Alvise Mocenigo I 1570-1577

Venetian Gold Ducat

Alvise Mocenigo I was the elected Doge of the Venetian republic between 1570-1577.
Venetians were current in Lanka in the 16th century, and known in Sinhala as Vilisiyanu Kasi. The Inventario do Thesouro do Rei de Ceylao of the King's treasure at Kotte plundered by the Portuguese in 1551 makes mention of 6005 cruzados and Venetians. The Portuguese about 1596 capturing five elephants laden with larins and two with Venetians said to have numbered 100,000.

Diameter21.6 mm
Thickness1.3 mm
Weight Legal3.494 gms
Weight~3.50 gms
aloy-moce~i_ducat_au_obverse aloy-moce~i_ducat_au_reverse
Friedberg #1263
Obverse : The Doge receiving the gonfalon at the hands of Saint Mark. Along the periphery the legends, S.M.VENET. on left ALOY MOCE on right continued by DVX to the right of the vertical banner which has no flag or cross on top.
Reverse : The Standing figure of Christ in Glory facing forward with right hand bent upwards within convex lens known as a mandorla with 13 stars with 6-points along inner periphery. The legend SIT T XPE DAT QTV REGIS ISTE DVCAT along the periphery has no dots and expands to Sit tibi, Christe, datus, quem tu regis, iste ducatus which translates as "To thee, O'Christ, duchy, which thou rulest, be dedicated".

It was called a Ducat, the name inscribed on it, but later known as zecchino or sequin. Varying only a little in design it was minted for over 500 years from 1284 till the end of the republic in 1797. The extreme 0.999 purity of the Gold made it a World currency. It was a standard of weight 53.75 grains Troy, or 3.4940 grams with 0.1122 oz of AGW (Actual Gold Weight).

Codrington lists the sequins of following Doges during the Portuguese Era as been found in Lanka.

F12461523-1539Andrea Gritti .AND.GRITI  9 stars 5-point
F12551556-1559Lorenzo Priuli LAV.PRIOL 12 stars 5-point
F12631570-1577Alvise Mocenigo IALOY.MOCE 13 stars 6-point
F12701585-1595Pasquale Cicogna PASC.CICON19 stars 5-point

The VF Ducat was scanned at 600dpi and displayed at 300dpi. This sequin was not found from circulation in Lanka. It was purchased on ebay in 2001 January from Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. in Lancaster Pennsylvania who guarantees it's authenticity. This Ducat is exactly as illustrated in Le Monete Di Venezia by Papadopoli, the definitive publication on coins of Venice.

Various changes in design offer a means of identifying each ducat uniquely. The lettering in the legend and the presence of . or *'s, the character of the Doge's cap, the disposition of the figure of Christ and the nimbus in the oval, the number and arrangement of the stars and the number of points in each star. The presence or absence of a beard, evidently depended upon the appearance of the individual Doges.

On reverse the legend had the word DVCAT which changed after 1655 to DVCA. The staff had nothing or a small flag on top and changed after 1659 to a cross. Between 1655 to 1659 there was a new doge every year and coincides with this transition.

Note the abbreviation of the name and the difference of a . or a * of the four Doges with the name Alvise Mocenigo.

F12631570-1577Alvise Mocenigo I ALOY.MOCE 13 stars 6-point
F13581700-1709Alvise Mocenigo II ALOY*MOCENI*16 stars 6-point
F13791722-1732Alvise Mocenigo IIIALOY*MOCENI.16 stars 6-point
F14211763-1779Alvise Mocenigo IV ALOY.MOCEN. 16 stars 5-point
It is listed by Codrington's 1914 catalog of Coins in the Colombo Museum, with a description which matches IV. Note the illustrations of Alvise Mocenigo III and IV in Krause are probably in error as different from that in Papadopoli. The Ducat above is before 1600 and not listed in Krause.

See also Venetian Gold Ducat from 18th century when the Dutch were in Lanka.

Text edited from
* Ceylon Coins and Currency By H. W. Codrington. Colombo 1924
  Page 169 Chapter XIII Miscellaneous - II Venetian
* The Venetian Gold Ducat and its Imitations by Herbert E. Ives,
  edited and annotated by Phillip Grierson. ANS 1954.

I thank Benjamin Bell of CNG for the drawings from Papadopoli and the copy of Ives & Grierson, a very interesting monograph on these ducats.