Netherlands (Zeeland) 1711 Silver 2 Stuivers KM#59 Very Fine
ex Zuytdorp Shipwreck
Obverse: Coronate shield within the denomination
Reverse: Legend in 3 lines, castle above and date below
Diameter: 18.43mm | Weight: 1.56g
Australian Commonwealth Government Artefact Number: 53057
This is a truly scarce memento from one of Australia's most historic wrecks.
Of the four shipwrecks found off the West Australian coast that have yielded coins available for collectors (Batavia, Gilt Dragon, Zuytdorp and the Rapid), the coins from the Zuytdorp are unequivocally the most difficult to obtain.
There are fewer coins from the Rapid known in private hands, but it seems that the Zuytdorp coins are very tightly held - the number seen at auction over the past decade or so could be counted on one hand quite easily.
There are a number of reasons why the coins from the Zuytdorp are of interest to collectors:
- The story of the Zuytdorp's journey is just incredible - nearly half those on board had died before they reached Cape Town - the rest disappeared in the wreck just a few months later;
- The 6 stuivers (shillings) from Zeeland dated 1711 that were recovered are the only such coins available to collectors anywhere in the world - the entire mintage was on board when the Zuytdorp when it sank;
- The Zuytdorp sank in what is arguably one of the most inhospitable sections of the Australian coastline - not only is it at least 70 kilometres from the nearest road, the cliffs rise at least 30 metres above the rocky shore, and are pounded by massive waves nearly every day of the year.
Although coins recovered from the Zuytdorp are incredibly rare in private hands, when divers first reported seeing them within the wreck, they said the scene looked like "...a carpet of silver...".
Manifest records from the Chamber of Zeeland showed that 100,000 Guilders were struck by the Zeeland Mint - a combination of 6 stuiver and 2 stuiver coins. Although no records have yet been located that explain the proportion of each coin within that total, statistics of the coins recovered from the wreck of the Zuytdorp indicate that far fewer of the 2 stuiver coins would have been struck - they are very infrequently seen.
This is in fact only the 3rd example of this denomination we've handled from this wreck over 25 years - the last example to be offered for sale via auction was seen in October 2016.
This particular example has full detail on both sides, and has an attractive lustre - it remains in incredible quality when we consider it rested on the bottom of the ocean floor for several hundred years.
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