Monthly Archives: September 2012

Iceland: 100 krónur 1995

Now this coin is an interesting one. 100 kr is a large number for being on a coin. This of course represents the financial situation of Iceland at the time of the coins mintage, but believe me the numbers can be even bigger on coins (this I’m saving for the future).

The oddly looking fish, casually swimming to the left is a Lumpsucker fish, and since it’s featured on an Icelandic coin I would presume that they are quite common in the waters around Iceland. Fish is a common motive on coins from Iceland and this is because fishing is one of the main incomes of the country.

The four stylized creatures in the circle on the other side are protectors of Iceland and they are also found in the Icelandic coat of arms. They all represent different geographical areas on Iceland. The screaming eagle is called Gammur, the crazy dragon is called Dreki, the grumpy bull is called Griðungur, and the sturdy old man, which is actually a rock-giant, is called Bergrisi (but I think that he has many similarities with Gandalf from the Lord of the rings. Tolkien was in many aspects inspired by Norse mythology so he might have gotten some characteristics for Gandalf from Bergrisi.

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Denmark: 25 øre 1991

The øre is de subunit of the Danish krone. This is not the coin I wrote about in the about-section but it is of that kind. A lot of different countries use currencies with names similar to the Danish krone (Norwegian krone, Swedish krona, Icelandic króna and Czech koruna) and here we get an example of why. One side of the coin features a nice crown and krone basically means crowns. For the Scandinavian countries the name was taken during the founding of the Scandinavian Monetary Union in 1873. During the 19th century the Scandinavian countries turned to friendship instead of hostility and the union was a strategy to stabilize the currencies with support from each other. The crown is an obvious symbol of monarchy.

A little heart can be found on the coin and this is a symbol that’s been used in Denmark for several hundred years. Originally the hearts may have been lily pads transformed into hearts through the centuries. This symbol can also be found in the national coat of arms of Denmark.

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Norway: 5 øre 1962

The øre is the subunit of the Norwegian krone.

This Norwegian coin features former king Olav V on one side and a moose (elk, U.K.) on the other side. The moose is the largest animal in the deer family and they are widely spread over northern Europe, Russia, Canada and some parts of the U.S. The moose is a popular animal for hunting and their meat is appreciated by many. People from countries without the moose often tend to have a big fascination with them. In Sweden we normally talk about the Germen’s big interest in the moose which contributes to a lot of moose-related souvenirs.

Norway is today, in many different aspects, considered one of the best countries to live in – with the highest level of democracy, with good schools, healthcare, pension system and so on. Of course much of this welfare is a result of the oil from the North Sea which has made Norway one of the richest countries in the world.

This coin was minted 7 years before oil was found.

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Finland: 5 markkaa 1996

I love this coin! Esthetically it’s one of my favorite ones, and this all has to do with the seal – doing what seals do – relaxing on some rocks. This is a one of few freshwater seals and it’s called a Saimaa ringed seal which, unfortunately, is an endangered species. I especially like its whiskers. On the other side you have some lily pads and also a dragonfly.

As I mentioned in an earlier post Finland is very closely connected to Sweden. Close to 300 000 people in Finland speaks Swedish as a native language and Swedish language is a mandatory subject in Finnish schools. In recent years an opposition to the Swedish language has gained power, but as we see on this coin from 1996 the bilingualism of Finland is of importance. The Finnish markka was replaced by the euro in 2002.

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Sweden: 1 krona 2009

This coin is quite common in circulation here in Sweden. It’s the latest coin minted in Sweden (apart from the silver/gold “wedding coins” from 2010).

This coin features King Carl XIV Gustaf of Sweden just like the normal 1 krona, but the other side is different. In 2009 it was 200 years since Sweden got separated from Finland and it is this that the coin commemorates.

Finland was basically a part of the Swedish kingdom from the 13th century throughout the days of the grand Swedish empire until 1809 marking the definite end of Sweden’s days as a greater power in Europe. Finland was lost to the archenemy, Russia, and it was a huge defeat. This was not like losing a distant colony; this was a part of the motherland which was taken away – causing a huge political crisis in Sweden. From a Finnish perspective the separation was both negative and positive. Culturally the Finnish people were more connected with Sweden (a lot of them spoke Swedish as their native language). However, Finland would get the status as an autonomic grand duchy within the Russian empire thus taking one step towards independence.

This coin is not commemorating the separation as something regretful; instead it salutes the friendship shared between the two countries since the separation. The text on the reverse side translates into “The wonderful tale of a country on the other side of the ocean” and the stripes symbolize the sea and the sky between Sweden and Finland. The text is from Anton Rosell’s book Studiebesök i Finland from 1857.

It’s a beautiful coin in both design and symbolism.

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