici as first Grand Duke of Tuscany; in the case of the ducat, up to the suppression of the Venetian Republic by the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797 and even beyond, into the nineteenth century. Both had a wide circulation 1 and were extensively imitated, but the imitations followed a somewhat different course in the two cases.

The florins of Florence were copied almost exclusively in western Europe: in Germany, the Low Countries, France and Aragon, where over a hundred rulers, states, and cities issued florins bearing the lily for obverse, and St. John the Baptist as reverse, with the FLORENTIA of the original replaced by FRANCIA, FLAD, or other identifying place or ruler's name. These florin imitations flourished in the fourteenth century, but had practically ceased by 1400 except in Aragon, where they persisted well into the fifteenth century. The goldgulden, derived from the florin, lasted longer, but with the lily and St. John superseded by other types. The florin imitations have been very fully listed and described by Dannenberg, 2 Joseph, 3 and others.

The imitations of the Venetian ducat, in contrast to those of the florin, were produced almost entirely in regions south and east of Venice : 4 in the eastern Mediterranean, the Levant, and out as far as India. Unlike the florin imitations they were not a phenomenon of a few decades, but continued during the whole period of the ducat, that is, up until the nineteenth century. It is the purpose of this essay to give an account of the spread of these ducat imitations, which it has heretofore been possible to comprehend only by consulting widely scattered sources.

[It must be remembered that imitations of the ducat throw light on only one aspect of its influence. The weight and intrinsic quality of the coin were as important as its external appearance, and the manner in which it was taken as a model by rulers who in the fifteenth century were reforming or creating a gold coinage is most revealing. This was equally true of the Christian west and the Muslim east. Afonso V of Portugal, establishing in 1457 the new cruzado with the guinea gold which Portugese exploration of the coast of west Africa was for the first time bringing to his kingdom, made this coin of the weight and fineness of the ducat, 5 and Ferdinand and Isabella, in carrying out their great monetary reform by the Pragmatic of Medina del Campo of 13 June 1497, took the value of the ducat as that which their excelente should follow. 6 In the early years of the century, when the Venetian ducat circulated in great quantities in Egypt under the name of īfranty, the Mamluk ruler An-Nāṣīr Faraj (1399–1412) made his new gold coin, called after him the nāsery, identical in weight with the ducat, 7 and so a few years later did Al-Ashraf (1422–38), 8 while even Muhammad the Conqueror took the ducat as the standard for his altun, the gold coin of the Ottoman Empire, struck for the first time in 1478. 9

Equally significant is the way in which during the fifteenth century the word ducat came to displace florin as the common expression for a gold coin. To a writer of the fourteenth century, every gold coin was a "florin" of some particular-sort, even if it bore no physical resemblance to the Italian coin and was of quite a different weight. The French masse d'or was a florenus ad sceptrum, the chaise d'or a florenus ad cathedram, and so on. But in the fifteenth century the common word was ducat; people spoke of ducats of Bohemia or Hungary, and in Holland and Germany, and even in Florence itself, the florin was termed "ducat of Florence." 10 The fundamental reason for the change was the fact that the Venetian coin had been so little copied in western Europe. The Florentine florin had been widely imitated, many of these imitations were seriously debased, and the bad reputation they earned reflected quite unjustifiably upon their prototype.]

End Notes

Cf. Josef Muller, "Venezianer Münzen im XIII. Jahrhunderte und ihr Einfluss auf das mitteleuropäische Münzwesen," Numismatische Zeitschrift, XV (1883), 222–37, and the article of Dieudonné cited below, p. 4, n. 10.
Hermann Dannenberg, "Die Goldgulden vom Florentiner Gepräge," NZ, XII (1880), 146–85.
Paul Joseph, Historisch-kritische Beschreibung des Bretzenheimer Gold-guldenfundes (vergraben um 1390): nebst einem Verzeichniss der bisher bekannten Goldgulden vom Florentiner Gepräge (Mainz, 1883). This article first appeared in vol. III of the Zeitschrift des Vereins zur Erforschung der rheinischen Geschichte und Altertümer zu Mainz. The most convenient listing of florin imitations is that in Arthur Engel and Raymond Serrure, Traité de numismatique du moyen âge, III (Paris, 1905), 1437–40.
The relatively small circulation of the Venetian ducat in northern Europe is reflected in the composition of the Bretzenheim hoard. Of the 1005 coins it contained, 451 were Florentine florins, 549 were florin imitations or derivatives, and only 5 were Venetian ducats. In contrast to this, see the account of the board of Puerto de Santa Maria at Cadiz by F. Mateu y Llopis, "El ducado, unidad monetaria internacional oro durante el siglo XV, y su aparacion en la peninsula Iberica," Anuario del Cuerpo Facultativo de Archiveros, Bibliothecarios y Arqueologicos, II (1934), 1–34.
A. C. Teixeira de Aragão, Descripção geral e historica das moedas... de Portugal, I (Lisbon, 1874), 230. The mint specifications were a fineness of 23¾ carats and 64⅔ pieces to the mark, so the weight was a fraction above that of the ducat.
Aloiss Heiss, Descripcion general de las monedas hispano-cristianas desde la invasion de los Ārabes, I (Madrid, 1865), 134. The mint specifications were a fineness of 23¾ carats and 65 pieces to the mark. The text of the Pragmatic can be most conveniently consulted in Tomás Dasí, Estudio de los reales de a ocho, I (Valencia, 1950), Doc. no. 75, pp. LV-LXXIX.
A. Raugé van Gennep, "Le ducat venitien en Égypte: son influence sur le monnayage de l'or dans ce pays au commencement du XVe siècle," Rev. Num., 4th series, I (1897), 373–81, 494–508. The esteem in which the ducat was held was due to its uniformity of weight as much as to its purity, the gold coins of the Mamluks in the fourteenth century being struck to no weight standard at all. The appearance of the ducat in quantity in Egypt is stated by a contemporary historian to date from about 1388, but seems to have been earlier, since the Florentine Niccolò Frescobaldi found it in common use in Cairo in 1384. An-Nāṣīr Faraj's predecessor Saif-ed-dīn (1382–99) attempted to drive it out of circulation by reviving the old dinar of traditional weight, but had no success. Although the nāsery was of the same weight as the ducat, it was not of such fine gold and so was valued at less (Raugé van Gennep, op. cit., 499–501).
Raugé van Gennep, op. cit., 501. The coin of Al-Ashraf, known after him as the ashrafī, had a great future before it, since it provided the name and one of the main standards of weight for the later gold coins of Persia (H. L. Rabino di Borgomale, Coins, medals and seals of the Shahs of Iran, 1500–1941, Hertford, 1945, 14).
This at least is the earliest date (A. H. 883) recorded; we do not know positively that the coin was created in this year.
See the remarks of Adolphe Dieudonné, "Des espèces de circulation internationale en Europe, depuis saint Louis," Revue suisse de numismatique, XXII (1920), 15–17.


1284—c. 1840 11

The ducat of Venice was struck in pure gold, of weight 3.56 gm.; 12 its diameter was at first 20 mm., but increased later to about 21 mm. The uniform design, which varied only in small details through the centuries, is illustrated by the large, infrequently struck ten-ducat piece shown in Plate I, 1. The obverse displays St. Mark standing at the left; at the right the doge kneeling, holding a staff or banner, alongside which is the word DVX. The inscription around the border is the doge's name to right, and to left S. M. VENET(VS or I). On the reverse is the figure of Christ, surrounded by stars, in a pointed oval technically known as a mandorla. The legend is SIT.T.XPE.DAT. Q. TV.REGIS.ISTE.DVCAT (Sit tibi Christe datus, quem tu regis, isle ducatus, 'Let this duchy which thou rulest be dedicated to thee, O Christ'.)

[According to most works of reference, the name of the coin is derived from the last word of the legend. This is a popular derivation which is not correct. The word ducat was first applied to the silver grossi of Venice, 13 coined from 1202 onwards, on which no such legend occurs, and when the new gold coins came into existence eighty years later they were called ducati auri, to distinguish them from the current ducati argenti, and ultimately the word "ducat" came to be applied solely to the gold coins. The evolution was precisely similar to that of the word "florin," which was used first of silver coins of Florence and subsequently of the fiorini d'oro, or fiorini for short. The word ducat originally meant the silver coins struck by Roger II (1102–54) and William I (1154–66) of Sicily from 1140 onwards for the duchy of Apulia, and their name (ducatus or ducalis) came from the ducatus Apuliae. 14 It was presumably applied to the Venetian ducat because of a general resemblance in design, 15 and because no other word existed at that time to denote a silver coin of higher value then a penny.]

