The Dutch Lion taler was one of the world’s most important trade
coins during the 1600s and 1700s.
To celebrate the famous coin, named for the lion in its design, the
Royal Dutch Mint has issued a silver bullion coin celebrating the
The archetypal Dutch trade coin was the Lionthaler, or
Leeuwendaalder, with the first examples appearing in 1575 during
Holland’s War of Independence against Spain. The seven free provinces
struck their various versions.
Make your ‘worthless’ note worth something
Have you noticed the weapons depicted on early American notes?
John Kraljevich Jr. puzzles over what’s generally missing from that
arsenal, in his “Collecting Paper” column.
Originally intended as a local currency, through the travels of
Dutch maritime traders it became one of the most widely used trade
coins in the Mediterranean, and especially in the Levant.
As with the later Maria Theresa talers, success bred imitation. A
number of countries struck their own replicas of the coin, notably
Italy and the German states.
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The classic coin weighed about 27 or 28 grams, measured about 42
millimeters in diameter and composed of about .870 fine silver.
According to Richard Doty in The Macmillan Encyclopedic
Dictionary of Numismatics, most of the original lion dollars are
“wretched creations,” because the silver was poorly mixed, planchets
were not treated with care, and no collar was used when striking.
“They are the evidence of a busy mercantile people importing silver
from Spain and the Americas, and rapidly turning it into trade coins,”
he wrote. “The lion dollar was the north European equivalent of the
The 2017 silver bullion coin is based on a 1617 coin issued in
Utrecht, a province of the Netherlands.
The 1-ounce .999 fine silver coin measures 38.68 millimeters in
diameter. It has a mintage limit of 25,000 pieces, and is an exclusive
release in the United States through American Precious Metals Exchange.
The obverse of the 2017 coin depicts a standing knight. In front of
his legs rests a shield bearing a lion in what is known as the rampant
position. (This lion is found on both the Dutch and Belgian coats of arms.)
Within two circles of beadwork around the rim on the obverse is the
legend MO. ARG. PRO. CONFOE. BELG.—short for “Moneta Argentea
Provinciarum Confoederatum Belgicarum,” or “Silver money of the
Province of the Netherlands,” followed by the letters TRA
The reverse displays the same heraldic lion in a larger size, and as
with the obverse design it has two circles of beadwork around the rim
enclosing a legend, the date of issue, 2017, and the motto of the
United Provinces, CONFIDENS. DNO. NON. MOVETVR, or “Who trusts in the
Lord is not moved” (“DNO” is an abbreviation of “Domino,” or “Lord”).
In addition, references to the metal, weight and fineness appear on
Individual coins come in protective plastic.
The bullion coin follows a different release in early 2017 of a very
limited number of Proof silver and gold coins honoring the famous
design. That program was coordinated through a different distributor
and was sold at premium prices, whereas the bullion coin has pricing
based on the actual value of the silver in the coin.
At press time, the bullion coins were selling for about $3 to $5
above the precious metal value per coin, depending on quantity
purchased and payment method.
To learn more, visit the distributor website