Author Topic: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage  (Read 8395 times)

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Offline <k>

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Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« on: November 04, 2016, 04:28:07 PM »
After the Nazis invaded Norway, they produced an occupation coinage for the country. The 1, 2 and 5 øre were zinc, while the 10, 25 and 50 øre coins were made of iron. Both obverse and reverse were of a standard design - allowing for the various denominational numerals on the reverse, of course.

Does anybody know the meaning of the symbols to the left and right of the lion shield on the obverse?

Offline <k>

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2016, 04:29:48 PM »
In 1942, the Norwegian government-in-exile, which was based in London, issued three coins in nickel-brass. Their pre-war counterparts were made of copper-nickel. Does anybody know the story behind them?

Images of courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Offline <k>

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2016, 04:31:47 PM »
Of the government-in-exile designs, only the obverse of the 25 øre was slightly different from the pre-war version.

Offline <k>

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2016, 04:35:39 PM »
There were quite a few governments-in-exile based in London, during the war. The Dutch, Norwegian and Polish governments-in-exile even produced a few nice stamps. Did any other governments-in-exile issue coins, apart from Norway? I believe the Free French issued some coins for parts of the French Empire.

Offline <k>

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2016, 05:15:26 PM »
Out of interest, here is the set of stamps issued by the Norwegian government-in-exile.  I like the slogan, "Vi vil vinne" - "We will win" !

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2016, 07:13:24 PM »
Did any other governments-in-exile issue coins, apart from Norway?

It's a slightly borderline case, but the Danish government-in-exile authorised the Royal Mint to issue pre-war-grade standard Danish currency for use in the Faroes, which were occupied by the British. The Faroese coins differ from the pre-war Danish issues in not having mintmaster's initials or the Copenhagen heart mintmark.


Offline <k>

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2016, 07:24:21 PM »
There's a clear if small difference, then, but the case is clear and not borderline.

How about the 1942 zinc coins of Iceland? Who authorised those? I know the Nazis treated the Danes with kid gloves until 1943.

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2016, 07:27:32 PM »
There's a clear if small difference, then, but the case is clear and not borderline.

How about the 1942 zinc coins of Iceland? Who authorised those? I know the Nazis treated the Danes with kid gloves until 1943.

I said borderline, because I wasn't entirely certain the Faroe issues weren't entirely the work of the British occupiers. Unlike the Norwegian government which evacuated en masse, the Danish king and government chose to stick it out and therefore there wasn't a "government in exile" as such.

Iceland was a self-governing part of the kingdom of Denmark, although until 1944 it shared its king with Denmark. I therefore suspect that all Icelandic coins were authorised by the Althing, so the issue of governments in exile doesn't arise. The WW2-era ones were minted at the RM if I remember right, though.

Offline <k>

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2016, 07:29:38 PM »
Good points. I went off-topic from "governments-in-exile" to wartime exigency issues.

Offline <k>

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2016, 07:55:59 PM »
The question now remains, how were the Norwegian coins of the government-in-exile actually used?

World War II - Occupation and emergency coinages of Europe.

Exile coinage

In 1942, the government of Norway, currently in Britain due to the German invasion, struck exile coinage, as a symbol of resistance. These were denominated 10, 25 and 50 ore, and were struck in nickel-brass. Many millions were made, but they were rarely used, and most found in circulation by Nazis were destroyed. About 10,000 of each denomination remain today.


Getting the coins into Norway must have been rather difficult.

Offline Thulium

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2016, 08:38:19 PM »
I also read that Norwegians wore coins bearing Haakon 7's monogram as symbols of resistance and support of the exiled government. I also wonder how many prewar coins the occupying Germans destroyed?  It would sure be an interesting story of how these 1942 coins got into Norway...if any collectors know that.  :)

The question now remains, how were the Norwegian coins of the government-in-exile actually used?

World War II - Occupation and emergency coinages of Europe.

Exile coinage

In 1942, the government of Norway, currently in Britain due to the German invasion, struck exile coinage, as a symbol of resistance. These were denominated 10, 25 and 50 ore, and were struck in nickel-brass. Many millions were made, but they were rarely used, and most found in circulation by Nazis were destroyed. About 10,000 of each denomination remain today.


Getting the coins into Norway must have been rather difficult.

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2016, 11:34:48 PM »
Going back to <k>'s original post, I was also intrigued by the question of what the patterns are on the obverse either side of the shield. They appear to be a cross superimposed on two axes or hammers. I'm not aware that this symbol has any particular significance. The symbol used by Nasjonal Samling (Norway's equivalent of the Nazi party) as an equivalent to the swastika was solkorset, the sun cross (basically a circle with a cross in it). It's not a mintmark either, as the wartime issues carry the crossed hammers mark (underneath the date in this case) of Kongsberg mint.

For want of any other explanation, I tend towards the conclusion that they are just random Norse-inspired decorations, much like the triangular ones on the other side. They could even by a statement of subversion by the mint against Quisling and the Nazis - they are not entirely dissimilar to the H7 monogram used on pre-war and government-in-exile issues. As Thulium points out, pre-war Håkon VII coins enjoyed a status as subversive objects in Norway that analogous pre-war issues in, say, Denmark, Belgium and France didn't as far as I know.

Offline Thulium

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2016, 04:15:47 AM »
Going back to <k>'s original post, I was also intrigued by the question of what the patterns are on the obverse either side of the shield. They appear to be a cross superimposed on two axes or hammers. I'm not aware that this symbol has any particular significance. The symbol used by Nasjonal Samling (Norway's equivalent of the Nazi party) as an equivalent to the swastika was solkorset, the sun cross (basically a circle with a cross in it). It's not a mintmark either, as the wartime issues carry the crossed hammers mark (underneath the date in this case) of Kongsberg mint.

Here is the solkorset with two swords, from an occupation recruitment poster--a resemblance perhaps? So perhaps it's a cross, but with axes, and the circle was omitted. I have not found an exact match in other occupation materials.


Offline FosseWay

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2016, 10:32:25 AM »
Solkorset with two swords is specifically the emblem of Hirden (Nasjonal samlings answer to the Nazi SA). More info on how NS used the symbol is here on Norwegian Wikipedia.

Going back to the symbols on the coin: While the cross is similar to the cross in solkorset, without the circle it isn't a solkors. The circle is an essential part of the symbol. I'm therefore not convinced that it has any overt references to Quisling's government other than possibly vague implications of tradition, militarism and mythology that often infuse far-right imagery from that era.

Offline <k>

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Re: Norway, World War 2, government-in-exile coinage
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2016, 11:20:38 AM »
Excellent research, both. Below I've saved an image of that symbol, for easier comparison. The Nazis and their kind were into atavism, of course, and looked back to their supposed forebears. In doing so they either imagined some symbols, much as the novelist Walter Scott created an image of Scotland, or else perverted harmless ones.