If your reading of Dracula Chronicles has advanced past Book One, you have come across numerous mentions of the Venetian gold coin called ducat. The illustration above shows such a coin. For orientation, it is about the size of a nickel (5 cent coin, for those not familiar with American metal money); or about 75% of the size of a euro. It weighs 3.5 grams (0.12 oz). The name you see in the picture is that of the Doge of Venice at the time Prince Vlad made an unexpected visit to the city (Book Three, “House of War“). However, the designation of the ducat as “zecchino” in the time of Doge Foscari is erroneous: the name zecchino for the ducat was used only after 1543 when Venice began to also mint a silver ducat. I guess even a prestigious museum like the Correr can make a mistake now and then. The Venetian ducat of Dracula’s time was the most trusted coin throughout the Mediterranean world, because of its high and consistent purity (.986 gold). The Ottomans had not come up with a gold coin of their own in Dracula’s lifetime, so they also made use of the Venetian ducat.

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