Austrian One Ducat Gold Coin
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The original Ducats were actually made back in 1140 for Roger II of Sicily. They were minted with the image of Jesus Christ on them together with a biblical message that can be translate as, "O Christ, let this duchy which you rule be dedicated to you."
In the early 16th century 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.
A trade coin can be defined as one produced by a government, but not acting as legal tender in its country of production. They’re intended for use in overseas purchases, where they carry greater value than the commodity in bar form.
One Ducat and Four Ducat coins were produced every year until 1915, when due to World War One, 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 coin’s obverse side bears the likeness of the Austrian Emperor and King of Hungary, Franz Josef I. 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 Emperor’s brother (Maximilian), the suicide of his son, Rudolph (who was found alongside his mistress), the murder of his wife (Elizabeth), and the assassination of the Emperor’s 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 chose 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. From 1779 the official gold content of the Austrian One Ducat was set at .1106 troy ounces.
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