The High Middle Ages

Magnus Lagabøte (Lawmender) and his sons developed the monetary system by introducing coin series consisting of several monetary units units and coin types: double-penny, penny, half-penny, quarter-penny and bracteates The new coins were markedly different from those of previous rulers, both in size and design. Never before had coins of such a large size been struck in Norway. 

In this period the Norwegian national coat of arms appeared on coins for the very first time.

Above: Eirik Magnusson (1280-1299), penny.

Coins from this period have been found under floorboards in churches throughout Norway. The distribution and volume of the coinage suggests that coins were used in all strata of society in large parts of Norway.

From this time on, references to coins start appearing more frequently in written records. Preserved documents show that coins were used for trade, fees, taxes and fines to the king, and for tithes and Peter's pence to the church.

In a letter to Archbishop Jon Raude, dated Rome, 31 January 1279, Pope Nicholas III complains that Norwegian coins are debased. The pope requested that all coins paid as tithes and Peter's pence in Norway be exchanged for goods. These goods were then to be sent abroad and traded for reliable international trade currency which would subsequently be sent to the pope's coffers.<

Magnus (the Lawmender) Lagabøte's common national law code of 1276 states that: "Forgery of our king's coins or his seal is an unforgivable offence."