Today two new reviews of the book were published. The author is a well respected literature reviewer and a member of the American Numismatic Association, Michael Marotta.
Gold Ducats of the Netherlands, Vol. 1 by Dariusz F. Jasek, Knight Press, 2015. 345 pages, A4 (11.7 x 8.3 inches) €135 from www.goldducats.com.
Perhaps the most telling hallmark is the fact that this is the book that the author wrote for himself. Fascinated by the long series of gold ducats of the Netherlands, Dariusz Jasek compiled a database of known images and descriptions. He arranged for permission for 3,000 images and supporting text from CoinArchives.com, and he obtain license to another 3,000 from the official database of the recently uncovered Koìice Gold Treasure housed in Krakóv, Poland. To those he added 17,000 from auction houses and other sources. This book rests on a monumental database of over 23,000 known examples.
Among those, inevitably, are counterfeits, some of which were slabbed by American grading companies.
I saw Gold Ducats of the Netherlands by Dariusz F. Jasek mentioned here on CoinTalk. From the sample material provided in the links, the book looked like a quality presentation. So, I bought it in order to review it. I do not collect the series. I have not independently attributed the coins cited. I did spend a weekend reading the text, and catching typographical errors. They are inevitable. In software, we say that every non-trivial program has at least one bug. So, museum’s for museums was not the end of the world. Whatever numismatic errors are in the sylloge may be revealed when I take the book to the ANA National Money Show in Dallas March 1-5 of this year. In the mean time, it is easy to give this book my vote of satisfaction.
In the first place, when opened, the book lays flat. The binding is truly perfect –bound to the highest standards. The illustrations include high quality photographs of every coin (where possible), as well as specially commissioned line art to complement the narrative.
Like every cultural artifact, money exists in a social context. The author places this important series of gold coins in its historical milieu, tied closely – intimately – with the Dutch East India Company: Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, commonly initialized as VOC. This was the first joint-stock corporation, and (perhaps arguably) the first multinational corporation. Even after it was closed by law in 1799, the coins that were so closely associated with it continued – as well they should, as they began a century before the VOC was chartered. The VOC was beset by many problems, internal perhaps more than external. It was a wry comment that VOC was parodied as “perished by corruption”: Vergaan Onder Corruptie.
Whatever corruption touched the Dutch East India Company, since 1586, the ducats were kept consistent in weight and fineness – 3.515 grams and 0.986 fine. Both were lowered slightly in 1817 (3.454 grams and 0.983 fine), but those new metrics have not changed in 200 years. The Netherlands gold ducat was an imitation – a sibling, not a usurper – of the ducats of Venice and Florence. The closest cousin was the gold ducat of Hungary. The coin was struck for official and commemorative agendas from the 16th through the 21st centuries. Those and others are all illustrated and catalogued in this book. At root, while acknowledging the broad latitudes of issuance, this book is about the historically relevant coins of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, including piedforts and klippes. The author brings passion and precision to this remarkable series of coins.