The ducat (IPA: /ˈdʌkət/) is a gold coin that was used as a trade currency throughout Europe before World War I. Its weight is 3.4909 grams of .986 gold, which is 0.1107 troy ounce, AGW, actual gold weight.
Template:Coin image box 1 double 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 Template:Bibleverse).
The ducat was introduced by the Republic of Venice in 1284 under the doge Giovanni Dandolo (1280-1289). The Venetian ducat, called zecchino, 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, Italian for "Hungarian", where the trade of the world at this period was concentrated. They did not become popular in Germany until a later date.
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. 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.
The production of ducats as trade coins continued after World War I by some nations, namely Czechoslovakia and The Netherlands. 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.
Nations, states, and cities where the ducat was minted
- Austria The Austrian mint still mints single and four-ducats, both dated 1915.
- Germany many German cities, states and principalities before 1871.
- Hungary The Hungarian mint still mints commemorative coins with 2, 3, 4 and 6-ducats quality.
- The Netherlands issues still golden and silver ducats having the same weight, composite and design when they were first minted in 1589.
- Russia imitated Dutch ducats due to their popularity. Also issued small quantities of Russian design.
- Spain, all through its domains, including Flanders, the Kingdom of Napoli and the Americas.
- Switzerland Before the Swiss unification, the Swiss also minted Ducats. The most well known are the Zurich ducats.
- The name ducat is derived from the Latin for duke.
- The term "ducat" is still used today as slang for a unit of currency (in the lyrics to "I Ain't The One," Ice Cube of the rap group N.W.A rhymes, "He's gettin juiced for his ducats/I tell a girl in a minute yo, I drive a bucket")
- Recent derivations on the slang term "ducat" include event tickets and bus passes.
- Ducats were often used as 'Good Luck' coins or Touch Pieces.
- Ducados was a brand of Spanish cigarettes. The packet sported a stylized drawing of a ducado coin.
- The Brobdingnagian Bards are popular for their song, "If I Had a Million Ducats," which parodies the Barenaked Ladies' song, "If I Had $1000000."