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Sweden´s first coin

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Sweden´s first coin

When King Olof Eriksson (“Skötkonung” eng. “tax-king” or “coin-king”), seized the power, Sigtuna was still in an early stage of development. Eriksson was the son and successor of Erik Segersäll (the Victorious), Sigtuna’s founder and his ambition was to build a great kingdom. How could he convince the people that a new time had come and a new Christian kingdom was emerging? Should he follow the Christian kings in Europe and thus convince the elite to believe and take part in the “project”?

Christian kings minted coins and King Olof decided to take after their initiative. Hence, he brought the English mint masters to Sigtuna to learn from their proceedings. In the year of 995, the first coin of Sweden was established. One side was embellished with the Swedish King and the Christian cross on the other.

The royal image of the so called “Olof coin” is an exact copy of the English king’s portrait. The text around the image is in Latin characters (new in this part of the region) “OLOF REX SVEVORUM” Olof King of Sweden or King of the Svear. But the local craftsmen did not have the same knowledge of the Latin alphabet as the English mint masters. It resulted in coins with a mix of runic and Latin letters, known as marbarous coins. During the period from 995 to 1030, more than 2 million coins were made in Sigtuna.

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