Various changes in design occur, in the character of the doge's cap, in the lettering, in the disposition of the figure of Christ and the nimbus in the oval, in the number and arrangement of the stars. These changes, which often offer a means of identifying the prototype of an imitation, are exhibited, with descriptive notes, on Plates II to VI, alongside the complete list of doges. [The changes are not always exactly coterminous with the rule of the doges indicated, for there was a certain amount of overlap between some of the types, and particular details, such as the presence or absence of a beard on the doges of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, evidently depended upon the actual appearance of individual sovereigns. There are also occasionally quite inexplicable variations from the normal type. A ducat of Andrea Dandolo (1344–54) in the collection of Philip Grierson has the cruciform nimbus of Christ on the reverse replaced by a nimbus containing three small crosses, one above and one on either side of the head. In every other respect it is quite normal (wt. 3.51 g.), and there is no doubt that it is a product of the Venetian mint.]

The method of coining the ducats was not changed throughout their history; they were all hammered coins, with the exception of a milled pattern (Plate VI,2) made under Austrian rule with the name of Francis II. [The earliest ducats had their dies adjusted ↑↓ or more rarely ↑↑, this practice, which was very unusual in the middle ages in the West, being no doubt derived from Byzantium. 16 In the second half of the fourteenth century this regularity was abandoned, but it seems to have been revived in the fifteenth century, at least so far as the majority of the coins were concerned, though irregularity is found from time to time in every reign.

The issue of the ducats did not end with the dissolution of the Venetian Republic in 1797, though it is not easy to discover exactly how much longer their minting continued. Coins in the name of the last doge, Lodovico Manin (1789–97), are believed to have been struck down to 1823, 17 since they were enormously popular in the Levant. The ducats with the title of FRANC.II 18 were minted during the first Austrian occupation of Venice (1797–1805), partly at the mint in Venice and partly at that of Günzburg. Ducats with the title of FRANC.I 19 were struck at Venice between 1815 and 1822, when their minting was discontinued, 20 but coins with the FRANC.II legend were apparently being struck from the old dies in c. 1840. 21 These are indistinguishable from the earlier issue, but must none the less be regarded as the last Venetian ducats struck by the lawful mint of the city.]

End Notes

The main works of reference are Nicolò Papadopoli, Le monete di Venezia, 3 vols. (Venice-Milan, 1893–1919); the Corpus Nummorum Italicorum, VII-VIII (Rome, 1915–17); and Giuseppe Castellani, Catalogo della Raccolta Numismatica Papadopoli-Aldobrandini (Civico Museo Correr), 2 vols. (Venice, 1925).
The order of the Grand Council of 31 October 1284 which created the ducat prescribed that it should be "tam bona et fina per aurum vel melior ut est florenus" (Papadopoli, op. cit. I, 123). Authors like Pegolotti regularly take it as being 24 carat gold, and modern assays have found it to be 997/1000 fine (Ibid., p. 124). The coin was struck at 67 to the mark of Venice. This has been variously estimated at between 237.52 g. and 238.453 g.; at the latter figure the weight of the ducat works out at 5.559 g.
The proof is a passage in the chronicle of Martino da Canale, cited by Papadopoli (I, 81), which says under Enrico Dandolo (1192–1205) "fu comencie en Venise a faire les nobles mehailles d'argent que l'en apele ducat, qui cort parmi le monde por sa bonte." Martino da Canale wrote in the early thirteenth century, before the gold ducat existed.
See the appendix on the ducats of the Norman kings in Arthur Engel, Recherches sur la numismatique et la sigillographie des Normands de Sicile et d'Italie (Paris, 1882), 65–71.
The Norman ducat showed on the obverse the standing figures of Roger I and his son Roger, or William I and his son Roger, holding a long cross between them, and on the reverse the nimbate bust of Christ. The Venetian grosso (silver ducat) showed on the obverse two standing figures, the doge and St. Mark, holding a banner between them, and on the reverse the seated figure of Christ.
See Philip Grierson, "Pegged Venetian coin dies: their place in the history of die adjustment," Numismatic Chronicle, 6th series, XII (1952), 103. Cf. also below, p. 34.
So Carlo Kunz in Paul Lambros, Monete inedite dei Gran Maestri dell'Ordine di S. Giovanni di Gerusalemme in Rodi (Venice, 1865), 23, note i.
CNI, VIII, 644, nos. 10–11. The numbering of this emperor, who ruled 1792–1835, is peculiar, since he was Francis II as Holy Roman Emperor (1792–1806) but Francis I as Emperor of Austria (1806–1835). Coins giving him the title of Francis II therefore precede those bearing the title of Francis I.
Ibid., 655, no. 38.
Siegfried Becher, Das österreichische Münzwesen vom Jahre 1524 bis 1838(Vienna, 1835), I (i), 116–117; Josef C. Adam, "Die Münzen unter der Regierung des Kaisers Franz II. bezw. Kaiser I von Oesterreich 1792 bis 1835," Mitteilungen des Clubs der Münz- und Medaillenfreunde in Wien, XI (1900), 45.
Josef Cejnek, Österreichische Münzprägungen von 1705 bis 1935 (Vienna, 1935). 68.


The earliest imitations of the Venetian ducat, most closely resembling their prototype in style, are the series issued in the name of the Roman Senate 22 in the fourteenth and early fifteenth century. 23 They differ from the contemporary Venetian ducats almost solely in their inscriptions. In place of S. M. VENETI we find S. PETRVS; in place of DVX alongside the staff we find SEN, which is continued in the circular inscription as ATOR VRBIS; and on the reverse the inscription is ROMA CAPVT MVNDI. SPQR.

[These ducats are usually dated 1350–1439. 24 The terminal date may be accepted, for an exchange table of 1439 de- scribes the ducat of Pope Eugenius IV bearing his arms, which replaced the ducat of Venetian type, as a ducato nuovo. The date of origin is based on the assumption that the ducats were first issued on the occasion of the Papal Jubilee of 1350, since it was on this occasion that the Sudario, the cloth showing the face of the Saviour, was exhibited in Rome and first came into prominence, and the Sudario is very frequently used as a symbol in the legends of the ducats. Such reasoning does not exclude the possibility of some of the ducats being earlier than 1350, and we have good evidence that they were, for the Florentine merchant Pegolotti, writing c. 1340, includes romanini d'oro a carati 23 e ¾, which can only mean these ducats, in the list of gold coins current in his day. 25 They did not yet exist in 1317, since the chapters relating to coinage in the Statuti dei Mercanti di Roma of this year refer only to money of silver and billon. 26 Their origin must therefore be placed between 1317 and c. 1340.

The three stages 27 in the history of the senatorial ducat are illustrated on PlateVII. They differ according to the obverse legend. The first is that closest to the Venetian original, with S. PETRVS (corresponding to S. M. VENETI) reading vertically downwards to left, SEN (corresponding to DVX) reading vertically downwards in the center and finally the remainder of the last word (Sen)ATOR.VRBIS reading outwardly downwards, in a position corresponding to the doge's name on Venetian coins, on the right. The second series is identical with the first save that SEN reads vertically upwards, making the sequence ATOR.VRBIS a more natural one. The third continues this arrangement, but S. PETRVS now reads outwardly upwards, following the circumference of the coin. Within these broad divisions there are many varieties of moneyer's or issue marks (crossed keys, Sudario, Moor's head, rose, etc.), some of which are also found on silver coins which bear the names of individual popes and thus allow groups of ducats on which they occur to be given an approximate date. 28 In the final period the banner on the obverse terminates below in a shield with the Condulmerio arms (Plate VII, 4), those of Pope Eugenius IV (1431–47), whose personal name was Gabriello Condulmerio.]

