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What was the Gold Rigsdaler?
The gold rigsdaler was a coin minted in Denmark sometime in 1826. Despite Denmark’s currency being originally based on the silver standard, gold coins were issued with the face value of 1 rigsdaler, despite its being nominally worth 10 rigsdaler. Referred to as either a Frederiks d’Or or a Christians d’Or (depending on the current ruler who issued the coins), they coexisted with silver coinage as Denmark observed a silver standard at the time. Nominally worth ten rigsdaler, the d’Or coins were few and far flung, with very limited mint runs to ever truly count as general currency in daily transactions.
Despite the fact that Denmark followed a silver standard until the middle of the 18th century, gold coins were a staple in early types of currency. The ‘founding’ currency of Denmark however was silver coinage, the earliest of which were made or commissioned by Svend Tveskaeg and issued by around 995 AD. Some thirty years later, the coinage that began under the influence of Svend Tveskaeg was organized and standardized into an early type of coinage issue known as the courant in 1020 under the rule of Knud den Store. By around the early 1500s, the Danish king Hans first began to issue gold the earliest Danish gold coins, among them the noble, kroner (or ‘Crown’) and the gulden which remained the chief gold coins of the land until 1813.
By around that time, a financial crisis ensued which coaxed the current rulers to issue a new type of currency system. While the older courant system became demonetized at around the same time as the introduction of the gold coins under Hans, a new type of currency system was introduced that once functioned simultaneously with the courant – the species. Following the financial crises of 1813, the species too was abolished and all coinages formerly referred to as rigsdaler species became the rigsbankdaler (Danish Bank Daler). Further reforms were set into motion which also did away with this short-lived classification, so that by 1845, the rigsbankdaler was simply referred to as the rigsdaler .
By the latter part of the 18th century the Danish coins began to be issued in varying denominations of a more fractional sort compared to its predecessors. The rigsdaler were issued with minor denominations (in values of one-fifteenth, one-fourth, one-third, one-half, one, and two rigsdaler). With the introduction of the d’Or series of gold rigsdaler coins, the face value of the coinage changed dramatically, for while it retained its fractional denominations, the type of metal that it was issued it elicited a greater worth. Further types of coinage and denominations were issued afterwards, with the majority of these new coins being made of a lesser metal such as copper. Such coins were referred to as the rigsbanktegn (‘Rigsbank token’) and were issued in 2, 3, 4, 6, 12, and 16 skilling denominations.
While Denmark retained its silver standard until the latter part of the 19th century, it continued to produce gold ‘d’Or’ series coins until the 1840s. The gold ‘d’Or’ coins served as trade money and were commonly used for international transactions in countries where the silver standard no longer applied. While they played a part as legal tender and circulated currency in Denmark, their primary purpose seemed to be more for international commerce than as general currency in a nation dominated by silver standard coinage. Nowadays, gold rigsdaler, as well as earlier issues of gold coins prior to the introduction of the ‘d’Or’ series of coins are rare and highly prized by numismatic collectors, although bullion investors rarely actively seek out examples of such coins owing to their scarcity and somewhat obscure nature.
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Content researched and created by Alexander Leonhart for coinandbullionpages.com © coinandbullionpages.com 2012
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