World Coins

2021 Dutch gold ducat ‘mule’ discovered

The 2021 gold ducat from the Royal Dutch Mint should have featured the design at the right, but instead features the reverse used in 2020, shown at left. A whole new mintage is being created, and collectors can buy the correct version to complement the error, or swap the error for the corrected one.

Images courtesy of the Royal Dutch Mint.

The annual Dutch gold ducat coin for 2021 is discovered to be a “mule” error.

A mule is created when a coin is struck from dies that are not intended to be used together.

In this case, the 2021 gold ducat (part of the long running series of legal tender coins based on the originals from the 16th to 18th centuries) was struck using the reverse die used for the 2020 coin.

The difference is subtle but discernible to the “naked eye.” As a result, a gold bar is on the reverse at the bottom, marking the southern trade routes, instead of a placard at left, indicating west.

The error was found on all 895 examples of the 2021 gold ducat, according to distributor Arthur Friedberg, of Coin & Currency Institute. (Friedberg is also Coin World’s Paper Money Analyst.)

The 2021 gold double ducat issue has the correct reverse.

The Royal Dutch Mint will now correctly strike the entire mintage, and customers who ordered the coin may exchange the (possibly rare) error ducat free of charge, or keep the error coin and also order the correct one.

Sales of the 2021 gold ducats were conducted in May, with delivery beginning in September.

The 2021 design was the last of four years in which the coins are exploring four international trade routes, based on the wind directions, where the gold ducat played an important role.

A design element on the 2018 coin pointed north to the Baltics, where the grain trade in particular led to enormous profits for Dutch traders.

The journey marked in 2019 was east to Asia, where in addition to the Dutch trading outpost of Batavia (Indonesia), the Dutch East India Company founded many different trading posts in several countries, and in 2020, the design element indicated south, toward Africa, where many gold sources were discovered.

The correct element on this year’s reverse is at left, west, to mark an important anniversary. On June 3, 1621, the Geoctrooieerde Westindische Compagnie, or Dutch West India Company, was granted a charter for a trade monopoly in the Dutch West Indies by the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.

It could operate in West Africa (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Cape of Good Hope) and the Americas, including the Pacific Ocean and the eastern part of New Guinea.

It also had a role in the short lived colony in North America, a place then called New Netherlands, which extended from Maryland to Massachusetts and included what is now New York City.

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