Dictionary of the Coins
of the World

 

This is an ongoing work (one of those never-ending projects) consisting of a compilation of all known names used for coins from the ancient times to the present. Where possible, a description of coins of that name is given, as well as the most likely origin of the name, including translations. In many cases, links are made to pages which will show various examples of that denomination. Obviously, the images not all-inclusive but hopefully will give the user an idea of what some of the coin denominations looked like and how coins of the same name differ from country to country and through time.

D

Daalder - A thaler of Holland and the Low Countries.

[Grosveld, Holland, Netherlands, S'Hreeenberg]

Dak - [Nepal]

Dala - [Hawaii]

Dalasi - Plural dalasi, dalasis.  A paper money, cupronickle coin, and monetary unit of Gambia, equal to 100 bututs.

[Gambia]

Daler - The Scandanavian thaler.

[Denmark, Liege]

Daler, SM - [Sweden]

Daler Specie - [Denmark]

Dam - [India-Independant Kingdom, India-Mughal, Nepal]

Damri - [India-Mughal]

Danube-gold Ducat - A gold coin of Bavaria, struck under Maximilian III Joseph (1745-1777) until Louis I (1825-1848).

[German States]

Dardene - A double liard.

Daric - A gold coin named for Darius, the king of Persia who introduced the coin.  Also a silver coin of the same name often called a siglos and worth 1/20 of a gold daric.  The gold daric was bean-shaped and more than 4 millimeters thick.  It was about 15 millimeters in diameter and weighed 8.3 grams.  The obverse features the king kneeling holding a bow and arrow or running and holding a bow and spear.  The reverse design is simply that of the counter punch of the die.  It was first minted in 515 BC and continued in almost-unchanged form until 330 when Persia was captured by Alexander the Great.

{From Greek Dareikos (stater) a coin of Darius.}

[Ancient Persia]

Decadrachm - Also dekadrachm.  A silver coin of ancient Greece equal to 10 drachms.

{From Greek deca ten + drachm drachm.}

[Ancient Greece]

Décime - Plural décimes.  A former copper or bronze coin of France issued from 1795 to 1801 and from 1814 to 1815.  It was the tenth part of a franc, equal in value to ten centimes.

[France, Monaco]

Decimo - [Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador]

Dekadrachm - Variant form of decadrachm.

Dekanummonion - The quarter part of a Byzantine follis.

{From Greek deka ten + nummonion nummia;   the follis was made up of 40 nummia, therefore, the fourth part.

[Byzantine Empire]

Dekonkion - [Ancient Greece]

Demy - A gold coin of Scotland, struck under Robert III (1390-1406) until James II (1437-1460).  It was also called a lion.  It had on the obverse a lion in a square and, on the reverse, the cross of Saint Andrew in a border.

[The Concise Scots Dictionary, Mairi Robinso Editor in Chief]

{Apparently elliptical for Old French demi-couronne a half crown of gold}

[Scotland]

Denar - [Hungary, Poland, Transylvania]

Denare

Denari - [Italian States, Lithuania, Switzerland-Cantons]

Denarii - [Ancient Rome]

Denarius - [Ancient Rome]

Denaro - The Italian equivalent of the French denier, or penny, first introduced around A.D. 800.

The independent states into which Italy was then divided were quick to adopt this silver coin, and it played a leading role in the numismatic history of the region until the thirteenth century.  The introduction of the heavier silver grosso around 1200 and the resumption of gold coinage after 1250 removed the denaro from its position of importance, but it long remained an important supplementary coin.  The early type denaro was first minted in Benventum, and the obverse, following French custom, uses the duke's monogram as the central type.  The reverse shows the influence of the Byzantine Empire that once controlled the area: it carries a cross on steps, a standard type on Byzantine gold and silver coinage.  This first type of denaro had a diameter of 17 millimeters, and weighed 1.26 grams.  Later coins were somewhat lighter and, in many instances, contain less silver.  Designs continued to be quite simple as there was little room for artistics on a denaro.

[Italian States]

Denga - A Russian coin worth half a kopek.

