Junk box gems: a coin from Friesland


18 October 2018
Could you identify this mystery coin found in a dealer's junk box? Discover more about the coin and its origins in our regular junk box gems feature…

Copper; half-length figure in a cap, sword on shoulder, ‘FO’ at sides. Reverse; arms, two lions, MO NOVA ORDINVM FRISI 1612’ (or bits of it!).

This is an ‘oort’ or two duits or, as there are eight duits to a stuiver, a quarter-stuiver.

The arms show it is of Friesland. In 1612 this was part of the Republic of the United Netherlands, which had broken away from Spain, but it was a federal republic in which the seven provinces made their own coinage to an agreed standard.

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The figure is a Dutch Boer - a Boer is simply a farmer, he does not have to be South African.

The ‘FO’ stands for the Frisii Ordines the Council of Friesland.