By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
The Central Bank of Sweden (Sveriges Riksbank) announced recently that a new series of Swedish coins and bank notes will be introduced in October 2015, replacing over 300 million notes and two billion coins currently in circulation.
The Riksbank announced a design contest for the new notes in spring 2011. Designs from eight finalists* were considered, and in April 2012 Göran Österlund and his “Cultural Journey” (Kulturresan) theme was declared the winner.
Contest rules stipulated that each denomination feature an important figure from modern Swedish culture and use a predetermined color scheme. Anti-counterfeiting measures were also included.
The front of the new 20-kronor (Swedish for “crowns”) bill features Astrid Lindgren, famous children’s author and creator of Pippi Longstocking.
Musician Evert Taube graces the 50-kronor note.
Internationally-known actress Greta Garbo adorns the 100-kronor.
The 200-kronor bill is a new denomination, and features beloved motion picture director Ingmar Bergman.
Soprano Birgit Nilsson is on the 500-kronor.
The new 1,000-kronor note features United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld.
The backs of the notes commemorate culturally-significant geographical regions of the country, with many representing the homes and birthplaces of the individuals on each respective front. From least to greatest, the bills will feature the historical provinces of Småland (20) and Bohuslän (50), the capital city of Stockholm (100), the island of Gotland (200) and the provinces of Skåne (500) and Lappland (1,000).
But while most of the new bills will enter circulation in October 2015, the 100- and 500-kronor notes won’t be available until October 2016.
As for the coins, the one- and five-kronor denominations have been redesigned, and a new two-kronor coin has been authorized. All three feature designs by sculptor Ernst Nordin, whose “Sun, wind and water” was the winning entry in the Riksbank’s coin design contest.
The one- and two-kronor coins both feature an effigy of King Carl XVI Gustaf on the obverse, with the lesser coat of arms of Sweden (the “Tre Kronor”, or “Three Crowns”) featured on the reverse. An abstracted portrayal of the sun’s rays is on the reverse of the one-krona, while an abstracted version of the wind is featured on the two-kronor reverse.
King Carl XVI Gustaf’s monogram is on the five-kronor obverse, while the Tre Kronor and stylized ocean waves are featured on the reverse.
The 10-kronor piece will stay the same.
Once the new notes and coinage are in place, Swedish citizens have until June 30, 2016 to redeem their old 20-, 50-, 200- and 1,000-kronor bills. 100- and 500-kronor notes are redeemable until June 30, 2017, which is also when the old one-, two- and five-kronor coins will be demonetized.
Interestingly, Sweden discontinued the last of its fractional coinage in 2010. Prices can still be listed in öre (1/100th of a krona), but payment must be rounded up to the nearest krona.
The Sveriges Riksbank, organized in 1668, is the oldest extant central bank in the world.
*The other seven finalists in the bank note design contest are worth checking out. You can do so by clicking here.
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I think a different design scheme for each note should have been considered. This would give a bunch of different artists a chance to shine. It makes sense that all the notes have a familiar look, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As for the coins, they are quite uninspiring. They should revamp them somehow, which might get more usage out of them as well. At least they have more denominations than the US has in circulation. By the way, it would have been nice to know what one Krona is equal to at the time of publication.
Ah, you’re right. As of 1:00pm EST today, one Swedish krona (SEK) trades at US$0.13, but you probably already looked into that.
And coin design… can be baffling.
Regardless of the designs’ merits (or demerits) the fact is that Sweden introduced new bills, new coins, and new denominations with barely a hiccup. OTOH the US clings to coin sizes dictated by the price of silver in the 19th century, and even our new, uh, pastel notes have essentially the same images as bills from the 1920s. So much for being “exceptional”.