Above: Penny from  
Harald Hardråde 

On three pennies minted under Harald Hardråde (1047-1066) we find inscriptions indicating Hamar as a mint site. Together with Nidarnes (Trondheim), Hamar is the oldest mint site in Norwegian history. All three pennies were part of a hoard found at Helgelandsmoen by Hønefoss in 1892.

One of the preserved documents from Norway's numismatic history is a letter on coining right for the Bishop of Hamar. In this letter from 1524, Bishop Magnus is ordered to coin wittens and four-wittens (skillings). The first was to be 1/96th of the 5/16-grade mark and the witten was to be 1/300th of the 4/16-grade mark. This probably referred to the Cologne mark that weighed approximately 230 grams.

In 1514, Christian II had decreed that the Cologne system of weights should apply in both Denmark and Norway. The king's letter instructed that the witten and four-witten were to have the same design. On the obverse should be the king's family coat-of-arms, in this case the Oldenburg weapon. The text was to read FREDERI[CUS] DEI GRA[TIA] REX NORVEGIE, "Frederick, by the grace of God, King of Norway". The Norwegian lion was to be placed on the reverse.

We do not know of any coins minted at Hamar according to the new guidelines; perhaps the letter to Bishop Magnus was never implemented.

Monetary unit:
Issuing authority:
Harald Hardråde