Dutch Colonial - 17th Century

Silver Leeuwen Daalder

The Leeuwen-daalder was minted to facilitate foreign trade in the 17th Century and is more commonly known as the Lion Dollar. Dutch merchants found it advantageous to pay a foreign debt in Leeuwen-daalders rather than in more costly Rijks-daalders.

SPECIFICATIONS
DenominationDaalder
AlloySilver.750
TypeStruck
Diameter40.5 mm
Thickness2.4 mm
Weight Legal27.68 gms
Weight26.9 gms
ShapeRound
EdgePlain
Die-Axis190°
MintWest FriesLand
1644_wes_lion_daalder_ag_obverse 1644_wes_lion_daalder_ag_reverse
West FriesLand : Verk 66.4 DEL#836 KM#14.2
Obverse : An armored knight looking to right with plume in helmet. A shield bearing a lion in front of his legs. Within two circles of bead-work around the rim is a version of the legend, MO. ARG. PRO. CON-FOE. BELG. WES . This abbreviated Latin legend may be transcribed as: MONETA ARGENTEA PROVINCIARUM CONFOEDERATUM BELGICARUM WESTFRIESLAND which translates as "Coin Silver of the Province of the Confederation Belgium - West FriesLand".

Reverse : A Rampant lion facing left in center. Within two circles of bead-work around the rim is the year of issue 1644. followed by the lily Mint Mark on top and along periphery the Latin legend CONFIDENS.DNO.NON.MOVETVR expands to CONFIDENS DOMINO NON MOVETVR which translates as "Confidence in the Lord is not moved"

This 17th century Leeuwen-daalder which is the same weight as a reals of eight was reckoned as 48 Stuivers and popularly known as Lion Dollars and in fact the origin of the name Dollar. They were replaced in the 18th century by the heavier coins with finer silver the Rijks-daalder (29.0 grams of .885 fine silver passing at 50 stuivers), and the Ducatoon or silver rijder (31.82 grams of 0.92 silver passing at 60 stuivers or 3 guilders).

Delmonte in The Silver Benelux says 678,390 of the Lion Daalders were minted in period 1643-1649 in West Friesland indicated as WES or WEST or WESTF. This type issued from 1606-1700.
Number of them have been found in Lanka. Codrington lists it as Lion Dollar from 1606, with specific reference to this issue of West Friesland (WES 1644), and Gelderland (GEL 1653).
The Heraldric Lion was also on the Royal Standard of Sri Wickrema Raja Sinha depicting a yellow lion passant holding a sword in its right paw on a red background shown on right which was adopted with a few alterations as the National Flag of Lanka at Independence in 1948
Lion flag

There appear to be variations in the design of the lion between coins of six provinces and with period in the 17th century when they were minted. The Lion is similar that illustrated for West Friesland in Krause and Belmonte, which is differenct from some of the other Lion Daalders.

Lion daalders were usually produced from thin planchets that did not fully fill the thickness of the dies, thus they were often weakly struck. This dollar is 3% under-weight but that could be easily accounted for by the probable light shaving of the edge often seen in coins of this age.

See discussion of a probably contemporary counterfeit coin from early American colonies where the daalder was the first silver dollar.

The VF- condition coin was scanned at 300dpi and displayed at 150dpi. It was purchased on ebay in 2001 September from a Belgian seller in this cleaned condition is not one that circulated in Lanka. He had won from "van Alsenoy' a large coin-auctionhouse in Belgium.

Text edited from
* Ceylon Coins and Currency By H. W. Codrington. Colombo 1924
  Page 130 Chapter IX-X Dutch