These coins were followed by the regular papal coinage of ducats, retaining the old size and weight but with designs in which all traces of the Venetian type are lost. [The only apparent exception to this is the ducat – a double ducat also exists – of Paul II (1464–71)showing the kneeling pope receiving the keys from St. Peter (Plate VIII, 4),but the resemblance between it and the traditional Venetian type is purely accidental. The bestowal of the keys was an obvious theme on a papal coin, and the design is one of a remarkable series of novel types produced towards the middle of the fifteenth century by an enterprising and talented moneyer and die-engraver, Miliano Orfini of Foligno, who worked for a number of years in the papal mint. 29

The existence of this Roman series of imitation ducats is at first sight an anomaly, since the only other large group of Venetian imitations was situated in the eastern Mediterranean area, and there is no reason to suppose that Venetian coinage was particularly important in Rome. The most likely explanation is that since the economic life of the city revolved around the financial operations of the papal curia and the entertainment of visitors, in either case being concerned with the subjects of every European state, it was desirable to have a gold coinage which approximated in value and appearance to one or other of the best known coinages of the day. The florin was out of the question, for the Roman mint was largely controlled and administered by Florentines, and the magistrates of Florence took strong exception to the imitation of the coins of their city and endeavored to prevent it where they could. If the florin could not be imitated, the Venetian ducat was the next best thing, and the moneyers had no scruples in making the resemblance as close as they reasonably could.]

End Notes

Though the coins are called "senatorial" because they refer to the Senate and not to the Pope, they were issued by the city authorities with papal approbation, and after the return of the popes to Rome from their sojourn at Avignon there was only a single mint in Rome striking both "papal" and "senatorial" coins. See Camillo Serafini, "L'autorità pontificia nelle monete del Senato Romano," Atti e Memorie dell 'Istituto italiano di Numismatica, I (1913), 129–41.
The main collections of material are the CNI, XV, 160–80, nos. 495–662, and Camillo Serafini, Le monete e le bolle plumbee pontificie del Medagliere Vaticano, I (Milan, 1910), 56–63, nos. 377–463. An invaluable study is V. Capobianchi, "Appunti per servire all'ordinamento delle monete coniate dal Senato Romano dal 1184 al 1439," Archivio della Reale Società romana di Storia patria, XVIII (1895), 417–45; XIX (1896), 75–123. Edoardo Martinori's "Annali della Zecca di Roma. Serie del Senato Romano, 1184–1439," Atti e Memorie dell'Istituto italiano di Numismatica, VI (1930), 220–60, unfortunately got no further than a bibliographical introduction, and is of little use in this connection.
See Serafini, op. cit., and the CNI. The reasoning is set out by Capobianchi, op. cit., 104–7, 113–14.
Francesco Balducci Pegolotti, La pratica della mercatura, ed. Allan Evans (Mediaeval Academy of America, Publications No. 24, Cambridge, Mass., 1936), 287. On the date at which Pegolotti was writing, ibid., xiii-xiv. Much of the material is earlier, but how much earlier it is impossible to say, since the text has not yet been critically analyzed.
Capobianchi, op. cit., 104.
The CNI and Serafini have three stages; Capobianchi makes five by further subdividing the second and third according to the way in which SPQR is written in the reverse legend.
See E. Martinori, Annali delle Zecca di Roma: Urbano VGiovanni XXIII (Rome, 1917), 9, 25, 31–2, 41, 49; Martino V – Eugenio IV (1918), 8–9, 29.
See E. Martinori, Annali della Zecca di Roma: Nicolò VPio II (Rome, 1918), Paolo II (1917), and Sisto IV – Innocenzo VIII (1917), passim; L. Forrer, Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, s.v. Orsini (sic.!), Emiliano.


The further imitations of the Venetian ducat in western Europe are, unlike the copies of the Florentine florin, relatively few, and never occur far afield from Italy. No considerable coinages took place, and specimens of such as exist are rare.

Genoa, the great maritime rival of Venice, adopted the type of standing saint and kneeling ruler in the middle of the sixteenth century for some of its silver coinage, but not for any extensive gold coinage. There occurs, however, a gold ducat (Plate VIII, 1)closely resembling the Venetian piece, with obverse inscription DVX.ET.GVB REIP.GEN and reverse inscription DEO.OPT.MAX.GLO. This ducat, in the former King of Italy's collection, 30 is not listed in any of the principal works on the coinage of Genoa, and should perhaps be classed as a pattern, [though the only recorded specimen shows considerable signs of wear. Its style, and the fact that a similar Venetian type was introduced on the silver testone in 1554, permits us to assign it to the mid-sixteenth century.]

In the same category of pattern is to be placed a unique silver piece of Duke Ferdinand Gonzaga of Mantua (1612–26), illustrated on Plate VIII, 2, which shows St. Andrew standing, holding a long cross and a monstrance, with the kneeling and bare-headed duke to the right. 31 The obverse inscription is FER. D. G. DVX. MAN. VI. E. M. F. with IIII, i. e., his number as duke of Montferrat (MF) beneath. On the reverse is the figure of the Virgin in a mandorla surrounded by the inscription PRAESIDIVM NOSTRVM.

Belonging also to the group of imitations of the Venetian ducat is the piece issued by Amadeus VIII of Savoy (1416–39) 32 shown on Plate VIII, 3, which, however, illustrates the breaking away from the design of the prototype which is common in imitative coinages and which will be seen again in the coins of Malta. In this case the reverse shows instead of the figure of Christ the arms of Savoy. The obverse has the standing saint and the kneeling ruler, but the saint (Maurice) is a figure in armor. The inscriptions are AMADEVS.DVX.SABAVDIE and SIT.NOM.DIN (sic) BN. DTM (sit nomen Domini benedictum).

The next two continental European imitations to be noted are of interest as being the most northerly excursions of the Venetian type. The first is the ducat issued by the principality of Dombes in Burgundy in the seventeenth century. This (Plate VIII, 5) has the type of St. Mark and the kneeling ruler, with DVX alongside the standard. The inscription is FRANC. PRINC on the right and SM TREVO upwards on the left. On the reverse the inscription is SIT XI ADIVTO REGIS TE DOMBA.

[These ducats were first ascribed by numismatists to Francis II of Dombes (1582–92), as the name FRANC seemed to imply. But the design of the reverse, with stars above and below the figure of Christ, corresponds to that of Venetian ducats of the mid-seventeenth century, and it is now agreed that they must be assigned to Anne Marie Louise de Montpensier, princess of Dombes (1650–93). Boucher d'Argis, who was a member of the sovereign council of Dombes and had access to its records, wrote of the exploitation of the right of coinage by the mint of Dombes during her reign: Mademoiselle de Montpensier fit travailler longtemps à la monnaie de Trévoux; on y fabriqua des pièces de 15, 30 et 60 sols, mais surtout beau-coup de pièces de cinq sols dont il se fit un grand commerce dans le Levant et des sequins d'or au coin de saint Marc. Les Vénitiens s'en plaignirent hautement; mais la souveraine de Dombes leur répondit que saint Marc était le patron de Trévoux comme il l'est de Venise. The name FRANC was used to preserve the resemblance to the Venetian coins, on none of which the name Marie appears, and was probably specifically intended to recall the ducats of Francesco Erizzo (1631–46), FRANC (iae) PRINC (eps or essa) being not very remote from FRANC.ERIZZO. 33 ]

Of the same period are the ducats issued in 1650–72 and 1679–86 by William Henry, Prince of Orange and later William III of England (Plate VIII, 6),bearing for obverse inscription GVIL.HENR.D on the right, and on the left, reading vertically upwards, GPRAV.E.S. The reverse legend reads SOLI.DEO.HONOR.SIT.GLORIA. 34 These, like the ducats of Dombes, were issued for the Levant trade. In both of these ducats a V of the obverse inscription is arranged to fall in the position of the V in the S. M. VENETI of the prototype, so that on casual inspection the piece would appear to be a Venetian ducat.

The last European ducat imitation to be noted is of peculiar interest because it was issued in Florence, whose florin was for centuries the chief rival of the Venetian ducat. It was not an official issue, but was put out in 1805 as a commercial venture for use in the Levant. It bears on the obverse a standing saint and a kneeling bishop holding a crozier; the inscription is S. M. FLOR. D. ZEN. E.P.F. (i. e. Divus Zenobio episcopus Florentiae). To the left of the crozier, reading vertically downwards, is AL∀X. On the reverse, surrounding the figure of St. John in a mandorla, is the inscription S. IOAN. BAPT. F. ZACHAR (Plate VIII, 7). [These ducats, which were known as Zenobini or Zanobini, were struck at the Tuscan mint for a banker named Cesare Lampronti, and were made deliberately crude in style so as to resemble more closely the last coinages of Lodovico Manin. The venture was not a success and many of the coins were withdrawn and remelted, which accounts for their present rarity. 35 There exists another version, of much better style and without the meaningless AL∀X, but this bears every mark of being a modern forgery put out to deceive collectors (Plate VIII, 8).]

