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12th-13th Century Gotland Sweden Pfennig

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 Posted 01/16/2021  2:39 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
It's snowing, so it seems like a good time to post coins from Sweden.

I was excited to pick up this Gotland Pfennig early last year that dates to between 1140 and 1270 AD. It is now my earliest Swedish coin, handily beating out my 15th Century Örtug, described in more detail here:

On the obv, there is a wheel with a star and a largely clipped or worn away retorgrade legend of SIEW. On the rev, there is a cross-hatched structure with a gabled roof and two towers (not really visible on this specimen). Some examples have a window of various shapes, but mine appears to be of the type without one. It is attributed as Lagerqvist XXAb and Gullands Mynter #1. I believe that this is only the second example of a medieval coin in my collection that is the first one listed in a numismatic book.

While the island Gotland is firmly under the Swedish flag these days, according to wikipedia this has not always been the case. Gotland and its port city of Visby wielded significant power in the medieval period. As I understand it, the positive business impact of the island to the kingdom meant that it was largely left to its own devices. However, soon after this coin was minted, the Swedish King quashed a civil war between the Germanic merchants in Visby and the peasants in surrounding island districts.

"If you climb a good tree, you get a push."
-----Ghanaian proverb

"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
-----King Adz

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 Posted 01/16/2021  3:19 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice coin, these are pretty rare

Yeah, we have snow in all of Sweden now But the winter has been warmer than usual, so less than normal.

Gotland was really independent at the time this coin was minted, although with close relations with the two major separately ruled areas of what later became a united Swedish kingdom: The area around Stockholm (Svealand) had one king, the southwest of Sweden (Västergötland) had another (they fought more or less continually of course). Those two areas and Gotland all minted their own coins. Gotland's strategic position in the Baltic Sea made it a center for trade and the island was rich and prosperous. Early on its capital Visby became a member of the Hanseatic League. (Visby is where your penning - the Scandinavian name - is minted.) Like you wrote, the Swedish king forced Gotland to join (the then united) Sweden towards the end of the 13th century. Sweden's arch enemy (at the time) Denmark invaded and took control of the island in 1361 and it remained under the Danish crown until 1645, when it was returned to Sweden. And we still have it, but the Gotlanders still have a very distinct dialect .
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 Posted 01/17/2021  09:53 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Neat coin and nice history.

Pushing things back by a few centuries (rather than a few years or decades) is quite an accomplishment!
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