{From Russian )Á,0>\~6 money}

[Russia]

Dengi - [Romania]

Denier - Any of the various coins issued in French-speaking regions, especially a coin of France, originally of silver but later of copper, introduced in the 8th century and continued until 1794.

{From Late Middle English from Old French from Latin denarius denarius}

[France, French States, Swiss Cantons]

Deniers - [France, Haiti, Switzerland-Cantons]

Denier Tournois - [France, French States, Monaco]

Denning - [Denmark, Gluckstadt]

Deut - The German duit.

Deutsche Mark - [Germany]

D'Huit - Variant form of duit.

Dhabu

Dhinglo

Dhufari

Dicken - German counterpart of the Italian testone, first struck at Milan in 1474.  In 1477, the testone, called a pfundner or dicken, and set equal to 12 kreuzers or 1/3 goldgulden, was coined in the Austrian Tyrol, from whence the denomination quickly spread throughout Germany.  The scarcity of gold, which had initially brought about the production of larger silver coins, continued, however, increasing the relative value of gold over silver.  Thus in 1484 when the guldengroschen appeared, the silver equivalent of the goldgulden was 60 kreuzers instead of 36.  The pfundner-dicken was now but 1/5 of the guldengroschen.  Within the next few years, when the most common fractions of the guldengroschen were established as the half and the quarter, the name dicken attached itself to the quarter (15 kreuzers), leaving pfundner as the unique name for the 12-kreuzer coin.

After the joachimsthaler guldengroschen (first coined in 1519) established itself, the thaler, being larger and heavier than the guldengroschen, was revalued upward in 1551 to 72 kreuzers.  The name dicken was now tranplanted to the quarter of this coin, or 18 kreuzers.  From this time, too, the term ortsthaler (1/4 thaler) began to gain favor, and by the early 17th century had almost supplanted dicken.

{From German dick thick.}

[German States, Italian States, Swiss Cantons]

Didrachm - A coin equal to two drachms or two denarii.

{From Greek di two + drachm drachm.}

[Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome]

Dime - A coin equal to one-tenth of a dollar in the United States of America.  It was first struck in 1792.

{From Middle English dime from Obsolete English tenth from Obsolete French from Middle French disme Latin decima from feminine of decimus tenth.}

[United States of America]

Dinar - A gold coin first struck in the late 7th century which was for several centuries the basic monetary unit in countries under Muslim control.

{From Arabic dinar from Greek denarion denarius, a modification of Latin denarius.}

[Afghanistan, Algiers, Hejaz, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia, Yugoslavia]

Dinara - [Yugoslavia]

Dinar Hashimi - [Saudi Arabia]

Dinero - A former silver coin of Peru, the tenth part of a sol.

Also, The Spanish equivalent of the French denier.

The earliest dineros are from Aragon, and seem to have been struck during the reign of Sancho Ramírez (1063-1094).  That Aragon struck these coins earlier than any of the other Iberian kingdoms can be explained by the fact that Aragon was more commercially developed than much of the rest of the peninsula, and thus found a coin based on the denier useful in trade.  The Moorish conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by 718 had delayed coinage advances such as the denier.

When the denier finally made its way south, it was widely accepted by the peoples of the Spanish Kingdoms.  The kingdom of Castile and Leon, the center of modern Spain and the guiding force of the reconquest of Spain from the Moors, adopted the denier a few years after Aragon.  Its first dinero was struck under Alfonso VI (1073-1109), and was minted in Toledo, which was captured by Alfonso in 1085.  The obverse bears a cross, while the reverse has a Christogram as its central deviceCa reflection of the religious fervor generating the reconquest.  The mint's name is in the legend surrounding the Christogram.  This coin weighs slightly less than a gram and measures 18 millimeters in diameter.  Its silver content was fairly low and should be considered a billion rather than silver coin.

By the end of the sixteenth century the dinero had been debased to the point where it was a copper coin.

{From Spanish dinero money, treasure from Latin denarius denarius.}

[Peru, Spain]

Dinheiro - The Portuguese counterpart of the French denier.

Much like the dinero, the dinheiro's transition from France to Portugal occurred rather late, because of the Moorish conquest.  The first dinheiros (which were, in fact, the first Portuguese coins) date from the reign of Sancho I (1185-1211), and were actually copied from the billion Spanish dinero rather than the silver French denier.  Thus the Portuguese dinheiro was first struck debased, unlike most coins which usually begin at a higher level of metal purity.