End Notes

CNI, III, 258, no. 1.
First published by N. Papadopoli, "Monete italiane inedite della Raccolta Papadopoli," Rivista italiana di numismatica, XXVI (1913), 81–2, and reproduced in CNI, IV, 355, no. 125. The coin is now in the Correr Museum at Venice (no. 4049).
CNI, I, 48–9, nos. 1–8.
The attribution is discussed in an excellent article by P. Mantellier, "Sequins frappés à Trévoux," RN, 2nd series, II (1857), 264–79, from which the quotation of Boucher d'Argis cited above is taken. Trévoux was the mint of Dombes. Mantellier's conclusions are summarized in F. Poey d'Avant, Monnaies féodales de France (Paris, 1862), III, 96–7. Arnold Morel-Fatio, "Les sequins fabriqués par les princes de Dombes à Trévoux," RN, 2nd series, X (1865), 199–204, subsequently argued that the coins should be assigned to Anne Marie Louise's predecessor Gaston (1627–50), on the ground that he was Francesco Erizzo's contemporary, but this is not sufficient proof, and we have documentary evidence for Anne Marie Louise's interest in the affair. Morel-Fatio does, however, publish a uniface copper piece of Venetian ducat style, perhaps a pattern for such a coinage of Gaston, with the legend DVX.G.DOM S.M. TREVO.
N. Papadopoli, "Imitazione dello zecchino veneziano fatta da Guglielmo Enrico d'Orange (1650–1702),'' Riv. Ital. Num., XXIII (1910), 333–40. The existence of the coin had been known to Poey d'Avant (II, 410), but only on the authority of Duby, who in turn relied on the description of a specimen in the imperial collection at Vienna in Johann Friedrich Joachim, Das neueröfnete Münzcabinet, III (Nürnberg, 1770), 36–8.
The best account is that of Guido Ciabatti in a ten-page pamphlet published at Florence in 1865 and entitled Illustrazione delb zecchino detto Zanobino (moneta inedita). Ciabatti made inquiries about it at the mint and discovered the original dies used for striking the coins; he illustrates a wax impression made from them. He was mistaken, however, in supposing the coin to be unpublished. A specimen in the Reichel collection, now in the Hermitage, was described in Die Reichelsche Münzsammlung in St. Petersbourg, IX (St. Petersburg, 1843), 466, no. 2, and one in some Italian collection was illustrated in [Giuseppe Grimaldo], Numismata Veneta(Venice, 1859), under Doge XLVIII, while the origins and nature of the piece had been briefly described by J. G. Pfister, "On an unedited gold coin of Florence, struck in 1805, which was called "Il Zecchino di San Zenobio," Numismatic Chronicle, XVI (1853–4), 77–80. There was a specimen of the coin in the Ruchat sale, Part II (Rome: Santamaria, 13 June 1921), no. 1266.


The longest series of ducats of Venetian type, next to the series of Venice itself, was issued by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, continuing from the middle of the fourteenth to nearly the middle of the eighteenth century. This series is not continuous, for ducats were not coined, or at least have not been recovered, for about a third of the Grand Masters. Rather considerable deviations of design from the Venetian prototype are found in the series, but on the whole they are close copies of the current coins of Venice.

On Plates IX-X the complete list of Grand Masters is given, with asterisks to indicate those who are known to have struck ducats. Representative coins of all the main types are shown to the right.


The first gold ducat was struck by Dieudonné de Gozon (1346–53), with the obverse of the Venetian type: the Grand Master kneeling, receiving a banner from the hands of St. John the Baptist. The reverse has the distinctive design of an angel seated on the tomb of Christ. The obverse legends are S. IOhES.B vertically downwards on the left, MGR (Magister) vertically downwards in the center, and F(rater) DEODAT downwards on the right. The reverse legend is +hOSPITALIS QVENT.RODI, the Q being an abbreviation mark for con, so that QVENT stands for conventus. This type was also struck by the next Master, Pierre de Cornillan (1354–55).

The next appearance of the ducat is under Antoine Fluvian (1421–37), who issued extremely close imitations of the Venetian coin, with the inscription S.M.VENET and DVX, differing only in the name of the "doge," F.ANTONIVS. These pieces were protested by Venice, and the Grand Master issued a second series on which the reference to St. Mark and Venice was replaced by one to St. John the Baptist and MRO was sometimes substituted for DVX. The next ducats known, those of Jacques de Milly (1454–61), followed essentially the same pattern, with the reverse of the Venetian ducat, and on the obverse the kneeling Grand Master, bareheaded, with the cross of the Order on the shoulder of his robe, and the name of St. John instead of St. Mark.

The ducats of the last six Grand Masters at Rhodes, from Jean Ursino (1467–76) to Philippe Villiers de l'Isle d'Adam (1521–22), are close copies of the Venetian ducat (including the doge's cap), differing only in the obverse inscription. This has F(rater) and the Master's name on the right, S. IOhANIS to the left, and, in place of DVX alongside the staff, M.P. (magister Petrus) or another Master's initial. The introduction of the exergual line at about 1500 in the Venetian ducat is reflected in the ducat of Emery d'Amboise (1503–12).

End Notes

The two chief works are Gustave Schlumberger, Numismatique de l'Orient latin (Paris, 1878), 214–68, and Supplément (1882), 14–15, 21–22, and Baron Edouard Henri Furse, Mémoires numismatiques de l'Ordre souverain de saint Jean de Jérusalem, 2nd ed. (Rome, 1889). It is often necessary to refer to the older monographs of Julius Friedlaender, Die Münzen des Johanniter-Ordens auf Rhodus, 1309 bis 1522 (Berlin, 1843), and the work of Lambros referred to above, p. 8, n. 17. An essential study of the earliest ducats is Nicolò Papadopoli, "I primi zecchini dei Gran Maestri dell'Ordine di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme," Procès-Verbaux et Mémoires du Congres International de Numismatique, Bruxelles, 1910, 349–58.


The coinage of ducats by the Knights of St. John, interrupted by the expulsion of the Order from Rhodes in 1522,was resumed at Malta after 1534with pieces still closely copying the contemporary Venetian designs. Certain changes, however, were made at this time, to continue for nearly a century. The obverse inscription no longer mentions St. John, but gives the name of the Grand Master in full, around the circumference of the coin. In the case of one ruler, Jean d'Homèdes (1536–53), the date appears beneath the exergual line. The reverse design is still Christ surrounded by stars in a mandorla, but the inscription is changed to DA •MIHI•VIRTVTEM•CONTRA•HOSTES•TVOS.

Early in the seventeenth century, with Antoine de Paule (1623–36), the kneeling Grand Master again begins to be represented bare-headed, and St. John is depicted in a short skirt.

At the end of the seventeenth century a major change of design was introduced with the abandonment of the figure of Christ on the reverse in favor of the arms of the Grand Master, and the date reappears. Under the two Grand Masters issuing these pieces, Grégoire Caraffa (1680–90) and Adrien de Wignacourt (1690–97), there were also struck four-ducat pieces of the same general style (Plate I, 2), on which, however, the kneeling figure on the obverse is no longer robed, but appears in contemporary costume.

Under the last three rulers who issued ducats of the Venetian type (1697–1736) the obverse figures are again changed. St. John appears in a tattered costume, the Grand Master in ornamental knee-breeches, and the staff carries a large flag bearing a cross. The inscription is VINCES PIETATE. On the reverse appear the arms of the Grand Master with his name and title.

This series ended in 1725. After it the ducat continued for a time as a monetary denomination, but with the portrait of the Grand Master on the obverse, thus losing all resemblance to the Venetian coin so long imitated.

End Notes

The chief authorities are the book by Furse, cited in the preceding note, and H. Calleja Schembri, Coins and medals of the Knights of Malta (London, 1908).


Concurrently with the coinage of ducats by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem and with the wide circulation of the Venetian ducat in the Latin kingdoms and principalities of the eastern Mediterranean, there occurred a number of imitative coinages in that region. The ducats in this category are all close imitations of the Venetian type, with the substitution of local rulers' names for those of the doges and other saints for St. Mark. They are frequently of base gold and crude workmanship.

