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Originating in medieval Italy, the Ducat was first struck in Austria in the early 16th century. While losing their status as legal tender in 1857, both 1 and 4 ducat pieces were used as trade coins until 1915, the year shown on these magnificent modern re-strikes.
Although the coin’s design was first struck in 1872, the year engraved on its reverse is recognition that the economic constraints of the First World War brought to an end, at least temporarily, the minting of gold coins in 1915. That year was also one before the death of Emperor Franz Joseph, who ruled the Austro-Hungarian Empire for 68 years, one of the longest reigns for a monarch in modern history. His profile adorns the coin’s splendid obverse.
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