Ducat (Italian - ducato, Latin - ducatus) is the name of silver (since 1140 year), and then golden (since 1284 year) coins, which firstly appeared in Italy and later began to release in other European countries.
Beginning of minting of the ducat Edit
Although fine golden coins are usually called ducat, firstly ducat was made of silver.
First ducat (ducal) was made in Sicilia in 1140. On the coin was depicted Christ, and the legend says: Sit tibi Christe datus, quem tu regis iste ducatus. The translation is This duchy, whom you're right, to you, Christ, is dedicated. The later name of the coin, ducat, is originated from last word of the legend (ducatus).
In 1202 in Venice they began to make silver ducats - grosso (matapan) with image of Christ on a throne in the obverse and a doge, taking a flag from the hands of Saint Mark in the reverse.
Finally, in 1284 in Venice was made a golden coin, which was copying Florentine florin, but had a unique appearance - the coin was called sequin.
On the obverse was Christ in a mandorla (Italian - mandorla which is translated as almond. In Christian art it is an oval nimbus (halo), which is framing figure of Christ), and on the reverse is a knelt doge, taking a flag from the hands of Saint Mark. A circular banderole repeats the legend: Sit tibi Christe datus, quem tu regis iste ducatus. Ducat had a weight of 3,5 g and was made of almost solid gold (986 content). Weight and quality of ducat wasn't changed for 700 years.
Spread of the ducat Edit
In Venice ducat was minted until the fall of the republic (1797). Due to stable weight and quality of the coin, it became a prevalence. Ducat was minted in almost all European countries.
In Italy, besides Venice, ducat was minted in Rome, Genoa and Milan. It was minted in Holy Roman Empire, Netherlands, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita), Spain (for its possessions, including Flanders, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and America), Denmark, Sweden, France (for its Italian possessions), Scotland (first minting in 1539; also were minted coins: third of ducat and two-thirds of ducat), Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Russia, later in Romania, Serbia, Czech Republic, and in the east - in Constantinople.
Eventually, ducat replaced florin as a reference gold coin of Europe.
There are known 3 main types of ducat:
1. Hungarian (was minted since 1325) - the coin had an image of Ladislaus I of Hungary.
2. German (firstly minted in Holy Roman Empire in 1511, in 1599 was made as the main coin of Holy Roman Empire) - with an image of a standing governor.
3. Dutch (first minting - 1487 year) - since 1586, when ducat became the main gold coin of the United Provinces, it became an image of a standing warrior with a bunch of arrows in his hand.
There were minted ducat coins from 1/32 ducat to bigger coins, like 100 ducats.
The 1/32 ducat coin was minted by Nuremberg and Regensburg - this is, so called, "lentil ducat" with weight of 0.1 gramm.
Ducat in Poland, Lithuania and Rzeczpospolita Edit
In Poland first ducat was minted in 1320, but then more than 200 years wasn't made in Poland at all.
In 1528 king Sigismund I the Old again minted a golden ducat.
Since then, ducats in Poland and in the whole Rzeczpospolita were minted regularly.
The last ducat, the copy of a "Dutch" ducat, was minted in Poland in 1831, during the revolt.
Ducat in Russia Edit
Since XV century Hungarian ducats became a prevalence in Russia. As a result, people called any golden coin with weight of ducat "Ugric" (Hungarian), even if it was minted in Russia.
В то время на Русь приходили золотые монеты немногих западноевропейских государств, имевших регулярную золотую чеканку. Более тяжёлые английские розенобли (и подражательные розенобли нидерландской чеканки) по находившемуся на них изображению назывались "корабельниками" ("корабельными"), а дукаты, то есть монеты весом около 3,5 г называли "веницейскими", "цесарскими", "угорскими", и т.д.
-- Ivan Spassky, "Russian coin system"
Translation: At that date Rus' recieved golden coins of a few Western European countries with regular golden minting. Heavier English nobles (also imitative nobles, minted by Netherlands) because of their image were called "ships" ("nautical"), and ducats, or coins with weight of 3.5 g were called "Venetian", "Tsesarskaya", "Ugric", and so on.
Transcription: V to vremya na Rus' prihodili zolotiye monety nemnogih zapadnoevropeyskih gosudarstv, imevshih regulyarnuyu zolotuyu chekanku. Bolee tyazhyoliye angliyskiye rozenoblie (i podrazhatel'niye rozenobli niderlandskoy chekanki) po nahodivshemusya na nih izobrazheniyu nazyvalis' "korabelnikami" ("korabel'nymi"), a dukaty, to est' monety vesom okolo tryoh s polovinoy grammov nazyvali "venitseyskimi", "tsesarskimi", "ugorskimi", i tak daleye.
In 1701 Peter the Great made an analogue of ducat - chervonets.
Modern ducats Edit
Germanic countries minted ducat until the creation of the German Empire (1871).
Austro-Hungary minted ducat until 1914.
In 1920-1936 Austria minted coins: 1 and 4 ducats with date "1915".
After WWII in accordance with federal law, from January 1951 to June 1964 Austria minted golden ducats (1 and 4).
In 1923-39 , 1951 and 1978-82 golden coins 1, 2, 5 and 10 ducats were minted by Czechoslovakia in the mint in Kremnica.
Now, minting ducats is still continued by Austria and Netherlands.