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Coins- Three kings in the period 1741-1777

Fredrik V.jpg
Christian VI     
Christian VI.jpg
Fredrik V
Christian VII.jpg
Christian VII

Coin crisis for King Christian VII

At the end of the 18th century, Christian VII ruled Norway. Christian VII's time as king was not a good period for the kingdom. The main source of income, the king's silver mines on Kongsberg, had provided huge profits for over a hundred years. 

Within a few years, however, the situation began to change, and the amount of silver mined dropped dramatically. The decline in silver extraction at Kongsberg led to two crises at once. First, the finances of the king and the government were severely weakened. Secondly, an acute shortage of coins began to emerge, which had serious consequences for the country's trade and conduct.

Should liquor solve the crisis?

The severe lack of silver meant that the king had to look around for other metals to make coins from. The alternative of that time was copper, but the king had no copper mines. 

That was when the king came up with a good idea. The country was filled with large copper boilers, which were used for home-fired production. This represented a significant amount of copper, and these boilers could well come in handy!

Drunkenness and alcoholism were a significant societal problem. The king's idea was to ban private alcohol production and seize the copper boilers. He could then melt the copper from the boilers and use it for coin production. 

Despite the fact that the king himself drank like a sponge, he ordered the police to fine home burning and to confiscate all liquor boilers. Christian VII has not had a good legacy, but in monetary policy he was not so stupid! Rarely has a coin come about in a more creative way!

Christian VII's year forgery

However, the strange story of the liquor penny did not stop here. The price of spirits is unusual in several ways. 1771 was the first year of production of the legendary 1-shilling. 

The strange thing was, however, that when the production of the coin continued in 1772, they chose to keep the year 1771. The same thing happened the following year again. In fact, for almost fifteen years, coins dating to 1771 were being minted.

Coin historians believe that the king simply hid how many copper coins were minted. 

He concealed this by saying that all coins had the year 1771. When the copper from the liquor boilers ran out, copper was imported. 

In recent years, coin historians have concluded that most 1-shillings were minted on copper from Sweden and Germany at the mines in Schleswig-Holstein, Copenhagen and at Kongsberg. 

It is not possible to determine which of the shillings are minted on seized copper, but the coin is no less legendary for that reason. The coin still goes by the nickname "liquor penny" and is today an exciting contemporary witness from Norway at the end of the 18th century with a period of prohibition and economic crisis under King Christian VII.

Source: Samlerhuset

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