History of the Ducat
The Ducat, unlike many other bullion coins, was a trade coin from its inception. It was first struck in the 1200s, and it continued to see active circulation throughout Europe, not just in Austria, until the 1800s.
While variations of the Ducat were obviously created during that long stretch of time, the coin was consistently roughly 3.5-grams of 98.6% gold; if that seems less pure than the gold bullion options available today, that's due to the refining limitations of precious metals using older methods. However, despite the minuscule drop in purity, the coin is highly valuable, and thanks to its rarity and status as a vintage coin, it has value on top of just its pure gold value.
The Ducat originated in Venice Italy in the mid-1200s; with the first coin bearing a depiction of Jesus Christ on the obverse. As Italy continued to trade across Europe, Ducats, and the silver variant known as Ducatons, became commonplace in much of Europe; including Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, etc. Each of the countries adopted their own preferences with visual depictions on the coins, but they did remain consistent with the gold content and value of the original Venice variant.
However, Spain's development of the Spanish Dollar, and its booming bullion industry in America, overtook the Ducat in the mid-1800s.
That wasn't the end of Ducat history, though. While all of the other mints stopped striking new Ducats, and the coins were pulled from circulation, the Austrian Mint continued striking and circulating, Ducats until 1915.
Even after Austria finally officially stopped striking Ducats, the Austrian Mint has continued to strike limited runs of them to this day specifically to keep the legacy of the Ducat alive and to provide them to collectors and investors from around the world.
Today, Austrian gold Ducats are not as common as they were when they were the main circulation coins across Europe, but they are still readily available at Suisse Gold.
Sizes and Design of the Ducat
The Ducats you're likely to get your hands on today are 100 Corona Ducats, which contain 30.5 grams gold with a purity of 98.6%. Smaller sized Ducats also exist, including 10, 20 and 50 Ducat coins. However, the 1915 Ducats that marked the end of the Ducat's official lifespan, and the privately-struck Ducats made occasionally for investors, all bear the portrait of Kaiser Franz-Joseph; An Austrian Kaiser whose work is still lauded to this day. On the reverse, the Austrian coat of arms can be found.
Austrian Mint Gold Coins
The Austrian Mint produces two of the most sought-after gold coins on the market. First is the 1915 variant of the Ducat. However, more renowned worldwide is the Philharmonic gold coin which is made in commemoration of the orchestra bearing the same name. This coin was designed purely for investment purposese, and it has been continuously struck since 1989.
Investing in Gold Coins
If you would like to add the Ducat or any Austrian gold coin to your bullion collection, Suisse Gold carries a wide range. Payment via bank transfer in over 15 currencies is accepted. Clients may select worldwide delivery or secure vault storage in our Swiss vaults which is VAT-exempt.