How much Money was a Pattacon?

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How much money was a Pattacon?


Jonathan Spangler (New College, Oxford), 5 Feb 2002

In trying to add up sums for dowry totals, I have run across some currencies I am unsure of for the mid-to-late 17th-century from France's neighbours to the north-east. Does anyone know what a pattacon was? It is given as the value of two lordships in the duchy of Juliers/Juelich. It's listed alongside Imperial florins and Rhine florins and risdalles (reichsthalers), so it must therefore be a different entity.

On the matter of florins. Rhine and Dutch florins are given values per livre tournois in my documents, and values per pounds sterling in G. Parker's Europe in Crisis. But what about Brabant florins (ie, main currency for the Spanish Netherlands)? One manuscript from 1727 says they are 1 to 1 with the livre tournois, while another from 1641 gives 1 florin = 1.25 liv. tourn. Is there a well-accepted standard? And Imperial florins?

This same contract (beleive it or not), also contains sums in francs de Lorraine, which I believe are the same as francs barrois, so conversion rate of 3/7 to the livre.

Perhaps this is a question for H-Germany, if such a thing exists. Thanks for any suggestions

Michael Kunzel, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Numismatics, 8 Mar 2002

A look into the Numismatisches Lexikon answers your question at least partly:

Patagon, Spanish for Albertus- or Kreuztaler, introduced by the Spanish gouvernors Albert and Isabella in 1612. The value was set at 18 sol (Patard or Stüver — a French pound, livre, had 20 sols). Spain's troups named the coin "Patagon", and the Spanish Netherlands issued Patagons till around 1700. From 1659 to 1802 the Netherlands issued their own Patagons. With c. 1,3 g fine silver both had less value than the German Reichsthaler and were hence able to rival the German coin in trade, especially in the Baltlic eastern European states where the Patagon bacame the most important coin of the 17th century.

Since 1601 the Netherands issued a silver Gulden (florin), which had nothing to do with the German silver Reichsgulden of 60 Kreuzer or the rheinische Gulden (a gold coin). The Dutch Gulden had a value of 28 Stüver (rheinisch-westfälische Stüber) or 14 Dutch Styvers.

As you see the thing is getting more and more complicated. Maybe the specialists of the Rijksmuseum, Koninklijk Penningkabinet, NL 2301 EA Leiden <>, will have better precise information.

Bayerische Numismatische Gesellschaft eV, 11 Mar 2002

Patagon = Large Crown-size silver coin, introduced in the Spanish Netherlands by the governors Albert and Isabella in 1612, worth 18 Patard (Sol), minted until 1700. The coin was called Patagon by the Spanish soldiers or Albertustaler. From 1659 to 1802 Albertustaler were minted by the United Netherlands (officially called Silver Dukat).

Aila de la Rive, 12 Mar 2002

»Pattacon«, »Patagon« or Albertustaler - popular name of the »Sovereign«, the large silver coin issued in the Spanish Netherlands from 1612 to 1712. The Patagon crossed the borders into the Netherlands, where it became more important than the Dutch Rix Dollar. In 1633 the republic accepted the Patagon as legitimate currency. The existence of two large silver coins resulted in the parallel existence of a Courant-Gulden and a Bank-Gulden. The Courant-Gulden was based on the Patagon and had about 5% less weight than the Bank-Gulden.

Hubert Lanz, 13 Mar 2002

A silver coin in the southern Netherlands worth 48 Stuivers. For further information you might contact Dr. Ilisch of the Landesmuseum Münster.,

Wim Beyers, 15 Mar 2002

An ancestor...

Jan Beijers overleed te Wuustwezel op 7 maart 1745 op 65-jarige leeftijd. Zijn vrouw heeft daarna afgezien van het landbouwbedrijf en in overleg met haar oudste zoon het landbouwalaam, het merendeel van hun meubelen en de ganse veestapel, bestaande uit 5 koeien, 2 vaarzen, 1 kalf, 1 os, 2 paarden en 16 stokken bijen, alsmede den corenwasch te velde staende publiek verkocht, hetgeen samen 1347 gulden, 1 stuiver, 3 oorden en 9 mijten opbracht. Van dit bedrag stond ze in akkoord met haar zoon, een lening toe aan het dorp van Wuustwezel ten belope van 1000 gulden in courant geld, de ducaten aan 3 gulden 10 stuivers, de pattacon aan 2 gulden 16 stuivers en de brabantse schelling aan 7 stuivers per stuk gerekend, tegen een jaarlijkse interest, den penninck sesthiene, dit wil zeggen aan 6 1/4 per honderd of 62 guldens 10 guldens sjaars, die terloops gezegd, op 29 november 1766 gerembourseerd werd.

Jan Beijers passed away in Wuustwezel, on March 7th 1745, aged 65 years. His wife decided to not take over the farm and, after talking with her oldest son, publicily sold the farming tools, most of the furniture and the complete livestock, including 5 cows, 2 heifers, 1 calf, 1 ox, 2 horses, and 16 beehives, and also the wheat that was still on the fields. From this public selling they all together gained 1347 »gulden« (guilders), 1 »stuiver«, 3 »oorden« and 9 »mijten«. From this amount of money, she agreed with her son, to grant a loan to the village of Wuustwezel of 1000 »gulden« in cash money, the »ducaten« at 3 »gulden«, 10 »stuivers«, the »pattacon« at 2 »gulden«, 16 »stuivers« and the »brabantse schelling« at 7 »stuivers« each...

So, a »pattacon« seems to equal something around 2 gulden and 16 stuivers, at least in this loan agreement that was made around 1750 in the southern part of what then were the Netherlands (and now is northern Belgium). - Hope this helps a little.

Olaf Simons, 11 Sep. 2004


your question - and the reaction it received (I asked some experts) was quite an inspiration to make life easier — and to create the Marteau Early 18th-Century Currency Converter:

The Pattacon was Flemish, so take (if you feel comfortable with English Pounds) our Pond-Vlaams-into-English-Pounds-Converter. The table on the page tells you that a Pattacon equalled 48 stiuvers or 96 grooten Vlaams (in 1709). Put in 96 grooten Vlaams, press the button and you shall get the result in English shillings and pence: 4s. 6d. - that's 54d. The sum in pence only is of further use if you take a look into Newton's 1702 assay of European coins. Here you find the precise metal values of the most important European coins in decimalised pence: 52.91d. for a 48 stiuver Flemish Patagon — the pure metal value for 1702, and a value not really accepted by the market. Newton's table offers you some more insight, as it also lists the other Patagons circulating: The Patagon of the Bishop of Liege (52.48d.) and the 50 styvers Patagon of Holland (52.28d.). You may use our Nederlandse-Gulden-into-English-Pounds-Converter - insert 50 stuivers, and that's again 4s. 6d. - we have insisted on the market value. The metal weight is given in Newton's table, so that you can get the precise modern values, if you are satisfied with metal values. Hm, I feel that is as precise as you can get.

I confess, I enjoyed your question.


A postscript on the difference between the market value and the "real" value: Newton states this difference more precisely in a memorial as Master of the Mint on Oct. 7th 1712: English pounds, he says, are converted into Dutch Guilders at a rate of £9 : 100 fl. (which was the rate our conversion tool used). Insisting on the metal value one should, however, so he claims, get 103.25 Guilders for 9 pounds. Our conversion tool told you that you had to pay 54 pence to get a 50 stiuver Dutch Patagon - a Patagon worth only 52.28 pence according to Newton's 1702 assay. "Holland is overvalued by about 3.25 per cent" Newton kept on insisting in 1712.