This set initially grew out of a desire to do something a little different with my collection. I’d been pushing to build a large collection of modern silver bullion rounds from various countries and wanting to collect some small gold coins as well. I’d bought some modern US gold commemoratives along the way, but I wanted to get away from modern coins and collect something older with a different look and feel to it.
So, in mid-2009, I decided to branch out a little. I decided to go with European gold coins because many of them could be had in good MS grades for not much more than spot where American coins in similar grades from the same time period were much more expensive – we all have budgets to consider. While I do love the designs used for American coinage from this period, I also love seeing the coats of arms on various European coins from the era - including these coins - with design elements like rampant lions.
The reasonable question that might be asked is, “why this set?” My family comes mostly from England and Scotland, not the Netherlands. Picking this set to collect had less to do with the country of origin and more to do with the name of the monarch and family tradition.
I don’t remember exactly how I found this set or series of coins. It might have come to my attention when they were first added to the registry as a competitive category. I liked the idea of a Monarch named William, Wilhelm or some other common version of the name. The more I looked into this monarch and family, the more it seemed almost perfect for me.
I’m named William. I’m part of the third generation of a naming tradition in my family. My grandfather was named William and one of my uncles is a junior. I was the first male child born in the family after my grandfather passed. I share a first name with him but have a different middle name. Two of my younger cousins were also later given William as a first name and have a different middle name that they go by. I’m the only one in the family that goes by William. In 2016, 7 years after starting this set, I continued the tradition and named my first son William Benjamin. We call him Ben.
Willem III ruled the Netherlands from March 1849 until his death in May 1890. He took the throne from his father, Willem II, who took it from his father, Willem I. He had 4 legitimate children, including 3 sons and a daughter. He named all 3 sons – who all tragically preceded him in death – Willem, and his daughter Wilhelmina. His daughter succeeded him as the ruler of the Netherlands – as Wilhelmina I - as his only surviving heir. All of Willem III’s brothers and sisters were named either Willem or Wilhelmina, so I guess he got the idea from his father.
I’d always though it was funny that we had so many Williams in my family. I never thought I’d find a European royal family with a dedication to the name William that so far outstripped that of my own family – we actually have men in the last 2 generations that weren't named William, we don’t use Wilhelmina and probably never will. That apparently just didn’t happen on this man’s watch.
That made me want to build this set. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he’s depicted with a substantial beard and I was seriously into rocking my own full beard at that stage in my life. Mine was never as epic as his apparently was though and I’ve subsequently mostly stopped wearing one because of work.Read more...