December 24, 2008 § Leave a Comment
(click on pic for closer look)
…just bought this coin on eBay. It’s a duit from 1737. This nickel sized coin will now replace my (Russian Catherine the Great, 1778) kopek as the oldest object I own.
“The United Dutch East India Company-Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) was established in 1602 with the aim of sending ships to Asia to buy pepper and spices. The VOC developed into a multinational entity with branches in a dozen Asian countries. By the mid-18th century the company employed 36,000 people. It built its own ships, some 1,500, which in total made over 5,000 journeys to Asia, where a network of trading posts were founded from the Persian Gulf to the China Sea. The company was granted sovereign powers: it minted currency, occupied territories and maintained an armada of warships and a small army, 10,000 strong, to defend its territories, facilities and ships. It was the first company ever to sell stock shares, and was arguably the most powerful enterprise of its kind in all of history. However, emerging British domination of the sea eventually took its toll. By 1794, the VOC was bankrupt and its assets dissolved.”