2017 was a tipping point for me. After many years of relentless collecting, I slowed down to the point where I only purchased four coins, and actually sold four coins. Three of those that I let go were Silver Riders -- ducatons of the Dutch Republic. You will find these beauties cataloged under the coins of the Netherlands, or more properly The Kingdom of the Netherlands as the modern nation is a constitutional monarchy. Back in the 16th century, seven of the Low Country provinces threw off Spanish Habsburg rule and formed a globe spanning mercantile empire. In North America, the Dutch established the colony of New Netherland in the early 17th century and its capital at New Amsterdam in 1625 (later renamed New York in 1664 after its capture by the English).
The Dutch Republic minted several crown sized silver coins with the ducaton having the higher value of 60 stuivers. Produced from 1659 to 1798, the ducaton got the nickname of "Silver Rider" from its obverse design of a mounted knight. The reverse shows the coat of arms of the republic, with the lion holding a sheaf of arrows, symbolizing the unity of the provinces, and brandishing a sword in defense of their liberty. These are impressive coins -- 43-44 mm, 32.78 g and 91.4% silver.
My initial foray into collecting ducatons was filled with mistakes due to lack of study and patience. For those of you that might consider collecting a nice example, do your homework and take your time. There are rare types but most are not particularly scarce; well struck, problem-free examples from the provinces with the largest mintages are not expensive relative to other contemporary world crowns. However, there are plenty of examples with issues and all three of the ones that I sold recently fall into that category. Two of them came from shipwrecks and show varying degrees of environmental damage. The one that I was happiest to sell is the one pictured here. This example is from the province of West Friesland and has a very nice obverse but a weakly struck reverse. When I previewed the auction I decided to pass on it because of the poor eye appeal of the reverse. But in the middle of the on-line bidding, I only looked at the obverse and forgot why I initially passed.
Selling my coins couldn't have been easier. They were all originally purchased in Heritage Auctions and they were sold through the Heritage "make offer to owner" program. I set the prices as low as I could to account for the 10% (minimum $40) commission and still get close to breaking even. Then you wait and either accept an offer at your price or negotiate if a lower one comes in. It's all conducted through email and the Heritage website -- you mail your coin to Heritage so your anonymity is maintained. Going forward, I feel my collection has matured and I want to sell coins that are not part of the core. I'm not in a rush -- my plan is to try selling in a variety of venues with breaking even as my goal. As for Silver Riders, I still have a few better examples -- notably a 1760 AU-58 from West Friesland in my Silver Dollars of '60 set and a 1791 MS-63 from Utrecht that will get a place in a new set I'm calling "My World Crown Affair".