Bracteate of the bull-head-type
Bracteates and hohlpfennigs from Mecklenbug with a bull head as a motif. The bull head was taken from the Mecklenburg coat of arms. These coins were very common in the Nordic countries. As a result, some experts believe that they may also have been minted in these countries.


Bracteate sampler
A slab marked from the testing of bracteate dies.


Burnt silver
Silver with an average purity of 985 milligrams per gram, as was used for coin production. The term refers to the refining method. C.f. pure silver.


Coin engraver
A profession at a mint. The engraver was responsible for engraving dies used for striking coins. His mark or initials are often found, discreetly placed on the coin.


Conscripted fleet
In coastal areas there was originally a naval defence system based on the farmers' contributions of ships and men. In the course of the 1100s and the 1200s this system was replaced by an annual tax.


Coronation coin
The coronation coin for the crowning of Carl Johan in Trondheim on September 7, 1818. In keeping with an old tradition in Sweden, among other places, these coins were thrown to the crowds in the streets and public squares after the coronation ceremony.


The value of an individual coin or note (for example 10-krone, 50-øre, 24-skilling). See also Monetary unit.


Die links
Die links refers to a situation where two coins have been struck with the same die on one side and different dies on the other. In this way, the side that is struck with the same die links the different dies that have been used for the opposite side.


A dirham is an Arabic silver coin from about year 697, weighing approximately 3 grams. This is the coin most commonly found in Norwegian and Nordic finds from before the year 1000. In Norway more than 500 dirhams have been discovered in hoards and stray finds throughout the country.


Emergency issue
In times of crisis emergency issue is common, coins minted in substitute metal giving them a metal value far below their nominal value, or coins minted without the usual care, resulting in rather primitive coins.


An ertog was a unit of weight in the old Norwegian system of weights. One ertog equals 10 pennies, 3 ertogs equals 1 øre and 24 ertogs equals one mark.


The fineness indicates the content of precious metal in the coins. The fineness of silver coins was measured in marks, one mark being 16 lod. Gold coins were measured in marks of 24 carats. Today, fineness is measured in parts per thousand.


A gold coin first issued in Florence in 1252. The coin quickly became international currency and was copied by all major powers in Europe.


Copper ore containing small amounts of silver, a by-product of silver mining. The silver content could reach 2-3%.


Gold standard
This indicates that a nation's coin and bank notes are backed by a gold reserve. In principle, notes can be exchanged for gold according to current rates. The Central Bank of Norway still has a gold reserve dating from the time when Norway had a gold standard. Its value is, of course, far from that of all the money circulating in the country today.


Gulden or guilder
Gulden or guilder is the term for a florin, florin copies and coins that succeeded the florin.
The study of armorial insignia and, in a broader sense, of public emblems, symbols and flags. Coins often bear heraldic motifs.


The Igelösa hoard
A hoard with approximately 2060 coins from the Viking Age, mostly Anglo-Saxon and German pennies. The hoard was found in 1924 at the cemetery at Igelösa in Skåne, southern Sweden. This find includes the best-preserved example of Olav Tryggvason's penny. The find is dated to just after 1005.


The time during which a throne is vacant and the country is ruled, for example, by a national council. In such periods the national council itself would issue coins or delegate this authority to others.



Coins struck from square-shaped blanks. Klippen were typically minted in times of crisis and were therefore typically rather roughly made.


A Danish-Norwegian currency through the last half of the 1600s that had a lower value (measured in silver) than the preceding and contemporary species currency. This was also the name chosen for the Norwegian monetary system from 1875.


A Danish-Norwegian currency from the end of the 1600s and through the 1700s. It had a lower value, measured in silver, than did the preceding and contemporary krone- and species currencies.


Letter bracteate
A number of medieval bracteates and hohlpfennig from Norway, Sweden and northern Germany had a letter of the alphabet as their primary motif. It has been suggested that the letter might indicate the mint site or the issuing authority, but there is no general agreement about their significance.


The Lübeck monetary system
The monetary system originating in the Hanseatic city of Lübeck was important in northern Europe in the late Middle Ages and into our more recent history. The system was based on the Cologne mark which was approximately 230 grams of silver (see mark).


An old unit of weight. In the Middle Ages a Norwegian mark was approximately 214 grams. The mark was divided in 8 øre, while 8 øre = 24 ertogs = 240 pennies. King Hans introduced the Cologne mark in Norway in the end of the 1400s. This mark weighed 230 grams. In this new monetary system, the Lübeck monetary system, the sub units were: 1 mark = 16 skillings = 192 pennies.


Mine month
At the silver mine at Kongsberg the year was divided into 13 mine months of 28 days each. This was a common arrangement at the mines.

The leading civil servant responsible for minting. The office was often hereditary. In this position there was ample opportunity to acquire illicit income through coining although this was, of course, strictly prohibited. In 1125, 94 English Mint-masters were mutilated by King Henry I for having succumbed to this temptation. In 1727, the Norwegian Mint-master Henrik Christofer Meyer was sentenced to death for having minted debased coins. In the Middle Ages the Mint-master was often also a goldsmith.


The headdress of bishops in the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches.


Money of account
This refers to a monetary unit that is not actually coined, but is used in accounts and as a "bridge" between different types of money.

  Monetary unit

The designation of the unit by which the coin's value is given (for example krone, skilling, øre).


This word of Greek origin refers to the study of coins. The words numismatics and numismatist have broad definitions, which include the strictly scientific work carried out at universities and museums as well as the activities of coin collectors associations. A number of coin dealers in various countries are members of the International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN).


