In the early 1600's, the Dutch had the largest merchant fleet in
Europe. They worked closely with the Portuguese and were able to
collect valuable maps and directions. This lead to the 1600's
becoming known as the "Golden Age" of Dutch history. The Dutch East
India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC, in Dutch)
was established at the beginning of this time in 1602. They were
one of the first multinational corporations and the first company
to issue stock. Originally, it was set up to profit from the spice
trade but, due to great success, it gained power including
governmental support, the ability to wage war, coin money, and
In 1609, Henry Hudson was sent to on an exploratory mission of
North America. His goal was to find a Northwest Passage, an all
water route to China through America. He explored the area around
the New York Metropolitan area, which lead to the Hudson River
being named after him. While exploring he discovered the abundance
of beavers and sent news about the exploitation of beaver pelts.
Trappers and hunters came and New Netherlands officially became a
Dutch settlement in 1624 (in 1667 it was renamed New York). The
capital of was New Amsterdam located on the southern tip of
Manhattan. This land was purchased from the Shinnecock Indians for
trade goods valued at around $24. The Native Americans had no
concept of land ownership and only later came to understand what
the Dutch had in mind.
Due to the fact that the Dutch were instrumental in the founding
of New York, their coinage joined the Spanish, Portuguese, and
British coins used for daily transactions in the American colonies.
The duit was a small copper Dutch coin minted by the Dutch East
India Company for use wherever the Dutch settled or traded. The
duit was worth 2 penning, with 8 duit pieces equal to one stuiver
and 160 equal to one gulden. These coins, monogramed with VOC, were
valid in Indonesia and later in the Americas. The obverse contains
the VOC monogram with a date below between 1726 and 1794. The
reverse contains crowned arms of the respective province. The duit
was often used as a cent, earning it the title of "New York's First
Today, if you know what you are looking for, you can add one of
New York's First cents to your collection for around $10!
Ames, Glenn J. (2008). The Globe Encompassed: The Age of
European Discovery, 1500-1700. pp. 102-103.
Wikipedia: Dutch East India Company
Encyclopaedia Britannica: Dutch East India Company
GovMint.com New York Penny Dutch Duit Copper