Precious Metals

Royal Dutch Mint issues silver bullion lion taler

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 iconic imagery.

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.

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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 Spanish-American cob.”

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.

Famous design

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 (representing Utrecht).

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 the reverse.

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

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