Austrian Ducat (PCGS graded)
The original Ducats were actually made back in 1140 by Roger II of Sicily. These original coins were minted with the image of Jesus Christ on them together with a biblical message which translates to, “O Christ, let this duchy which you rule be dedicated to you.”
Moving on, it wasn’t until the early 16th century that Austria began the production of its own Ducats. Ducats were to be the official legal tender of Austria until 1858, which is when the Austrian Ducat was going to lose its status as legal tender but was saved by the Emperor of Austria. In 1857 he issued a proclamation approving the Ducat for continued production as a trade coin.
Henceforth, these one Ducat coins and the four Ducat coins continued to be produced every year until 1915, when due to WW1 gold coins were no longer produced in Austria. The 1915 coins were restrikes of the 1914 Ducat.
Note: The Austrian Ducat has been re-struck by the Austrian Mint AG from 1920 to 1936 and a few times afterwards but the latest date that will be found on any authentic Austrian Ducat is 1915.
The One Ducat’s and Four Ducat’s obverse sides bear the likeness of the Austrian Emperor and King of Hungary, Franz Josef I, who was the last great monarch of Europe. He became Emperor of Austria in 1848 and ruled over Austria and Hungary for some 70 years, up until his death in 1916. This is the reason the One Ducat bears both names of Austria and Hungary. During his rule history witnessed the execution of the Emperors brother (Maximillian), the suicide of his son, Rudolph (who was found alongside his mistress), the murder of his wife (Elizabeth), and the assassination of the Emperors nephew and heir (Francis Ferdinand), which many people cite as the beginning of World War I.
The reverse side of the One Ducat shows the double-headed imperial eagle of the Hapsburg dynasty. Due to the fact that the Hapsburg emperors believed that they had inherited the Holy Roman Empire (and the rest of the world with that), they designed the double headed eagle. The rationale of this was that the eagle was able to look both east and west at the same time – towards both sides of its now world empire. The double-headed eagle holds a sword and sceptre in its right talon, and a cross-bearing orb in its left.
All Austrian Ducats are minted in almost pure gold of 23.75 carats or a .9860 fineness.
One Ducat coins made from 1598 to 1779 have a gold content of .1109 troy ounces (except 1705 to 1779, when the coins were made of either .1109 or .1106 troy oz of gold). From 1779 the official gold content of the Austrian One Ducat was set at .1106 troy ounces.
The Austrian Four Ducat’s minted before 1830 have a gold content of .4438 troy ounces, and from 1835 forward they have had a gold content of .4430 troy ounces.
The size and color reproduction of the coins shown do not correspond to the actual coins.