Year 1055 

Harald Hardråde (Ruthless) establishes a national monetary system

After a period in the service of the Byzantine Emperor, Harald Hardråde returned to Scandinavia becoming the sole Norwegian king from 1047. Throughout his reign he issued pennies of one main type, with the triquetra on the obverse. This coin was based on a weight of 0.90 grams, which was 1/240 of the old Norwegian mark wieght unit of approximately 214-215 grams.

King Harald's mint sites were Nidarnes (Trondheim) and Hamar. By tracing the development of minting we can see that there was a systematic, planned degrading of the silver content. The silver content fell steadily and systematically from the international standard of approximately 90% to an average of only just above 30%. This debasement met with resistance. Old Norse sagas tell of men in the king's service who would not accept King Harald's coins. However, coin finds testify to these coins having been used and hoarded throughout the country.

Foreign coins Anglo-Saxon and German pennies in particular which dominate Norwegian hoards until the early reign of King Harald, disappeared from the circulating coinage and the Norwegian king's own coins became all-pervading.
A Harald Hardråde 
penny from Nidarnes

Obverse: the triquetra (a symbol of the Trinity)

A Harald Hardråde
penny from Nidarnes

Reverse: a double-armed cross


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