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5 Cent coin from the Netherlands

Started by ghipszky, January 06, 2022, 11:42:32 PM

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I found this coin and want to know more about it. The coin is 20mm and 3.5gr. The coin is in very good condition.
Thank you,


The history of the design of your coin started some 30 years before it was struck. The Netherlands was nazi-occupied territory. The royal family had fled. Queen Wilhelmina stayed in the UK, while princess Juliana, her successor had moved to Canada. Wilhelmina was a very strong personality. US president Roosevelt said he was "scared to death" by her and Churchill (in more sexist times) called her "the only man in the Dutch government".

Wilhelmina was convinced the Allies would eventually win the second world war. She planned a return to the Netherlands, but not to things as they had been before. She wanted a strong monarchy, able to influence national policy, undoubtedly a reflection of her experience with her war cabinet, which she regarded as a club of weaklings who regularly needed a firm kick in the behind.

In 1945, she could return. The country was a mess. There had been serious loss of life. Both nazi and Allied bombings had destroyed airports, the railway network, big bridges, the port of Rotterdam and the city of Rotterdam. Huge polders were flooded. Canals were blocked by sunken ships. By acting in het typical fast and decisive way, Wilhelmina kept revenge killings and shaming to a minimum, at the price of locking up innocents for a while.

The Dutch gulden had become useless. A fast, painful but necessary reform brought it back to life. New banknotes were issued and new coins were needed. There could be no immediate return to silver and gold coins, so the coins were copper-nickel and bronze. The bronze was an alloy of 0.93-0.95 copper, 0.03-0.04 tin and 0.01-0.025 zinc. Coins of the lower copper content tend to be yellowish, like yours.

The design on the coins was Ludwig Oswald Wenckebach (1895-1962), professor at the Delft technical university, a well-known graphical designer with many other artistic qualifications. Wilhelmina refused to pose for him and had a series of pictures sent instead. Wenckebach produced a series of brilliant designs in 1947. His portrait of Wilhelmina in particular was admired for bringing out her personality. Below is a design in plaster that was not used, perhaps because the phoenix (the country rising from its ashes) was not timeless, so it would have been better suited for a commemorative.

Meanwhile, Wilhelmina's political ideas had met reality. The voters were clear. They wanted to go back to normal and rejected drastic change. Bitterly disappointed and sickly, Wilhelmina abdicated in 1948, presenting Juliana to the Dutch nation in her usual forceful, determined way. Wenckebach's designs were orphaned, but they were the only ones available, so they were issued anyway.

Juliana was a very different queen. She stayed away from governing, cut pomp and "normalised" her family, to the point of insisting that they use the bicycle and picking up the palace phone herself. Wenckebach was asked to do her portrait. Juliana posed patiently in her favourite diamond hair net (it was not again seen afterwards and is considered lost). Perhaps as a tribute to her mother, who she held in very high esteem, the austere value side with - in the case of your coin - the orange branch was retained. The portrait shows the pleasant, unassuming queen at her best. Still, the coins could be issued only from 1950. Until that time, The Wilhelmina design was used with the frozen date 1948.

The first coins of this type were struck when Dr. Van Hengel was master of the Utrecht mint. His name means angling rod. His mark, a fish was a little pun on his name. This set the standard for his successor from 1969, Dr. Van den Brandhof. In Dutch, brand is fire and an important symbol for fire is the cock, with its fiery feathers. Van den Brandhof's cock is to the left of CENT. To the right is the mintmark of the Utrecht mint, a caduceus, symbol of trade and communication.

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


Hi Peter,
Thank you for the great history lesson on what happened after WWII to the Queen. Very interesting. I know a little from reading a few Corrie Ten Boom books and what happened to her. I like the part about the fish. Very sensible of the coin designer to have her in her hairnet, very much a sign for the people to see her like them and in the same position.
So the design of this coin is very special.


Quote from: Figleaf on January 07, 2022, 06:24:43 AMLudwig Oswald Wenckebach (1895-1962), professor at the Delft technical university, a well-known graphical designer with many other artistic qualifications

Somewhat unrelated but maybe still interesting side note: In downtown Rotterdam there is a famous monument ("Monsieur Jacques") which does not really commemorate or honor an individual person but rather a, quote, self-satisfied middle-class man. Some information in English here, better images w/ Dutch text there. That is also one of Wenckebach's works. Love it.  :)


That is really interesting!Such a simple statue, but it says so, so much. I like that Dutch men saw themselves in this pose.
Thank you more information about Holland just after WWII.