Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Stockholm Papers in Economic History,
Stockholm University, Department of Economic History

No 7: The multiple currencies of Sweden-Finland 1534-1803

Rodney Edvinsson ()
Additional contact information
Rodney Edvinsson: Dept. of Economic History, Stockholm University, Postal: Department of Economic History , Stockholm University , SE 106 91 STOCKHOLM, Sweden

Abstract: This paper deals with the exchange rates between the domestic currencies of Sweden-Finland in 1534-1803. In 1534, the first silver daler coins were minted in Sweden, which existed alongside the main silver coins at a fluctuating exchange rate. In 1624, a copper standard was introduced. However, the silver standard continued to exist alongside the copper standard. A distinctive feature of the multi-currency standard in Sweden-Finland during the 17th and 18th centuries, was that there was not only a fluctuating market exchange rate between the copper and silver currencies, but also between various silver currencies. At least five or six currency units were used, three based on silver, one or two based on copper and one based on gold. In 1776 a mono-currency, silver standard was reintroduced, with the riksdaler as the main unit. However, montery stability was not long-lasting. In 1789-1803 two different currencies existed, one fiat currency based on riksdaler riksgälds notes and one based on the riksdaler banco that continued to be convertible into silver coins by the Riksbank. In 1803 the relation 1 riksdaler banco = 1.5 riksdaler riksgälds was fixed, which basically ended the period of multiple currencies.

Keywords: monetary history; bimetallism; debasement; copper standard; Sweden

JEL-codes: E42; N13; N23

119 pages, May 26, 2009

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