Olav Tryggvasons mynthistorie

Olav Tryggvason's coinage

Mint site:
Monetary units:
Edge inscription:
ONLAF REX NOR - Olav, King of the Norwegians

Shortly after he was made king in Norway in the summer of 995, Olav Trygvason started minting silverpennies in his own name with the edge inscription ONLAF REX NORmannorum, "Olav the king of the Norwegians". On the front of the coin - the adverse - is a portrait of a king, a bust with a sceptre. On the back - the reverse - is a cross with a letter in each corner that together make up the word CRVX, or crux, the Latin word for "cross". Naturally, this is in reference to the Christian cross. This motif was not one which Olav Trygvason had designed. Both sides of his penny are faithful copies of the Anglo-Saxon penny type that can be dated to the years 991-997. At that time Ethelred II ruled in England. He was given the sobriquet "the Unread" (den rådville) as a result of being at a loss for ideas in the battle against the Viking army led jointly by Olav Tryggvason and the Dane, Svend Tveskæg (Forkbeard). King Ethelred could come up with only one solution: paying tribute, or large sums of money, referred to as "danegeld", to ensure peace. With this money in his coffers, mostly Anglo-Saxon Crux pennies, Olav Tryggvason returned home in the spring of 995. Perhaps he also brought with him an Anglo-Saxon mint-master. This is suggested by the signature on King Olav's pennies: the Anglo-Saxon moneyer Godwine.

The four pennies preserved from Olav Tryggvason are all stamped with the same stamps.