The most complete series of these pieces was issued on the island of Chios, 38 under Genoa, starting with the coinage of Tommaso di Campofregoso (1415–21), which bears the obverse inscription T.DVX.IANVE and S. LAVRET (Plate XI, 1). 39 The figures of the saint and duke on the obverse, and of Christ on the reverse, with the usual reverse legend Sit tibi Christe, etc., are closely copied from the contemporary Venetian coins.

Following the reign of Tommaso di Campofregoso, Chios, together with Genoa, came under the rule of Milan, and the gold ducats of 1421–36 (Plate XI, 2) have the inscription D(ux). MEDIOLANI for Filippo Maria Visconti, duke of Milan, and the saint is S.PETRVS. 40 After 1436until 1443 Tommaso di Campofregoso again coined ducats, and the series is continued by five Campofregosi until 1458, with a return to St. Laurence as the patron saint. In this period the staff for the standard commonly rests on a large S for Sius, one of the ways in which the name of the island was spelled (Plate XI, 3). The last of this series is a ducat issued in 1458–61 by Charles VII of France during his rule at Genoa, with CLI in place of DVX alongside the standard, and COMVN.IAN and S. LAVRETI for inscription (Plate XI, 4). [The initial L of Laureti is written like a V to recall the word Veneti.]

To be included in the Chios series also are the ducats issued by Venice under the doge Leonardo Loredan (1501–21) which were known as Scioti and were intended for the Levant (Plate XI, 5) 41 . They are of rather crude workmanship, with the obverse inscription entirely encircling the figures.

In this same general category are the ducats coined for the island of Mytilene by its rulers, the Gattilusi, between 1376 and 1462, with the ruler's name and D. METELI[NI] (Plate XII, 2–3). 42 Still farther east are to be noted the ducats of Foglia Vecchia (Phocaea) on the mainland of Asia Minor, issued by Dorino Gattilusio (Plate XII, 4), with the inscription D.FOLIE. 43 Most easterly of all are the ducats of Chiote type struck by Filippo Maria Visconti and Tommaso di Campofregoso for Pera, the Genoese quarter of Constantinople. 44 They have a large P at the base of the staff, taking the place of the S on the ducats of Chios.

In the series of eastern Mediterranean ducats must also be included certain close copies of the ducat of Andrea Dandolo (1344–54), with blundered lettering and with a K or KO at the feet of the figure of Christ on the reverse (Plate XII, 1). These have been attributed to Robert of Anjou, duke of Achaia (1346–64), and if this is correct they were presumably struck at Chiarenza. 45

End Notes

The best accounts of the ducats of Chios are in Schlumberger, op. cit., 418–23, and Supplément (1882), 17–18, and Paul Lambros (Lampros), Μεσαιωνικά νομίσματα τῶν δυνάστων τῆς Χίου (Athens, 1886). The older monograph of Domenico Promis, La zecca di Scio durante il dominio deiGenovesi (Turin, 1865), is still of use. The two articles by Gnecchi in the Rivista italiana di numismatica for 1882 do not touch on the ducats.
Lambros and Schlumberger, probably with justice, attribute to Chios a number of the blundered imitations of Venetian ducats of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries of the types discussed below, pp. 25–8
A specimen of the coin in the imperial collection at Vienna was published by Alfred Nagl, "Ueber eine Mailänder Goldmünze nach dem Typus des Venetianer Dukatens," Numismatische Zeitschrift, XXIII (1891), 181–90. He attributed it to Milan itself, and supposed it to have been struck to commemorate the bestowal of the title of duke on Gian Galeazzo Visconti in 1395. F. Schweitzer, who had published it earlier ("Zecchino di tipo veneto dell'arcivescovo Giovanni Visconti, signore di Milano (1349–54)" in his Notizie -peregrine di numismatica e d'archeologia, III (Trieste, 1856), 65–70), had equally incorrectly attributed it to Giovanni Visconti.
The name scioti and the design are known from a Venetian exchange table of 1543 reproduced in Papadopoli, Monete di Venezia, II, facing p. 178. There was a specimen of the coin in the Biblioteca Reale at Turin (Papadopoli, op. cit., II, 179) as well as the one illustrated here.
Schlumberger, op cit., pp. 432–46 (by Lambros); Supplément, pp. 18–19.
Ibid., pp. 442, 445–6. P. Lambros in his Ἀνέκδοτα νομίσματα καί μολυβδόβουλλα τῶν κατά τούς μέσους αỉώνας δυνάστων τῆς Ἑλλάδος (Athens, 1880), 66–73 publishes two further imitation ducats which in his view contained the names of Andreolo and Domenico Cattaneo. They are reproduced in Schlumberger, Suppl., pl. XXI, 16, 18; cf. p. 19. In my view the legends are merely blundered and the attributions quite uncertain.
Schlumberger, op. cit., pp. 447–54. It is largely a summary of P. Lambros, Ἀνέκδοτα νομίσματα κοπέντα ἐν Πέραν ὑπò τῆς αὐτόθι ἀποικίας τῶν Γενουησίων (Athens, 1872). In his Supplément, 22, Schlumberger notes the acquisition of a further specimen by Lambros.
Schlumberger, op. cit., pp. 320–1. There is a long series of them in the Papadopoli collection, now in the Museo Correr at Venice; see Castellani, op. cit. (above p. 5, n. 11), nos. 16216–32. For one struck in silver, see below, p. 26 and Pl. XIII, 2. The attribution to Robert of Anjou was made by P. Lambros in his Ἀνέκδοτα νομίσματα κοπέντα ἐν Γλαρέντσα κατὰ μίμησιν τῶν Ἐνετικῶν ὑπὸ Ροβέρτου τοῦ ἐξ Ἀνδηγαυῶν ἡγεμόνος τῆς Πελοποννήσου, 1346–1364 (Athens, 1876). It is certain that the Greek workmen who made these coins often substituted K for R, a letter which did not exist in their alphabet; cf. ANDK for ANDR on the obverse of many of these coins. Nevertheless the attributions seem to me rather hazardous, and Papadopoli apparently did not accept them.


The Venetian ducat circulated widely in the eastern Mediterranean or Levant; this we know from the written records, 46 and it is confirmed by the frequent occurrence of ducats with a Turkish counterstamp (Plate V, 1) meaning "standard" or "genuine." 47 In addition to the Venetian and other "official" issues of Rhodes, Malta, Chios, etc., there was a very wide circulation of imitations, often of poor workmanship, with jumbled or illegible inscriptions, of metal of varying degrees of baseness. These can only be attributed to a place of origin if their provenance happens to be known; usually they are merely described as "Levantine imitations." A few selected specimens are shown in Plate XIII, which together with the impressions from dies described in Sec- tion VIII and shown on Plate XVI will serve to illustrate the whole series.

[The first and second specimens are imitations of ducats of Andrea Dandolo (1344–54), the legends in both cases being perfectly recognizable. The first of the two is of the same size and style as the original, and clearly a contemporary imitation. They are fairly common, 48 and it is probable that one of their chief centers of manufacture was in Chios. The second coin, which belongs to the class ascribed conjecturally to Robert of Anjou, is of silver and of good style, though the legend is badly blundered. It was no doubt originally gilded, and the spread fabric, which makes it decidedly larger than the normal ducat, was necessary in order to bring it up to full ducat weight.]

The third specimen is typical of very large numbers with semi-legible inscriptions cut by illiterate engravers. In this case the character of the doge's cap, the occurrence of the exergual line, and the nimbus of Christ projecting beyond the oval, date the prototype as of about 1500, but the doge's name cannot be deciphered or identified with any doge of this period. Other specimens of this kind can be identified by their more legible inscriptions as copies of doges through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 49

The fourth specimen is of extreme crudity in the rendering of the figures, and the inscription can be recognized as a bungled PAVL.RAINER (1779–89). [No. 5 is an imitation of some unidentifiable eighteenth century doge, but its aberrent weight (2.95 g.) makes one suspect that it is a trinket made by a jeweller and was not intended as a coin at all.

