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DUCAT. The name of a foreign coin. The ducat of Naples shall be estimated in the computations of customs, at eighteen cents. Act of May 22, 1846.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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For example, a banker in Venice who sold Venetian ducats at, let us say, 53 English sterlings per ducat with the understanding that he would repurchase them three months later at the rate of 50 sterlings, would make a profit of 3 sterlings per ducat, whether the ducat in the meantime went up or down, and it made no difference whether or not bills were actually sent to London for collection.
In the 14th and 15th centuries they watched the Venetian ducat -- this was the US dollar of its time.