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Used for the payment of large sums, the Portuguese gold Joe, was minted in Brazil and named after King John V (1706-1750) of Portugal, who introduced the gold coin in 1722.

This Portuguese gold coin was an important trading coin in Curaçao beginning in 1785. At its introduction, the coin was worth 90 reales.

As with most coins, the Joe was counterfeited on a large scale. These imitations contained less gold. Subsequently, the Government decided to provide the best specimens with an identifying mark.

 

 

 

  


This mark or “beat” was executed by the local goldsmith, Godhelp Israel Hoyer, who used his own initials “GIH” as a hallmark. This “beat”, of course, also was counterfeited.

The gold Joe and its imitations remained valid in Curaçao until 1826.

 

 

 



From the discovery of Curaçao by the Spaniards in 1499 until the end of the 18th century, mainly Spanish colonial coins were used for payments.

At the end of the 18th century, commerce stagnated in Curaçao. Because imports of goods exceeded exports, a shortage of coins soon occurred.

Subsequently, in 1799, Governor Johan Lauffer cut 8,000 Spanish silver pesos (8 reales) into four pieces and gave each quarter piece the value of 3 reales.

Because of the alleged production method, these new coins got the name of “guillotine,” the name used for the headman’s instrument in the French Revolution. In Papiamento, “guillotine” was corrupted to “Yotin Kòrtá.”
 

 

 



At the beginning of the 19th century, the financial housekeeping in the colony of Curaçao was tremendously chaotic. There was a constant shortage of money, and a great number of foreign coins were used in commerce. Cutting the Pillar dollar, abolishing the Joe, and introducing new coins did not produce the desired solution. The Netherlands intervened. On October 31, 1826, the Coin Regulation for Curaçao was implemented. This law stipulated that as of January 1, 1827, the coins used in the Netherlands had to be used in the islands. Only a few Curaçao coins were allowed to remain in circulation: the 3 reales (having a value of Nfl. 0.50) and the Curaçao five-cent piece (Nfl. 0.05). The other reales were withdrawn from circulation and shipped to the Netherlands, where they were remelted.

 

 

 



For commerce with foreign countries, the silver pillar dollar and a few gold coins were maintained.

Unfortunately, the introduction of a new system of coins did not bring about any change in the chaotic financial housekeeping in the Colony. King William I then pinned his hope on establishing a Government Bank, the forerunner of the present Bank of the Netherlands Antilles.

 

 

 



The first production of coins, especially for Curaçao, dates back to 1821. In an unknown factory in the United States, coins with a value of one real were minted by order of the Governor of Curaçao. A year later, the order for five-cent pieces followed. On these coins, the name of Curaçao appeared for the first time.

In 1826, a law established that legal coins in the Netherlands also had to be used in Curaçao. Nevertheless, several types of foreign coins remained in circulation, in Curaçao.

The number of Dutch coins shipped to Curaçao remained insufficient. Cutting coins into “triangles” was now common. In 1838, it was decided to use the Dutch guilders with the image of King William I instead of the Spanish coins, and one guilder was cut into four quarters.
 

 

 



Cutting the coins did not produce a solution, to the shortage of small change. Three private trading firms in Curaçao, Naar, Jessurun and Leyba, subsequently had five-cent pieces produced in 1875.

On the five-cent pieces made by Leyba were the letters L&Co. On the five-cent pieces made by Naar were the letters J.J.N.. Jessurun had the letters J&Co put on its five-cent pieces. These privately produced five-cent pieces apparently were withdrawn after a few years.

In 1900 and 1901, two coins were nevertheless specially made for the COLONY OF CURAÇAO: a 1/4 and a 1/10 guilder. These two coins were not valid in the Netherlands.


 

 

 



During the Second World War, the Dutch Government introduced a separate currency system for Curaçao. As the Netherlands was occupied, the coins were minted in Denver, Colorado, in the United States.

After the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945, the minting of Antillean coins was taken over by the Royal Mint in Utrecht. Although the Netherlands opted for a completely new series of coins, the Antilles decided to hold on to the coins used before the Second World War.

Because of the rise in the price of silver, a revision of the series of coins became necessary at the end of the 1960s. As an experiment, a new series of coins was introduced in 1969 in an issue of only 200 pieces. A year later, in 1970, the definitive execution in greater issues was initiated.

 

 



The coins not only were provided with new designs, but also were made of different materials. Silver was replaced by nickel, and in 1979 bronze was replaced by aluminum.

In 1986 the island of Aruba acquired its “status aparte” and a completely new coin of its own. Thus, it became necessary to revise the series of coins for the remaining five islands of the Antilles, and more than the coat of arms was changed.
A completely new series of coins was developed by the Royal Mint in Utrecht, taking as a starting point the design of the square five-cent piece from 1913: a fruit-bearing orange branch. In the new series of coins, the 2½-cent piece was eliminated, and the five-cent piece or stiver was executed in a round shape. The characteristic square shape of the Antillean series of coins was reserved in the new series for the newly introduced 50-cent piece. The pieces with a higher value are executed in a gold-colored metal.

 



 



Since 1973, the Government of the Netherlands Antilles has issued commemorative coins on the occasion of special events.

When issued, these coins always have the status of legal tender, but they generally are not found in the normal circulation of money due to their often higher value.

The special design of the coins, the extra care given to quality during their production and the limited issue make these pieces real collectors’ items.