I started buying the Netherlands gold ducats in 2009 after reading a book called "A Splendid Trade." Also that year I read "Pirate Hunter" about Captain Kidd from New York, and how he got done dirty by the new Dutch King William of England of the late 1600's / early 1700's. I checked on Ebay, my go-to source at the time, and found I could get my hands on what turned out to be fairly common dates from the 1600's. No matter. Once I had a 1648 in my hands, and some warped worn out ones from the late 1500's, I was hooked, and it hasn't let up. In the last four years I have divested many of those back to the sea of Ebay, but still have a nice 1612 and 1649 from the original crew.
I thought to put this entry together after reading journals from other users about "making" new NGC coins in thinly-populated parts of the registry. I commented that it was satisfying, despite usually finding that your raw coins have some problem or another leading to a "details" grade. Lately I have picked up some raw examples and sent them to NGC, mostly finding that they were cleaned, filed, scratched, clipped, or otherwise damaged, despite looking pretty good. Grade is barely half the battle with these coins, since each engraving is fairly different, and then the hand-striking and the variable waviness of the planchet all are sources of ugliness. What I care about most is the face of the knight, and a non-wavy surface. Most recently, I am looking for coins from dates that NGC and PCGS hasn't seen any examples, or any decent examples. Here are four I won at auctions (both in Poland) or purchased directly from sellers in the Netherlands and Switzerland in the last three months, and got back from NGC as the best, and frequently only, example of their mint and year:
The close-up heading up this entry is a 1635 of West Friesland that NGC graded MS61. It is the most beautiful example of these four, whatever the numeric grade. It is the only 1635 Netherlands ducat of any mint in any condition certified by NGC. PCGS has certified one Gelderland ducat of 1635, at MS62, but it doesn't look good. I found pictures of it an acsearch.info where it didn't sell at auction.
There are no others of this date from any mint in any condition certified by NGC, and PCGS has certified one, of Utrecht, with "tooling", which someone is trying to sell on Ebay now for $5,000 (this coin cost nothing close to that). This coin here, which somehow got graded MS62, is the only mint-state graded ducat of any mint from the entire decade of the 1620's at NGC or PCGS. Notwithstanding the grade, it doesn't look that great. There is no detail on the face. I dealt directly with a dealer in Switzerland to get this, who sent me some photos of the original collector's documents showing it to be from the collection of a Hans Erb, of Chur, Switzerland, active at the end of the 1800s. There was not sufficient documentation to get that on the NGC label unfortunately. The 1620's are the decade when the Dutch were the first to discover parts of the coast of Australia, and when they founded New Netherlands and New Amsterdam, which would later become New York.
NGC said MS61, and that is kind of a gift. NGC has also graded one of these of the same mint and date AU58, but that one has a blank face, like the 1622 I just covered. That one recently sold at a Heritage auction, and I passed on it because of the head. The 1660's are a decade when the Dutch engaged in one of their several wars with England and were accused of starting the great fire of London of 1666. They probably didn't do it. There are no better examples of this date and mint at NGC or PCGS.
The last coin here is the second-best looking, a Utrecht ducat of 1697. I was very concerned that, based on the weakness at the feet of the knight, this coin had been formerly mounted or in jewelry or something.
I also picked this one up by directly negotiating with a dealer in Amsterdam. He was not able to tell me more than that this was consigned by a collector who got it "long ago" at a coin fair in Amsterdam. My investigation into this coin's history is ongoing. This coin is pictured, in black and white, as the example on NGC's "Numismaster" "Krause Publications" webpage for the issue, but without any explanation of where that photo comes from. I have examined that photo carefully and determined that it is not just a black and white version of the photo used by the dealer who sold me the coin. When I inquired about where that picture was from, NGC told me it was "proprietary information." See: https://www.ngccoin.com/price-guide/world/netherlands-utrecht-ducat-km-7-1-1600-1743-cuid-25707-duid-75206 .
I have been looking at old catalogs and books, to the extent possible, on the Newman Numismatic Portal and Google Books without luck. This is now the highest-graded Netherlands Ducat from any provincial mint of the 1690s, all of which come from Utrecht, including one other from 1697 in AU53, a 1696 in AU53, a 1695 in XF45, and one 1692 in MS61. PCGS has only graded one Utrecht ducat from the 1690's, which is a 1694 in VF condition. As I mentioned, I know for sure there is an excellent looking raw 1694 out there that someone else just won at auction.
Part of the fun is the hunt, and the other part is bringing together long-separated buddies all struck in the Netherlands from their resting places around the world. The knowledgeable European collectors of these coins do not put them in plastic cases, or care what NGC or PCGS says about them. I have been personally reprimanded for doing this by some of them. As one of these guys told me, it isn't a crime, it's just a bad habit. Having the "finest graded" at NGC or PCGS doesn't come close to meaning the finest known. But, this is how I keep track of my collection, and fit these coins into my timeline of gold. The same guy made good use of my ignorance to buy what probably is a very rare 1686 Holland ducat off me a couple years ago, which I was eager to part with because it had a dull appearance and earned a "surface hairlines" details grade by NGC. Recognizing my mistake, I have been further motivated to seek out an even better replacement from that decade, the 1680's, so far without any luck.