A Greek monetary unit. The term was used for halfpennies in Latin texts from the Middle Ages.


In this context, the obverse refers to the front of the coin.

An "ort", a quarter, was equal to 24 skillings from the 1620s. These were the primary small-denomination coins in Norway in the 1700s. In the Norwegian monetary system of 1816, one species taler equalled 5 ort = 120 skillings.


Coins struck using other coins. It is often possible to see traces of the old coin's design under the new pattern. The method was typically used in times of crisis.


Peter's pence
A fee that was collected and paid to the Pope in Rome in the Middle Ages. It was introduced in Norway in 1152. Originally, everyone who owned three marks, a weapon and good clothing was to pay one penny per year. Not many records have been found indicating when the fee was collected though it survived until 1529.


Pure silver
It was generally not possible to produce pure (100%) silver in the Middle Ages, but this was a technical accounting term used in mint ordinances and when paying for deliveries of silver.

The two-krone note issued by the occupation authorities during World War II was popularly referred to as a "Quisling". The one-krone note was called an "Usling", meaning a coward, wretch or scoundrel. So a "Quisling" was worth two "Usling".


The legally permissible deviation, upward and downward, from the specified gross- and net weight.


In the old Norwegian legal system, this was a special law ordained by the king. In particular, this would refer to amendments to the existing law code.


The reverse side of the coin, as opposed to the obverse.


The Norwegian term for taler, divided in 96 skillings. The riksdaler formed the basis of the country's monetary system from the 1500s to 1813. Usually, it was not issued as an individual coin.

For struck coins there were three systems operating in parallel: riksdaler species, riksdaler kroner and riksdaler kurant.

There were significant differences between the three systems. When comparing a species taler, six marks and 96 skillings, for example, each group represented the same number of skillings, but the difference in silver content was nearly 10 grams.


The profit made from coining; i.e. the difference between the cost of production and the nominal value of the coins.


The officially decreed content of precious metal in a coin. In former times this was typically expressed by specifying how many or which value of the main coin unit was to be coined from one unit of weight of the precious metal.


The Sigtuna coinage
In Sigtuna by Uppsala in Sweden, pennies were being minted in the name of Olof Skötkonung around the same time that Olav Tryggvason was issuing pennies in Norway. The reverse inscription on Olof Skötkonung's and Olav Tryggvason's pennies indicate that the English Mint-master Godwine was involved in both coinings.



Species taler
In the Danish-Norwegian monetary system three different systems were used:
  1. The species taler was the main coin in the system.
  2. The krone coin was a medium sized silver coin worth 2/3 of a species taler (4 mark).
  3. All small-denomination coins were referred to as kurant-coins.
The main unit in all three systems was called a riksdaler. There were 96 skillings to each riksdaler. The silver content of a riksdaler was different in the three systems. While the species taler had a silver content of 25.28 grams, the riksdaler krone had a silver content of 22.48 grams and the riksdaler kurant only 20.63 grams.


The term for the Danish-Norwegian (and international) currency from the end of the 1500s. This currency was gradually replaced by the krone-currency and from about 1700, by the kurant-currency. Towards the end of the 1700s there was a failed attempt to reintroduce the species currency.


The name of the English penny. In the Middle Ages the sterling was minted as a silver coin with 925/1000 fineness (giving rise to the term sterling silver). The sterling coin types were widely used and copied on the continent and to a certain degree also in Norway or Scandinavia.


XXX  (Stokkprøve)
A production test sample of the finished, struck coins..


The treaty between Magnus Lagabøte (Lawmender) and Archbishop Jon Raude in Tønsberg in 1277. This treaty secured the church the right to mint coins, extensive tax exemptions and other privileges.


XXX  (Tein)
A flat, cast bar of currency metal that was rolled or hammered into the thickness the coin was to have.


Travel dollar
In the 1700s these coins were struck for official royal visits to Norway. They were originally intended be used during the journey as rewards and honours and typically bore a political inscription flattering the people the king was visiting. One such coin from 1788, for example, bears the inscription:


Actually, a "tenth". A church tax that was introduced in Norway by Sigurd Jorsalfare (the crusader) around 1120. A tenth of all income was to be paid to the church in the form of coins, silver or produce.


XXX  (Tilsats)
A metal that was alloyed with silver to achieve the correct fineness for the currency metal. This metal could be either granaille-copper containing small amounts of silver, or pure copper.


Numismatists and other experts have interpreted the triquetra-motif in many different ways when appearing in a Nordic context.
Today the triquetra symbol is generally considered a motif with a certain magical-religious significance
A one-krone note issued by the occupying powers during WWII. It was popularly referred to as an "usling", or a "wretch". The two-krone note was called a "Quisling". So a "Quisling" was the equivalent of two "usling".


Weight system
Before the decimal system was introduced, silver and gold were weighed according to the following system:

 1 mark = 16 lodd
1 lodd = 4 kvintin
1 kvintin = 4 pennies


Wig eight-skilling
Eight-skilling pieces from Frederick IV. The obverse carries his picture, a portrait very much dominated by his large wig. This coin was struck in very large numbers from 1700 to1715, in the early part of Frederick's reign. Later, they were often used by farmers as vest and jacket buttons.


A silver coin minted in the German city of Lübeck from 1365. Its value was four pennies or 1/3 skilling. King Hans introduced the coin in Norway where it was referred to as "hvid". The last "hvid" issued in Norway was minted in Bergen in 1575-78.


A unit of weight used in the Middle ages (see mark). Also a monetary unit in the Norwegian monetary system from 1875.