Essentially, the dinheiro was the only coin struck by Portuguese kings for the next two centuries.  The coins of Ferdinand I (1367-1383), which was one of the last dinheiros that had no supplementary monetary unit, were made entirely of copper.  They were small, being only 15 millimeters in diameter, and light, weighing only 0.75 gram.  The types are interesting for their mixtures of religious symbols, which are common on medieval coinage, and their expressions of nationalism, which are not.  The obverse has a large cross, which is usually found on the reverses of medieval coins.  Its reverse carries a design of five shields, each with five dots, and is said to represent the five Moorish kings defeated by Alfonso I (1128-1185) at the battle of Ourique in 1139.  The shields, arranged to form a cross, are seen on Portuguese coins to the present day, and eventually were incorporated in Portugal's national arms.

[Portugal]

Diobol - A coin equal to two obols.

{From Greek di two + obol obol.}

[Ancient Greece]

Dirham - Also dirhem, derham.  A Muslim unit of weight originally established in Arabia as equal to 2/3 of the Attic drachma or nearly 45 grains.  It was later used with varying values in Persia, Turkey, and North Africa, but by the 1930's only in Egypt, there equal to 41 grains.  A silver coin of Muslim countries, the first issues of which weighed one dirhem.  They were originally equal to one-tenth dinar.  A silver 50-fils piece of Iraq.

{From Arabic dirham from Latin drachma drachma.}

[Caliphates, India-Mughal, Jordan, Libya, Morocco]

Dirhem - [Armenia, Italian States, Mesopotamia, Morocco]

Disme - A coin equal to one-tenth of a dollar in the United States of America.  It was first struck in 1792.

{From Obsolete English tenth from Obsolete French from Middle French disme Latin decima from feminine of decimus tenth.}

[United States of America]

Dobla - The first use of this term in reference to a coin was by the Christians of Spain for the double dinar struck by Yusuf, the Emir of the Almoravides (1106-1140).

Later, it was applied to a medium-sized gold coin introduced in Spain under Alfonso XI (1312-1350).

Alfonso's dobla was about 25 millimeters in diameter, and weighed around 4.6 grams.  Its appearance in fourteenth century Castile and Leon suggests an increase in trade under the period's aggressive monarchs.  Most early doblas were struck in Seville, the main trading port for goods from the South, which leads to the conclusion that gold for the dobla probably came from Africa.

The dobla was a handsome medieval coin.  The issues of Alfonso XI featured the central type of a castle on the obverse and a lion on the reverseCrepresenting the two parts of the kingdom, Castile and Leon.  Legends with the king's names and titles surround the central types.  Alfonso's successor Peter the Cruel (1350-1369) modified the dobla's design.  He placed a profile portrait of himself, facing left, on the obverse, and quartered the arms of Castile and Leon on the reverse.

The coinage of the dobla continued off and on through the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.  Peter's early experiment with the profile portrait was abandoned; later doblas concentrated more on the familiar castle/lion combination, and if the monarch's likeness appeared on his coins, it was generally as a seated, enthroned figure.

With the accession of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile (1479-1504), Spain was united.  The reforms of these rulers included that of gold coinage.  A 1497 ordinance (the Pragmatic of Medina del Campo) abolished Spain's previous monetary systems and initiated a new and unified coinage.  That Ferdinand and Isabella were able to do so testifies to the strength of their reign, for coinage had always been a jealously guarded right among the states from which united Spain was created.  The excelente, a gold coin equal to the Venetian ducat was introduced; earlier silver coins were replaced by the real, equal to thirty-four maravedís.  (One excelente equalled 375 maravedís, or about 11 reales.)  With slight modifications, this system served SpainCand its vast overseas empireCfor the next three hundred years.

The dobla did not fit into the new monetary system, and its production had ceased even before the introduction of the reforms of 1497.

{From Spanish from Latin dupla feminine of duplus double.}

[Spain]

Dobler

Doblón - Plural doblónes.  A former gold coin of Spain and Spanish America, equal to two gold escudos.