No. 6 is a nineteenth century imitation of a ducat of the last doge, Lodovico Manin (1789–97). The counterstamp is of a type which during the past half-century has, at least in theory, been placed on all gold objects passing through the hands of goldsmiths in Egypt. It has three panels: the left one contains the fineness, the center one the name of King Faruk, and the third Roman or Arabic letters indicating the date. The more usual occupant of the central panel is an ibis, the international goldsmith's symbol for Egypt. In this particular case the fineness is 21 carats and the date letter is ̡, which represents a period running from 11 February 1951 to 8 January 1953. 50

The last two coins illustrated belong to a different class. No. 7 is an imitation ducat of Marino Falier (1354–5). This doge ruled for only seven months, and his short reign makes his ducats among the rarest in the Venetian series. It is in the highest degree improbable that they would have been imitated in the Levant, and it seems likely that this piece is a crude modern forgery produced with the interests of the collector in mind. 51 ]

The final specimen, No. 8, is of peculiar interest in the domain of imitations, because it copies not one current gold piece but two. It is of base gold and scyphate, like the later Byzantine nomismata, and the obverse type is that of two standing figures clearly derived from Byzantine models; the figures in fact closely resemble those appearing on the coins of such twelfth century sovereigns as Manuel I (1143–80) and Isaac II (1185–1204). The inscription is Greek in appearance, but quite meaningless. The reverse type is the figure of Christ in a mandorla, surrounded by stars, with a blundered inscription. From the fact that the stars completely surround the figure, it is evident that the prototype for this coin was of the seventeenth century or later. [The piece came from Cyprus, and its abnormal type and weight (3.75 g.) suggest that it is a jeweller's ornament and not a coin.]

End Notes

For many later medieval records, see the article by Raugé van Gennep cited above, p. 3, n. 7. One of his most striking instances is that of an Arab historian of the fifteenth century giving the price of wheat at Mecca in terms of Venetian ducats. I know of no collection of material dealing with later centuries, but all contemporary accounts of the Ottomans remark on their importance. Much information on their circulation in Persia will be found in the work of Rabino di Borgomale, cited above, p. 3, n. 8. They were the chief form in which foreign gold entered Persia (pp. 3,38), and had a premium over other gold coins since they were bought up by money-changers to sell to travelers to Mecca or India (p. 42), as their international reputation made them acceptable everywhere.
Paul Bordeaux, "Les sequins venitiens contremarqués de caractères arabes," Riv. ital. num., XXIII (1910), 119–26. This particular countermark is found on ducats ranging from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth century, and appears to have been imposed on coins entering Asia Minor in the early eighteenth century from the newly conquered provinces of Greece and the Morea.
See Schlumberger, op. cit., 497 and Pl. XIX, 25–26, and Supplément, 21 and Pl. XXI, 19–22, for illustrations of other specimens. There is a long series in the Papadopoli collection (Castellani, nos. 16197–16215). The coins assigned to Robert of Anjou (above, p. 24) really belong to the same class.
See Castellani, op. cit., nos. 16086–94 (14th–15th century imitations attributed to Chios), 16233–70 (14th–18th century imitations), 16275–81 (imitations in copper).
I owe this information to Dr. George C. Miles, who will shortly contribute a study of these counterstamps to Museum Notes.
There are other forgeries of the rare coins of this doge. See Castellani, op. cit., no. 16544 for a specimen of an otherwise unknown denaro scodellato, and a copper piece published by Philip Grierson, "Deux fausses monnaies vénitiennes du moyen âge, "Schweitzer Münzblätter, IV (1954), 86–90.


Venetian ducats, "checkens," "checkeens," chequeens," 52 played a prominent role in the commerce of Europe with India. References to the occurrence of Venetian ducats in India occur as early as the fifteenth century, [and the Portuguese discoverers found them in use at Calicut and in the treasury of the king of Ceylon. A late fourteenth century hoard of 448 gold coins found at Broach (near Bombay) in 1882 included 34 Venetian ducats, and smaller finds of later centuries have been recorded elsewhere in India and as far afield as Ceylon. The coins seem to have been especially common in the Malabar region, on the west coast, and are frequently referred to in commercial records down to the early nineteenth century. 53 They were known in southern India as śāṇārak- kāśu, "the coin of the śāṇār," the śāṇār being a toddy-drawer, a person whose profession it is to climb the palm trees and draw off the sap from which toddy is made. It has been supposed that the figures of either St. Mark or the doge were mistaken for a śāṇār, the staff between them being the palm-tree, but this is scarcely likely. An alternative explanation is that the word comes from Venetiano; the dropping of the unaccented first part of the word would leave something like shano, and the assimilation of this to śāṇār would provide an obvious popular etymology. 54 ]

Imitations are found of all degrees of degradation of inscriptions and of quality of metal. It is difficult in many cases, without knowledge of provenance, to differentiate these copies from the "Levantine" imitations, 55 but in some instances the types take on a distinctively Hindu character which makes the attribution to India unquestionable. A few selected specimens are shown on Plate XIV.

Attention may be called to the transformation of the staff bearing banner or cross into a staff or tree with trident-like top; to the appearance of a floral pattern at the feet of the figures, which Aravamuthan identifies as a lotus in bloom; and to the transformation of the figures into Hindu deities. This transformation is shown most completely in Nos. 6 and 7, where the standing figures on the obverse are the Hindu deities Rama and Sita and the reverse figure their devotee Lakshmana. 56 The obverse inscription of No. 6 is a recognizable rendering of ALOY.MOCEN S.M.VENET. In the last piece, No. 7, although the workmanship is excellent in the figures of the deities, the inscription is a mere jumble of pseudo letters. The place of issue of these pieces is unknown.

It is probable that many of these pieces were made not for currency but to be used in necklaces or other jewelery, where their broad flan was more acceptable than the small thick native Indian gold coins. [Oliver Codrington, who described the Broach hoard alluded to above, wrote of Bombay in 1882 that "the sequin still holds its own as the favorite coin for ornaments in this part of India" and declared that "they are still made in quantities in the city, a thin piece of gold being hammered between rudely cut coin dies of the shape of hammer beads." 57 In Travancore such necklaces were much worn by the Syrian Christians, who prized them as religious medals. 58 ]

End Notes

For variant spellings, see the Oxford English Dictionary, s. v. "chequeen." It comes from It. zecchino, an alternative word for the Venetian ducat, and appears in English in the late sixteenth century; it has only recently been driven out by the form sequin, imported from France. Zecchino in turn derives from It. zecca, "mint," from Arab. sikka, originally a die used in coining but by transference the mint where the work was done. Cf. such terms as "sikka" rupees, common in the literature of the East India Company, meaning newly minted coins fresh from the dies. Zecca is sometimes supposed to be connected with Giudecca, the quarter of Venice where the mint was situated, but this is unlikely; Giudecca is traditionally supposed to mean "ghetto," from giudeo, "Jew."
See T. G. Aravamuthan, Catalogue of Venetian coins in the Madras Government Museum (Bulletin of the Madras Govt. Museum. New Series, General Section, vol. III, Pt. 3, Madras, 1938). Only 15 coins, one of them an imitation, are in the museum, but the publication is of the greatest value for its collection of references to ducats and its information on commercial relations between Europe and India.
So Aravamuthan, op. cit., 6–7.
Nos. 1 and 2 on Plate XIV may well be Levantine, not Indian, since No. 2, which is of silver, was procured in the Levant.
Pp. 4–6. Aravamuthan illustrates such a piece, one of eight in the possession of a Cawnpore family which had owned them for several generations.
Quoted by Aravamuthan, op. cit., p. 4.
Aravamuthan, loc. cit. The Portuguese colony of Goa had the reputation of being a prolific source of these trinkets. See R. H. C. Tuffnell, Coins of southern India: hints for coin collectors (New York, 1890), 34–5.


The design of the Venetian gold ducat is clearly recognizable in certain gilt copper pieces frequently found either isolated or as ring-mounted charms in the Levant. Two such pieces are shown on Plate XV, 1, 2. They are well struck, of good workmanship, but both figures and inscriptions are mere caricatures of the originals. On the obverse the central staff and exergual line are prominent; the figures of St. Mark and the doge are represented by plant- or flower-like ghosts of human figures. The inscription is image MEI, which is obviously a degraded ALOY.MOCEN S.M. VENETI; alongside the staff are the letters OCY. On the reverse the figure of Christ in the pointed oval has become a device resembling an inverted anchor; the inscription is •DIOESIMIVOϽ AИIV∃OATOV, in perfectly clear well-cut letters, defying interpretation. 59

A later and apparently final form of these tokens has the same obverse and reverse type and the same obverse legend, but with the reverse legend altered to JOANNES.ILLE. COQVVS. SUI. FILIIQUE (Plate XV, 3,4). These tokens, which are of two sizes and are usually gilt, are reputed to have been struck by London merchants named John Cook and Sons in the nineteenth century for the East African trade.

