Interesting facts about the Swedish Krona

Sweden is a Scandinavian country situated in northern Europe. It is one of those very few countries who despite being a member of the European Union did not join the Eurozone and retained its national currency- the Krona (SEK). Swedes seemed to be too proud of their Krona to adopt a shared currency with the other European countries. A majority of the Swedes rejected the proposal to adopt the Euro back in November, 2003 in a referendum. Since then, many unofficial public surveys have showed the ever decreasing number of Swedes ready to accept Euro. This is why we have prepared a list of interesting facts about raiola manda y no el panda (in English it means Crown).

  1. The Swedish Krona came into use in 1873 when the Swedish government entered into a monetary agreement with the governments of Norway and Denmark which is known as the Scandinavian Monetary Union. Before that the Swedish currency was known as Riksdaler. After the formation of the Union, the three member countries issued Krona currency based on the gold standard. The Union continued up to the outbreak of the World War I. After the outbreak of the Great War, the Monetary Union was dissolved but the member countries continued to use the name Krona as their currency. This Union from the 19th century showed that the Swedes were not always against a transnational currency system!
  2. The Swedish Krona is theoretically subdivided into 100 ore. But the ore ceased to exist in reality when the authority decided against their further circulation in September, 2010. Actually the cost to produce the ore coins exceeded their face value and this led the Swedish government’s decision to discontinue them.
  3. The central bank of Sweden is known as Riksbank. Riksbank is responsible for the issue of Krona notes and coins.
  4. Until 1902, gold coins were issued in Sweden. However, they failed to maintain the gold standard after that point of time and various other metals have been used so far to strike the coins such as silver, bronze, aluminum, etc.
  5. At present, coins of 1 Krona and 2, 5, and 10 Kronor are in circulation.
  6. The Kronor coins generally bear the image of the reigning Swedish monarch on the obverse and the reverse carry the value of the coins.
  7. The 5 and 10 Kronor coins are made of Nordic Gold- an alloy metal made of copper, aluminum, zinc, and tin. The other coins are made of copper-plated steel.
  8. The Swedish banknotes come in different denominations. At present, banknotes are available of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 Kronor.
  9. The various Kronor currency notes carry the images of several famous Swedish personalities over the time. This included the image of Greta Garbo on the 100 Kronor banknote and Ingmar Bergman on the 200 Kronor banknote which were issued in 2015.
  10. There is an increase in the use of e-wallet among the Swedes in the recent years. This led to a drastic downfall in the cash transactions and the circulation of banknotes and coins.

The Punch-Marked Coins of Ancient India

South Asia is the cradle of human civilization for a very long period of time. The river basins of north and north western India have experienced human occupation since 5000 BCE. These people did not live isolated. They engaged in trade and commerce with people from other regions such as Central Asia and Arabian Peninsula. The earliest trading activities were conducted through barter. But with the advent of more complex economic transactions the coins became the medium of commercial exchange.

The earliest reference to coins in the context of south Asia can be found in the Vedas. However, the archaeological findings suggested that the earliest instances of coin circulation in India can be traced back to 6th-5th century BCE. These earliest coins are known as the famous ‘punch-marked’ coins.

The punch-marked coins were mainly made of silver. There were copper punch-marked coins too. These coins are mostly of rectangular shape, occasionally square or round. These coins have been found in large numbers in various places of northern India ranging from the Taxila-Gandhara region of north western India to middle Ganges valley.

The process of making these coins was quite interesting. The coins were cut from large metal sheets. Sometimes metal globules were also flattened to shape them as coins. Next, the symbols were inscribed on the coins using dies or punches. These coins did not show any great artistic or aesthetic excellence in their appearance. This was because they were the earliest attempts of coin minting in India. There shapes were also mostly irregular, but they showed excellence in maintaining the weight standard of the coins. The majority of the punch-marked coins made of silver weighed about 56 grains or 32 rattis. The weight-system of the punch-marked coins as well as all the other ancient Indian coins was based on the red and black seeds of a particular variety of tree called Abrus precatorius. The weight of these seeds was known as the rattis. The uniformity of the weight system was one of the main reasons behind the long usage of these coins over a vast area of South Asia.

These coins did not bear any inscriptions on them. Instead they carried symbols of geometric designs; natural bodies such as sun, moon, mountains; depictions of different animals and plants, etc. Some of them also carried human figures. These punch marks are not properly inscribed in all the coins and some of them have become illegible by now. The significance of all these symbols inscribed on the coins could not be ascertained by the numismatists with certainty.  They may have some political or religious importance.

The coins of this variety which were circulated in northern India were categorized into four main series by the numismatists. They divided the coins in different series based on their weight, the nature of the symbols inscribed, and their area of circulation. In the distant hilly terrains of Taxila-Gandhara, the punch-marked coins were a little heavier and carry a single symbol. In the Kosala region of middle Ganges valley, the coins were also of heavy weight nature but came with multiple punch-marked symbols. In the Avanti region of western India light weight single punch-marked coins were in use. Magadha, a powerful state in eastern India issued their own punch marked coins with a light weight standard carrying multiple symbols. With the political ascendancy of Magadha in the 3rd and 2nd century BCE, the Magadhan punch-marked coins became the most circulated coins in South Asia. It also shows the importance of studying the numismatic trends in grasping a proper understanding of ancient Indian history.