{From Spanish doubloon.}

Dobra - Any of various former Portuguese coins, especially a gold coin of John V equal to two johannes.

{From Portuguese feminine of obsolete dobro (now dobre) double from Latin dupla feminine of duplus double.  See dobla.}

[St. Thomas and Prince]

Doit - English translation of duit.

Dokdo

Dollar - {Alteration of earlier daler from Danish or Low German from German taler, short for joachimstaler, from Sanskrit joachimsthal (Jáchymov) a town in northwestern Bohemia, Czechoslovakia, where the first talers were made.}

[Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, Cook Islands, East Caribbean States, East Caribbean Territories, Fiji Islands, Great Britain, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Liberia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Panama, Singapore, Straits Settlements, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, Zimbabwe]

Dolya - [USSR]

Dong - Plural dong.  A small aluminum coin of Vietnam first issued in 1946.  A monetary unit of Vietnam, equal to 100 hao.  It replaced the southern piaster and the northern dong in 1978.

{From Vietnamese dong the local name for the earlier piaster which it replaced.}

[Annam, Vietnam, Vietnam-North, Vietnam-South]

Doppel Schilling - [German States]

Doppelvierer - [German States]

Doppia - A gold coin of the Italian States.  Also struck in Monaco under Honore II (1604-1662).

{From Italian doppia double; see double.}

[Avignon, Bardi, Bozzolo, Campi, Carmagnola, Casale, Castiglione delle Stiviere, Cisterna, Correggio, Cuneo, Desana, Ferrara, Mantua, Massa di Lunigiana, Messerano, Milan, Mirandolo, Modena, Montanaro, Parma and Piacenza, Piobino, Pisa, Retegno, Ronco, Sardinia, Siena, Tassarolo, Vercelli and the Vatican City, Monaco]

Doppia d'oro - [Bologna]

Doppia Fiorino - [Italian States]

Doppie - Plural of doppia.

Double - A former coin of France, the sixth part of a sol and worth two deniers.  It was first issued in silver in the 14th century; later, it was made of copper.  Also, a copper or bronze coin of Guernsey worth about 1/8th an English penny.

[France, Guernsey]

Double Crown - [Great Britain]

Double Lorrain - [France]

Double Tournois - [Avignon, France, German States, Monaco]

Double Unit - [India-Independent Kingdom]

Double Vacquette - [France]

Doubloon -

{From Spanish doblón, augmentative of dobla, an old Spanish gold coin.}

Douzain - [Avignon, France, French States]

Drachm - An Attic weight and coin.  A small silver coin which circulated widely in the Greek world and the areas adjacent to it: the basic unit of much Greek coinage.

The coin's weight averaged 4 grams or slightly above, with a diameter of about 16 millimeters.  The drachm supposedly took its name from a handful (drax) of six iron spits (obeloi), which were formerly used as currency.  This ratio of six obols to the drachm continued long after the invention of coinage.

{From Greek drax as much as one can hold in the hand.}

[Ancient Greece]

Drachma - [Crete, Greece]

Drachmai - Plural of drachma.

Dreier - Three-pfennig coin struck from the early 16th century until 1873 throughout much of Germany, equal to 1/4 groschen.  From the 16th throught the 18th centuries the dreier was generally a small billion coin, weighing about 0.75 gram, which shrank from 20 to 15 millimeters over the years.  From the late 18th century onward, dreiers were generally struck in copper.

{From German dreier threer, a 3-unit piece.}

[German States]

Dreiling - Three-pfennig coin of the Baltic area equal to 1/4 schilling, struck from the last half of the 14th century through the 19th century.  Since the Baltic pfennigs were worth about one half of those elsewhere in Germany, dreilings were generally much smaller than dreiers.  They, too, began as base silver coins, shrinking to 13 millimeters and 0.5 gram by the 19th century.  Copper dreilings are not too frequently encountered.

[German States-Baltic Region]

Dreipoelker - Polish 3-grosze coin.

[Poland]

Dreipolcher - German name for the Polish dreipoelker.

Dreiziger - Piece of 30 kreuzers.

{From German dreizig thirty + er apiece of.}

[German States]

Drelling - Variant form of dreiling.