With these shoddy tokens the long line of ducats, which flourished for over five hundred years as a "universal" coinage of high esteem, comes to an end.

End Notes

A specimen of this piece illustrated by C. F. Keary ("The Morphology of Coins," NC, 3rd series, VI (1886), p. 81 and Pl. V, 100) is attributed to north Africa, but a Levantine origin is more probable.


Interesting evidence regarding the places of origin of ducat imitations is furnished by dies which have been discovered and recorded from time to time. The first to be noted is a die described in the Indian Antiquary for 1873. 60 This die, which is of bronze, was found at Umreth, a town in the Kaira Zilla, north of Bombay, and after cleaning yielded the inked impression shown on Plate XVI, 1. The figures are fairly close copies of the standard Venetian type; the inscriptions are blundered, but that of the obverse is recognizable as one of the doges named Alvise Mocenigo. The date of fabrication of the die is not known, but, from the name of the doge it must be of the eighteenth or nineteenth century.

The second die is described and illustrated in the Numismatic Chronicle for 1952, 61 and an impression from it is shown on Plate XVI, 2. In this the figures are of poor workmanship and the inscriptions somewhat blundered, but recognizable as those of Lodovico Manin, the last doge of Venice. The die was found in the region of the Persian Gulf.

The third die to be noted is in the possession of the American Numismatic Society, which secured it from a visitor who bought it in the bazaar at Damascus. The die, of bronze, is illustrated on Plate XVI, 3 and an impression from it is shown on Plate XVI, 4.The figures are of neat but barbaric workmanship; the inscriptions are meaningless, but obviously blundered from those of a ducat of Paolo Renier (1779–89). The similarity of this impression to certain of the imitations shown in Plate XIII is quite close.

[These three dies are of the traditional medieval type, being simply bars or blocks of metal which in striking would be aligned by the eye of the workman without further mechanical aid. Two more elaborate pairs of dies are known to exist. One of them, found in Crete and now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, was published and illustrated by Philip Grierson in 1952. 62 It consists of two blocks of iron into which steel dies had been fitted. The blocks were held in place, when a coin was being struck, by projecting iron pegs on the upper block fitting into corresponding holes in the lower one. In view of the good style of the coins which these dies would have produced, Mr. Grierson concluded that they were genuine instruments of the Venetian mint and were used for striking ducats of Alvise IVMocenigo (1763–78). This opinion must be discarded, for a similar pair of dies is in the possession of Signor Tommaso Bertelè of Rome, who obtained it in the bazaar at Istanbul and sent a description and cast to Mr. Grierson for publication (Plate XVI, 5). This pair of dies, which would strike ducats of the same doge, is of a slightly different pattern from the ones found in Crete, having four pegs instead of two, but was clearly intended to be used in the same way.]

End Notes

J. Burgess, "Discovery of dies," Indian Antiquary, II (1873), 213–14. The pair of dies was seized by the police in the house of a suspected receiver of stolen property, and was accompanied by another for striking counterfeit gold coins in the name of Shah Alam. The article notes the existence of a forged die in the Calcutta Mint museum used for making ducats of Giovanni III Corner (1709–22), and of a genuine (?) one for ducats of Lodovico Manin.
R. A. G. Carson, "Dies for an imitation zecchino," NC, 6th series, XII (1952), 113–14.
"Pegged Venetian coin dies," Ibid., 99–105.



The coins are ducats, and are in the ANS (Ives collection) unless the contrary is stated. In a few cases I have failed to trace the source of Dr. Ives' illustrations.

  • I. 1. Venice. Giovanni III Corner (1709–22). Ten-ducat piece. 34.85 g.
  • 2. Rhodes. Adrien de Wignacourt (1690–97). Four-ducat piece. 13.82 g.
  • II. 1. Venice. Giovanni Dandolo (1280–89). 3.50 g.
  • 2. Venice. Andrea Dandolo (1344–54). 3.50 g.
  • III. 1. Venice. Antonio Venier (1382–1400). 3.52 g.
  • 2. Venice. Andrea Vendramin (1476–78). 3.45 g.
  • IV. 1. Venice. Leonardo Loredan (1501–21). 3.49 g.
  • 2. Venice. Marcantonio Trevisan (1553–54). 3.50 g.
  • V. 1. Venice. Pasquale Cicogna (1585–95). 3.49 g. With Arabic counterstamp image ṣaḥīḥ, "genuine."
  • 2. Venice. Carlo Contarini (1655–56). 3.45 g.
  • VI. 1. Venice. Francesco Morosini (1688–94). 3.46 g.
  • 2. Venice. Emperor Francis II (1797–1805). 3.46 g.
  • VII. 1. Rome. Senate. ANS (Scoville bequest). 3.51 g.
  • 2. Rome. Senate. 3.49 g.
  • 3. Rome. Senate. 3.50 g.
  • 4. Rome. Senate. (with Condulmerio shield). 3.50 g.
  • VIII. 1. Genoa. Mid 16th century. CNI, III, pl. X, 12 (former King of Italy's coll.). 3.40 g.
  • 2. Mantua. Ferdinand IV Gonzaga (1612–26). Venice, Museo Correr (Race. Papadopoli, No. 4049). 3.78 g. (silver).
  • 3. Savoy. Amadeus VIII (1416–39). CNI, I, pl. IV, 17 (former King of Italy's Coll.). 3.50 g.
  • 4. Rome. Paul II (1464–71). ANS (Scoville bequest). 3.48 g.
  • 5. Dombes. Anne Marie Louise de Montpensier (1650–93). 3.41 g.
  • 6. Orange. William Henry (1650–72, 1679–86). 3.35 g.
  • 7. Florence. 1805. 3.45 g.
  • 8. Florence. Forgery of 1805 piece. British Museum. 3.49 g.
  • IX. A. Rhodes. Dieudonné de Gozon (1346–53). Venice, Museo Correr (Racc. Papadopoli, No. 15643). 3.51 g.
  • B. Rhodes. Antoine Fluvian (1421–37). Furse, p. 76 (from former King of Italy's Coll.).
  • C. Rhodes. Jacques de Milly (1454–61). Not located.
  • D. Rhodes. Pierre d'Aubusson (1476–1503). 3.50 g.
  • E. Rhodes. Émery d'Amboise (1503–12). 3.46 g.
  • X. A. Malta. Jean d'Homèdes (1536–53). 3.40 g.
  • B. Malta. Alofius de Wignacourt (1601–22). ANS (Scoville bequest). 3.37 g.
  • C. Malta. Antoine de Paule (1623–36). British Museum. 3.35 g.
  • D. Malta. Adrien de Wignacourt (1690–97). 3.45 g.
  • E. Malta. Antoine Manoël de Vilhena (1722–36). 3.42 g.
  • XI. 1. Chios. Tommaso di Campofregoso (1415–21). 2.2 g. (sic.) Base gold.
  • 2. Chios. Filippo Maria Visconti (1421–36). 3.47 g. Base gold.
  • 3. Chios. Pietro di Campofregoso (1450–58). Gnecchi sale cat., Part III (Frankfurt; Hamburger, 12 January 1903), no. 5134.
  • 4. Chios. Charles VII of France (1458–61). Ibid., no. 5135.
  • 5. Chios. Leonardo Loredan, doge of Venice (1501–21). Martini sale cat., Part I (Lugano: R. Ratto, 30 January 1929), no. 830.
  • XII. 1. (?) Achaia. Robert of Anjou (1346–64). Schlumberger, pl. XII, 34.
  • 2. Mytilene. Giacomo Gattilusio (1376–96). Ruchat sale cat., Part I (Rome: Santamaria, 13 June 1921), no. 756.
  • 3. Mytilene. Dorino Gattilusio (1400–49). Schlumberger, pl. XVI, 26.
  • 4. Foglia Vecchia. Dorino Gattilusio (1400–49). Ibid., pl. XVII, 6.
  • 5. Pera. Filippo Maria Visconti, duke of Milan (1421–36). Ibid., pl. XVII, 21.
  • 6. Pera. Tommaso di Campofregoso, doge of Genoa (1436–42). Ibid., pl. XVII, 22.
  • XIII. Anonymous Levantine Imitations.
  • 1. 3.47 g.
  • 2. 3.38 g. (silver)
  • 3. 3.35 g.
  • 4. 3.30 g.
  • 5. 2.95 g.
  • 6. 3.47 g.
  • 7. 3.44 g.
  • 8. ANS (from Cyprus). 3.75 g. Very pale gold.
  • XIV. Indian Imitations.
  • 1. BM. 1.86 g.
  • 2. 1.10 g. (silver)
  • 3. Oxford, Ashmolean. 1.91 g.
  • 4. BM. 1.32 g.
  • 5. BM. 2.63 g.
  • 6. 2.6 g.
  • 7. 3.05 g.
  • XV. Gilt Copper Ducat Tokens.
  • 1. 2.89 g.
  • 2. 2.25 g.
  • 3. 2.47 g.
  • 4. 1.55 g.
  • XVI. Dies for Ducat Imitations.
  • 1. Indian Antiquary, II (1873), 213.
  • 2. See NC, 1952, p. 113.
  • 3. ANS.
  • 4. Impression of no. 3.
  • 5. T. Bertelè coll.







