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Dutch Lion Daalders – European Trade Coin, America’s First Dollar

The ideal coin for export and trade

The lion daalder derives its name from its design element depicting a rampant lion. It played a crucial role in world trade during the 16th and 17th centuries. The first Lion Daalders, or ‘leeuwendaalders’, were produced in the province of Holland in 1575 during the Eighty Years War. Although a variety of mints produced Lion Daalders, they are easily distinguishable from one another by their legends, which usually bear the name of the Dutch province where they were made. Another distinguishing factor is the figure of an armored knight, which can often be found holding the coat of arms of the province of manufacture. Dutch merchants and tradesmen such as the Dutch East India Company found it to be the ideal coin for export and trade.

An early American symbol

Lion Daalders saw extensive use in Europe, Africa, The Middle East and even the New World. Then named New Amsterdam, the city of New York was colonized by the Dutch in the early 17th century. The Dutch East India Company established a sizeable fort on the southern tip of Manhattan Island. The wall of the fort was located on the site of what is now Wall Street in the financial district of lower Manhattan. Perhaps one of the best documentations of Lion Daalders circulating in Colonial America comes from the wreck of the HMS Feversham that sank in 1711. The salvage and recovery of the wreck’s contents provide an important historical record of the coinage circulating in colonial America during that time period. Another source is the first paper money issued by the colony of York which was payable in Lion Dollars. In colonial times several accounts refer to the Lion Daalders as “Dog Dollars”. The coins tended to wear fairly easily which sometimes made the rampant lion resemble a canine.

The Lion Daalder holds an important place in American history as America’s first dollar and the root of the word from where the current currency, the US Dollar, found its name.

• Authentic silver coin
• Over 350 years old
• Hand-crafted; each flan was cut and struck by hand
• A valuable piece of US history

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