coinsbygary's Blog

01 Nov 2020

The 1903 Danish 2-Kroner Coin Commemorating 40 years of Reign

Coins-World | coinsbygary

The 1903 Danish 2 Kroner coin commemorates the 40th anniversary of the reign of Christian IX. The obverse features a right-facing bust of Christian IX, King of Denmark. His reign, 15 November 1863 to 1903, appears around the inner circumference. Underneath the left portion of Christian IX's bust is the coins date of 1903 and a heart signifying that it was minted in Copenhagen. The initial P to the right of the date represents mint master Vilhelm Buchard Poulsen. The initials GJ underneath the right portion of Christian IX's bust is this coin's engraver, Knud Gunnar Jensen.

For illustrative and comparison purposes, I will contrast this coin with the gold 20 Kroner. I find it fascinating that two coins with similar designs have such diverse interpretations. The 20 Kroner gold coin came into existence as an international trade coin at the founding of the Scandinavian Monetary Union with Sweden in 1873 and Norway two years later. The Danish 20 Kroner circulated at par with the gold coins of the other member nations.

The 20- and 2-Kroner coins feature the feminine allegorical figure, Dania. Dania, the personification of Denmark, represents Denmark's spirit. Dania, as portrayed on the 2 Kroner, is at rest, symbolizing peace. The seated position generally embodies a person of authority like a monarch, a god or goddess, or perhaps some other high government official.

Often the shield accompanying the seated personification displays the coat of arms of the issuing nation. As a defensive piece of armor, the shield characterizes preparedness and protection from all potential foes, foreign and domestic.

The Danish coat of arms emblazoned on the 2- and 20-Kroner coins' shield features three crowned blue lions and nine hearts. Historians believe that the hearts at one time were the petals of the white lotus, which is a type of water lily. However, this was lost over the years and became today's hearts due to worn and crudely made signets during the Middle Ages.

The sheaf of wheat on the 2 Kroner and corn on the 20 Kroner represents Denmark's agricultural nature and agricultural exports. While other European nations fueled the industrial revolution of the 19th Century; Denmark led the way in an agricultural revolution. Universal education and other political reforms of the late 18th to mid-19th Century eventually lead to new agricultural technologies, innovations, and co-ops.

At this point, the allegories of the 2 Kroner and the 20 Kroner take on different meanings. As illustrated on the 20 Kroner, Dania is seen holding a scepter in her right hand, signifying Danish sovereignty. At her feet is a dolphin. The dolphin is an ancient omen of good luck and fair weather, symbolizing Danish naval prowess. Since this coin was meant for circulation outside Denmark, the coin's allegory was directed towards foreigners.

However, the 40th anniversary of reign 2 Kroner was meant to remind Danish citizens of the benefits of living in Denmark under Christian IX. The legend on the reverse delimited by flowers and translated, "With God for Honor and Justice," reveals this coin's real intent and defines the allegory.

Rather than holding a scepter as on the 20 Kroner, Dania is seen extending her right arm. Extending the arm, especially for someone in authority, can signify power and leadership. A person may also extend their arm to give someone directions or to show them the way. It can also suggest things like acceptance, welcome, vulnerability, transparency, and compassion. Seizing upon these definitions, I believe this allegory's purpose was to remind the people of their government's benevolence. Interestingly, it was during the reign of Christian IX that the following social programs were introduced:

• 1891—Old age pension law: means-tested pensions for persons 60 years or older, financed by the state and communes through general taxation.

• 1892—Sickness insurance law: public subsidies to recognized voluntary insurance funds.

• 1898—Employers' liability act: to ensure worker's compensation in case of industrial accidents. (THE DEVELOPMENTAL WELFARE STATE IN SCANDINAVIA: LESSONS FOR THE DEVELOPING WORLD, STEIN KUHNLE, AND SVEN EO HORT)

Tensions between Denmark and Germany were high when Christian IX ascended to the throne in November of 1863. Consequently, Denmark found themselves at war with Prussia and Austria in 1864 over the disputed duchies of Schleswig-Holstein. After about eight months, Denmark was soundly defeated. This war caused a shift in national priorities from colonialism to domestic development and neutrality in international affairs. The effect of this shift brought peace and prosperity to Denmark, hence the dove as the international symbol of peace on the 40th anniversary of reign 2 Kroner.

Greenland was a Danish colony until 1953, when it became a district of Denmark. The other picture I am posting is not a coin but a fantasy coin issued by Greenland. The obverse of the coin features a seated representation of Dania/Greenlandia. Notice the similarities of Dania on this medal as compared to the 20 Kroner. The most significant difference is the Greenlandic coat of arms on the shield.

The obverse legend is written in the language of the indigenous Inuit Eskimos called Kalaallisut. Translated, it means "Greenlander Country." The reverse legend is Danish for Greenland. This piece has a mintage of 950. Gary.



Level 6

Another beauty for sure! Always enjoy your blogs.... Love the history behind each and every coin!


Level 5

You prove once again the old saying "To truly appreciate the coin, you must know the history behind it". You have given us a view into an area most of us don't have much exposure to. These are beautiful examples of past and current coins from a part of the world that has given us so much over the centuries. Thanks for the peak. Later!

It's Mokie

Level 6

Great Stuff Gary, and that Greenland Piaster is stunningly beautiful.

This was great Gary! I loved every moment of it. I rarely see anything on Danish coins so this was a very welcome surprise. Each Dania is portrayed slightly different, but all of them are beautiful and similar. I like the Greenland piece, and the 2 kroner piece is in excellent condition being 120 years old. Thank you!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

You make me wish I had taken more history in college, I got a course in Russian History and Medieval history in but couldn't fit in any more. Our blogs more and more make me realize that Numismatics is an interdisciplinary field. Art, history, and yes even science in the form of metallurgy are incorporated for the serious numismatist. Some knowledge of photography is involved as well if we want to truly share with others. Thanks so much for the history lesson and the description of these attractive coins.


Level 6

Fantastic blog Gary. I hope all the Y.N.'s read your work to see how it can be done. Me too. Anyhow I learned quite a bit from you again. Funny how after being conquered my Germany they gave up on colonialism. This is a great study of beautiful coins. Thank you.


Level 5

Love the history behind this piece! I has a beautiful design, and I might need to track one down. Cheers, NM


Level 7

Great blog. I feel like I'm back in school when I read your blogs. In would never of known who we King . Christian the 1X. Then his anniversary of 40 years. It's terrifick. The description of the coins is beyond reproch. Excellent. Continue with these I enjoy them.


Level 5

I need to spend more time on foreign coins like this. So many nice coins out there I wouldnt normally look at. Amother great coin and country history. Always gets me interested about the coins and countrys I would probably never know about. Thanks for posting.


Level 6

I like how in depth your blog is, thanks for the information.


Level 5

Cool coins and history lesson. Excellent blog.

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