Giovanni Dandolo 1280–89

Pietro Gradenigo 1289–1310

Marino Zorzi 1310–11

Giovanni Soranzo 1311–27

Obv. DVX Staff with flag. Flat cap on doge, no exergual line, large circular nimbus on Saint Mark.

Rev. Nine stars irregularly arranged, nimbus and feet project outside oval. DVCAT.



Francesco Dandolo 1328–1339

Bartolomeo Gradenigo 1339–42

Andrea Dandolo 1344–54

Marino Falier 1354–55

Giovanni Gradenigo 1355–56

Giovanni Dolfin 1356–61

Lorenzo Celsi 1361–65

Marco Corner 1365–67

Andrea Contarini 1367–82

Michele Morosini 1382

Rev, 9 stars uniformly arranged, 4 to left, 5 to right. (Some coins of Francesco Dandolo have the stars irregularly arranged, so regularity probably began during his reign.)



Antonio Venier 1382–1400

Michele Steno 1400–13

Tomaso Mocenigo 1413–22

Francesco Foscari 1423–57

Pasquale Malipiero 1457–62

Cristoforo Moro 1462–71

Nicolò Tron 1471–73

Nicolò Marcello 1473–74

Pietro Mocenigo 1474–76

Obv. DV image This type evolves slowly, beginning as a square, placed diamond-wise, with four circular depressions.



Andrea Vendramin 1476–78

Giovanni Mocenigo 1478–85

Marco Barbarigo 1485–86

Agostino Barbarigo 1486–1501

Obv. Pointed cap on doge. On Andrea Vendramin and Marco Barbarigo the legend runs below the kneeling doge.



Leonardo Loredan 1501–21

Antonio Grimani 1521–23

Andrea Gritti 1523–39

Obv. Exergual line under figures.

Rev. Nimbus and feet entirely within oval. 9 or 10 stars, with one above book.



Pietro Lando 1539–45

Francesco Donà 1545–53

Marcantonio Trevisan 1553–54

Francesco Venier 1554–56

Lorenzo Priuli 1556–59

Gerolamo Priuli 1559–67

Pietro Loredan 1567–70

Alvise I Mocenigo 1570–77

Sebastiano Venier 1577–78

Nicolò da Ponte 1578–85

Obv. DVX. Roman lettering, only one hand on staff, small nimbus on Saint. Flag on staff reduced to pennant or absent.

Rev. Small nimbus on Saint. Inscription nearly or completely encircles oval. 12 stars.



Pasquale Cicogna 1585–95

Marino Grimani 1595–1606

Leonardo Donà 1606–12

Marcantonio Memmo 1612–15

Giovanni Bembo 1615–18

Nicolò Donà 1618

Antonio Priuli 1618–23

Francesco Contarini 1623–24

Rev. 15–19 stars, one below figure of Christ.



Giovanni I Corner 1625–29

Nicolò Contarini 1630–31

Francesco Erizzo 1631–46

Francesco Molin 1646–55

Carlo Contarini 1655–56

Francesco Corner 1656

Bertucci Valier 1656–58

Giovanni Pesaro 1658–59

Domenico Contarini 1659–74

Rev. Sixteen stars, with one above and one below figure of Christ. Inscription ends DVCA.



VENETIAN DUCATS, 1675-c. 1840

Nicolò Sagredo 1675–76

Alvise Contarini 1676–84

Marcantonio Giustinian 1684–88

Francesco Morosini 1688–94

Silvestro Valier 1694–1700

Alvise II Mocenigo 1700–09

Giovanni III Corner 1709–22

Alvise III Mocenigo 1722–32

Carlo Ruzzini 1732–35

Alvise Pisani 1735–41

Pietro Grimani 1741–52

Francesco Loredan 1752–62

Marco Foscarini 1762–63

Alvise IV Mocenigo 1763–78

Paolo Renier 1779–89

Lodovico Manin 1789–97

Francis II 1797–1805

Francis I 1815–35

Obv. Staff ends in cross



Ist period


2nd period



3rd period








An asterisk indicates those for whom ducats are known. The letters refer to the types employed.

Hélion de Villeneuve (1319–46)

*Dieudonné de Gozon (1346—53)A

*Pierre de Cornillan (1354–55) A

Roger de Pins (1355–65)

Raymond de Bérenger (1365–74)

Robert de Juilliac (1374–76)

Jean Ferdinand d'Hérédia (1376–96)

Philibert de Naillac (1396–1421)

*Antoine Fluvian (1421–37) B, C

Jean de Lastic (1437–54)

*Jacques de Milly (1454–61) C

Pierre Raymond Zacosta (1461–67)

*Jean Ursino (1467–76) D

*Pierre d'Aubusson (1476–1503) D

*Emery d'Amboise (1503–12) E

Guy de Blanchefort (1512–13)

*Fabrice del Carretto (1513–21) E

*Philippe Villiers de l'lsle d'Adam (1521–34) E

(1521–22 at Rhodes, 1530–34 at Malta)





An asterisk indicates those for whom ducats are known. The letters refer to the types employed.

*Pierre del Ponte (1534–35) A, but without date

Didier de Saint Jaille (1535–36)

*Jean d'Homèdes (1536–53) A

Claude de la Sengle (1553–57)

*Jean de la Vallette-Parisot (1557–68) B

*Pierre del Monte (1568–72) B

*Jean de la Cassière (1572–81) B

*Hugues de Loubenx Verdalla (1582–95) B

*Martin Garzès (1596–1601) B

*Alofius de Wignacourt (1601—22) B

Ludovic Mendez de Vasconcellos (1622–23)

*Antoine de Paule (1623–36) C

*Jean Paul Lascaris-Castellar (1636–57) C

Martin de Redin (1657–60)

Annet de Clermont-Gessan (1660)

Raphael Cotoner (1660—63)

Nicolas Cotoner (1663–80)

*Grégoire Caraffa (1680–90) D

*Adrien de Wignacourt (1690–97) D

*Raymond Perellos y Roccaful (1697–1720) E

*Marc Antoine Zondadari (1720–22) E

*Antoine Manoël de Vilhena (1722–36) E



Tommaso di Campofregoso (1415–21)


Filippo Maria Visconti, duke of Milan (1421–36)


Tommaso di Campofregoso (again, 1436–42)

Raffaele Adorno (1443–47)

Giano di Campofregoso (1447)

Lodovico di Campofregoso (1447–50)

Pietro di Campofregoso (1450–58)


Charles VII of France as lord of Genoa (1458–61)



Leonardo Loredan, doge of Venice (1501–21). Ducat struck for Chios




(?) Robert of Anjou (1346–64)



under the Gattilusi

Giacomo Gattilusio (1376–96)

Francesco II Gattilusio (1396–1400)


Dorino Gattilusio (1400–49)

Domenico Gattilusio (1449—59)

Niccolo Gattilusio (1459–62)


Foglia Vecchia

Dorino Gattilusio of Mytilene (1400–49)



Filippo Maria Visconti duke of Milan (1421–36)



Tommaso de Campofregoso, doge of Genoa (1436–42)