West Friesland X stuiver 1786

Started by $and€r, December 21, 2020, 08:54:51 PM

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Just want to share one of my favorit coins in my collection..  :)
I'm born/raised & still live in the West Friesland area..
This coin were struck there 234 years ago..
When i saw this coin for sale, i couldn't resist buying this one..


Congrats! A wonderful coin! These grades are very difficult to find - and to pay.


Actually, this grade is more common for the years just before the Napoleonic occupation. Dutch minters had resisted any form of mechanisation for literally centuries, but in the 1780s they lost their long fight. For a long time, this was explained as hyper-conservatism of the minter guilds, but there is now more understanding that the early machines made nicer coins, but also broke down quite often, halting production. Better technology would have eroded the minter's case.

Still, mechanisation could have been given a push by the local situation: orangists (Prinsgezinden) and republicans (Patriotten) were fighting bitter political battles inspired by the age of enlightenment's new insights. Orangists were basically conservatives on British lines, while republicans sought inspiration in France, where the movement would lead to the French revolution. Minters would, with the exception of the top ranks, be typically republican, while the coin issuers and their top civil servants would rather be orangists. In that situation, mechanisation would be a small republican victory.

The political split, teetering on the edge of a civil war for years, explains why the French occupiers could readily find allies among the Dutch (wasting their goodwill within a year, fatally discrediting the republicans), why William and his court sought and found refuge in Britain, why after the Napoleonic wars, the house of Orange became royal and on which side the Dutch fought at Waterloo.

The coin itself is a nod to legality over profit. VOC legally had a right to mint its own coins, provided they were struck at regular Dutch mints. The coins  had to be marked with the VOC logo so that they could not circulate in the Netherlands. Their tariff was changed. However, at the official tariff, exporting copper coins became profitable for the company, while exporting silver was a loss maker. Due to lobbying of the mints to uphold the letter of the law, small quantities of silver coins were minted in mints with political leverage (Holland lobbied for the three West-Frisian mints). This explains why VOC silver is so hard to find.

Smuggling, in particular of trade coins, provided for a more important flow of coin exports. Still, there was from time to time a need for additional locally made coinage. The VOC always claimed they were emergency issues only.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.