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Walachian ducat - Mircea the Old
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rough diameter 14 mm, ~0.4 g, silver
Obverse Walachian coat of arms - mountain eagle perched on a helmet bearing Maltese cross and headdress feathers - and mint ensign M at right (heraldic disposition).

Outer pearl circle. As for the legend, see picture below.

Reverse Coat of arms of the Basarab
family(?): shield split vertically; four bars inside field one, a mint ensign resembling two crossed hammers or letter chi of the Greek alphabet inside field two.
Outer and inner pearl circle. As for the legend, see picture below.

Problematic Legend on Walachian Ducat from Mircea the Old

We display on this page a recent, very well manufactured fake. For a sufficiently long time we, the authors of the site, ourselves deemed the piece to be authentic, so we appologize for unintendedly misleading of perhaps many visitors. Two ideas are to be stressed here. The fakes will still be published on Romanian coins because they hold information about the originals (that are very rare, indeed) or at least their sides and because, being somehow often found on the market, several other collectors might also fall prey to these forgeries.

On the previous pages you will find a few other fakes manufactured in the same manner as this supposedly ducat from Mircea the Old of Walachia. The sides were independently created through galvanoplasty and then forced together (with real craftsmanship). Usually, this method allows for a black, separating surface between the two sides to be noticed. In this case though the edge is perfect. It was't necessary to be filed on the edge in order to hide matching imperfections, making these forgeries more harmful.

The expertise for the Romanian medieval coins on Romanian coins was generously made by Mr. Bogdan Costin, specialist in medieval Romanian coinage.

We will still display the info this page had before the expertise.

This coin silver coin was issued by Mircea the Old (cel Bătrîn), the most glorious and important of all Walachian princes. He ruled Walachia between 1386 and 1418.

As a type this coin is known to Romanian numismatics as Walachian ducat, as complying to the system of Venetian ducats struck in 1202 by Venice. In which concerns its pattern (obverse - reverse), it belongs to the most common ducat type, type that occured to almost every coin issue of the Walachian princes, since Vlaicu I (1364 - 1377) to Basarab (the Old) Laiotă (1473 - 1477, with many interruptions).

The legends on the coinage of Mircea the Old were written both in Latin and Cyrillic (Slavic). This one uses Cyrillic.

There are plenty of different variants in which concerns the legend, its respective fonts and the mint ensigns (usually both on the obverse and reverse, but different). Misspellings also have their share.

We of course confronted the Bible of Romanian numismatics, Monede și bancnote românești by George Buzdugan, Octavian Luchian and Constantin Oprescu (1976), i.e. the only book that somehow tends toward completion over Romanian numismatics and is the authority to consult. The coin seems to be the same as the one described at quote 184a, only ours is better (much better centered, more legible text). Romanian coins have been unsufficiently studied and I am not able to provide the right interpretation of the legend. Still, that is what we know for sure.

On the obverse (beholder's right) we have IO MIRCEA. MIRCEA is spelled out of three letters, M, P (Slavic R) and the Slavic letter for Romanian group of sounds ce or English ch as in chart or chair. IO is a mysterious title that Romanian princes from both Moldavia and Walachia used in front of their names and complete list of titles in all their documents (written or engraved), since the formation of the respective principalities up to the Hohenzollern dinasty in the 19th century. It was always spelled with a Latin I and a Greek omega (in both Latin and Cyrillic documents). To mix things up more, IO is also a form of pronoun I in Romanian. This could not explain some Latin accounts where it was replaced by Iohannes (i.e. John in English, Ioan in Romanian). What is certain is that incipient IO, written as pointed above, is the mark of Romanian royalty exclusively. Some of the other letters of the legend fell outside the surface. Others are so badly pictured (though legible) that is risky to suppose anything at all about them.

On the reverse we could distinguish clearly the beginning, IO (spelled somehow alike an I and a W) and after that maybe a stylized M.

Let us remember again that many medieval Romanian coins (issued by Moldavia and Walachia especially) are known in one or but few pieces and new types are discovered even today.

It is fit in the ending to point that, with one little exception of poor quality, this and the coin on the previous page are the only two Walachian coins available on the entire net. Help from other collectors is more than needed. Do not hesitate to contact us.

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