August 24, 2014

1204 SWEDEN - The world's largest struck coin

In 1646 a ship, loaded with iron bars, was wrecked in the archipelago of Gryt in Östergötland. In the cabin there was a chest containing nearly two thousand Swedish copper coins. Furthermore, five newly issued plate money coins were kept in the cabin. The denomination of each one of them was 10 daler sm, four of them were struck in 1644 and one in 1645, during the reign of Queen Christina of Sweden. The lack of silver in Sweden at the beginning of the 17th c. was the main reason why copper coins were brought into production, the first ones being issued in 1624 in low denominations.

As many as 26 539 plate money coins with the denomination of ten daler sm were minted during 1644. In 1645 only 235 pieces were struck until the production ceased. The centre stamp shows X DALER Sölff:Mnt (10 daler silver coin) and the mintmaster’s mark, Markus Kock. The corner stamps show a royal crown and the initials C R S (Christina Regina Sveciae = Christina, the Queen of Sweden) 1644.

The weight is no less than 19,7kg (equivalent to 2 lispund and 18 markpund) and the size about 62x33cm, so it is considered the world's largest coin ever struck. Later the smaller denominations of 8, 4, 2, 1 and ½ daler sm were issued. The size was chosen so that the amount of copper should correspond to the same denomination in silver coins. In practice, the way in which plate coins were used depended on the price of copper, but were too difficult to handle.

Soon the Stockholms Banco received them for deposition in the bank and left written receipts to the depositors. The very first banknotes in Europe had started. After 1776 the plates were regarded purely as metal. Only eight 10 daler plates still exist, and the one in the postcard is exposed to the Royal Coin Cabinet in Stockholm, the only museum in Europe concentrating on financial history.

About the stamp
The stamp, depicting Baltic Hawker and issued on June 23, 2014, is actually a reissue,  in a new color and with a new denomination (SEK 14) of a stamp belonging to a series with insects, issued on January 10, 2013, about which I wrote here.

The World's Largest Coins! - Royal Coin Cabinet

Sender: Ona Frantz and Michael Haulică
Sent from Stockholm (Stockholm / Sweden), on 29.07.2014
Photo: G. Hildebrand

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