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Monetary History of Norway

Norway is part of Scandinavia and is situated in the far north of Europe, west of Sweden, Finland and Russia. The country has 2665 km of coastline and some of the largest glaciers in Europe. which to the north form parts of the Arctic Circle. Over a quarter of the territory is made up of vast forests and the coastline is famous for its narrow fingers of sea - known as "fjords" - which run between its cliffs. Norway is also known as the "land of the midnight sun. In effect, between May and June, most of the country is bathed in sunlight for up to 19 hours every single day.

Norway was first inhabited over 10’OOO years ago during the Ice Age. However, the country’s greatest impact on world history cause with the Viking Age (from 793 to 1066 AD). The Viking era commenced in the north-east of England in 793 AD, when Nordic Pirates invaded the monastery of Lindisfarne Island, off the Northumberland coast near Newcastle. Afterwards, they settled in many parts of northern England, making York the most important English city outside of London. They also conquered much of Ireland, capturing the capital Dublin, and explored Russia, the Baltic Countries, Poland, Germany, France and Spain, sailing their boats up the countries’ rivers. The Vikings were skilful sailors and have been the first Europeans to cross the Atlantic Ocean to North America nearly 501 years before Christopher Columbus. Shipbuilding was central to the sea-loving Vikings. Their boats - called "drakkars" -were extremely reliable and tough.

The Viking Age came to a remarkably gruesome end when the Norwegian King Harald Hardrada (1047 to 1066 AD), was beaten at the bloody Battle of Stamford Bridge in England by King Harold of Wessex. By this time the Vikings had already made a big impact on world history, particularly in Britain and Ireland. They left behind lots of important archaeological remains, which are still being discovered today.

Before the Viking Age, little to no coins were in use in Norway. As a matter of fact, only very few Roman coins have been found there. Hence, the first real influx of coinage came with the early Viking Age, and even then, the Norwegian Vikings considered these mainly as metals to be traded by weight. Later, the Vikings commenced to trade with Islamic Countries, for this reason silver dirhems are nowadays often found in Viking hoards. These dirhems have been used as means of payment during the Viking Age. together with Anglo-Saxon and German coins.

The minting of coins in Norway itself began under King Olaf Tryggvason (995 to 1000 AD) with a copy of the Crux Penny of Etheired II of England These coins, and those of King Olaf Haraldsson (1015 to 1030 AD), which also copied Anglo-Saxon designs, are very rare. The main Norwegian series began under King Harald Hardrada (1047 to 1066 AD) with silver pennies of the mysterious Triqueta design, said to have a religious and magical significance. By the Twelfth Century the Norwegian pennies turned into bracteates bearing simply a single letter. King Magnus VI (1263 to 1280 AD) re-established coins with designs on both sides.

King Erik (1280 to 1299 AD) and King Haakon V (1299 to 1319 AD) maintained these larger pennies. After this phaae, coinage reverted again to small bracteates with a single-letter design. This lasted until the end of Norwegian independence in 1387 AD, when the Danish King inherited the Norwegian throne.

Norway remained in union with Denmark until 1815. Throughout this epoch the Norwegian symbol of a lion with axe appeared on most Danish issues. At first only small base-silver hvid.s and some larger ailver coins issued by the Archbishop of Trondheim, Olaf Engelbrektason (1523 to 1537 AD), were struck in Norway. Later, in the Sixteenth Century, a mint in Kongsberg began to strike coins equivalent to the Danish denominations but with different designs, usually featuring the King’s bust or a crowned monogram on one side and the Norwegian lion with axe on the other.

In 1812 Norway was conquered by Sweden and until 1905 all coins were issued in the name of the Swedish kings. In 1872 the Scandinavian kingdoms aligned their currencies in the Scandinavian Monetary Union. This produced a new decimal monetary system based on the Krone of 100 Ore. The new coins were of bronze (1,2 and 5 Ore), silver (10,23 and 50 Ore, 1 and 2 Kroner) and gold (10 and 20 Kroner).

With the establishment of Norway as a separate kingdom under Haakon VII in 1905, the decimal system was maintained, although some of the designs were changed, markedly the introduction of Saint Olaf on the back of both gold issues. However, circulation gold coins ceased to be produced in 1910 and cupro-nickel replaced the silver in 1920. From 1921 to 1951 Norwegian coins had the distinctive feature of a hole in the centre in the middle of a cross formed by four crowned monograms. During both World Wars uncommon metals were used to struck coins: iron in 1917-21 and zinc in 1941-45 during German occupation. In 1942 some brass-nickel coins were struck for the Norwegian government in exile in London.

After the Second World War the Norwegian coinage returned to cupro-nichel and bronce. In 1963 a 5 Kroner coin was added. New designs were made in 1951 1958 and in 1974. In 1983 a 10 Kroner coin was also added to the circulation coinage. Some commemorative issues also have been made, markedly a 100 Kroner in silver was minted in 1982 in honor of the 25th anniversary of King Olaf V’s accession to the throne.



The above text was from the Europroben/Pattern Norge 2004 coin set that you can see in the picture on the right.

The coins in this set has no legal tender value.

The coins are not real Norwegian Euro coins, because as you probably know, Norway still uses kroner as their currency.

Nevertheless, we like the story above and the coins with it. You can purchase this coin set for $399 US Dollars.



Euros from Norway


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