[Denmark]

Dreyer - Variant form of dreier.

Dreyling - Variant form of dreiling.

Duarius - [Hungary]

Ducat - Gold coin of high fineness (23.5 to 23.66 carats) and good weight (3.44 grams of pure gold) which, for centuries, was the principal coin used in European trade.  The ducat was first struck in Venice in 1284.  By the 16th century it had replaced the then-debased goldgulden as the chief gold unit of the Empire, this change being made official in 1559.  In succeeding years, fractions of the ducat as small as 1/32 and multiples weighing more than 10 ducats were struck.  Although the mulitples were generally no more than gold medals they could have  passed as coins by weight.  As everyday currency, the ducat passed from the scene about the middle of the 19th century, but as trade coins, they were struck in Austria and the Netherlands well into the 20th century.

{From Italian ducato duchy, a word in the legend on the coin.}

[Artois, Austria, Austrian States, Czechoslovakia, Courland, Denmark, French States, German States, Gluckstadt, Gronsveld, Holstein-Gottorp, Holstein-Ploen, Holstein-Norburg Poeln, Hungary, Indonesia, Italian States, Liechtenstein, Liege, Lithuania, Narva, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Reckheim, Reval, Riga, Romania, Russia, Schaumburg-Pinneberg, Sweden, Switzerland-Cantons, Tournoai, Transylvania, USSR, Wafenbuttel, Yugoslavia]

Ducato - [Italian States]

Ducato d'oro - [Italian States]

Ducaton - [Holland, Italian States, Netherlands]

Ducatone - [Artois, Italian States, Liege]

Ducatone Ossidionali - A silver coin minted in Casale in 1628 weighing 23-24 grams.

[Italian States-Casale]

Ducatoon - Also ducaton.  A former silver coin of the Netherlands, used through the 17th and 18th centuries; it was equal to three gulden.

{From French ducaton, diminutive of ducato ducat.}

[Netherlands, Netherlands East Indies]

Ducatto

Ducatus Argenti - Variant name used in Venice for the grosso.  Also called a matapan.

{From Italian ducatus ducat + argenti silver.}

[Italian States-Venice]

Duennpfennig - Thin pfennig.  Name given to very thin denars coined along the French border in the 12th and 13th centuries.  This area bordered on bracteat country, and the duennpfennig, while two-sided, was a manifestation of the same artistic bent.

[Holy Roman Empire]

Duetchen - Variant form of duettchen.

Duetta -

Duetto - [Italian States-Lucca]

Duettchen - A name given to the 1/16 thaler along the Baltic coast during the 17th century.  Polish 3-grosze pieces and German double schillings were classed as duettchen.

[German States]

Duit - A copper coin of the Netherlands and Lower Rhine worth 2 pfennigs or 1/8 stueber.  It was struck from the 16th through the early 19th century.  The duit usually weighed a little more than 2 grams and was about 22 millimeters in diameter.

{From Dutch duit from middle Ductch duit, doyt, akin to Old Norse thveiti small coin, thveita to hew.  Possibly French d'huit one-eighth}

[Dutch Guiana, German States, Holland, India-Dutch, Indonesia, Netherlands, Reckheim]

Dukat - Variant form of ducat.

[Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Sweden, Yugoslavia]

Dukata

Dung-tang - Variant name for the ang-tuk.

{From Tibetan dung spear + tang tang-ka.  References to the trident of the Newar King on the reverse.}

Dung-tse - Variant name for the ang-tuk.

{From Tibetan dung spear + tse point.  References to the trident of the Newar King on the reverse.}

Duplex - Double blaffert.

[French States]

Duplone - A gold coin of Basel struck from 1795-1796.  In Berne, it was struck from 1796 to 1829.  In Solothurn, from 1787 to 1797.  It was equal to two ducats or one pistole.

[Swiss States-Basel, Bern and Solothurn]

Dupondius - Plural dupondii.  An orichalcum coin of ancient Rome, equal to two asses.  The obverse almost always featuring a radiate portrait.

{From Latin, equivalent to du(o) two + pond(us) weight, pound + ius adjective suffix.}

[Ancient Rome]

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