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One skilling Danske 1779 from Gammel Strand

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Field Leader Claes Hadevik writes about a small coin. April 2014

This small silver coin is 1 cm in diameter and weighs 0.8 grams. The obverse shows the royal crown and the king’s monogram, C7, that is Christian VII, The reverse shows the denomination: 1 SKILLING and below for clarification: DANSKE. This is to clarify that the value is based on the value of a Danish silver mark and not a mark from the northern German city of Lübeck. The Lübeck mark represented twice as much as the Danish. Below the date, 1779, are the initials H.S.K., ie Hans Schierven Knoph, who was master of the mint during the reigns of Frederik V and Christian VII until his death in 1788.

By this time the coin denominations were skilling and speciedaler. 96 skilling’s was equal to one speciedaler. It was, however, a great difference between the coins in terms of silver content. The skilling coins had a silver content of just below 20% while the speciedaler’s silver content was almost 90 %, which was slightly more than 25 grams of pure silver. 96 skilling’s contained not even 14 grams of pure silver. This large difference in coin value and metal value favored the King and the Treasury. If you wanted to do business with larger amounts of coins of small denomination, you were therefore forced to pay a higher price.

Christian VII was the king of Denmark and Norway between 1766 and 1808. He was born in 1749 at Christiansborg Palace as the son of King Frederik V and Queen Louise, daughter of the English King George II. The year he was crowned king, he married his 15-year-old cousin, Princess Caroline Mathilde, who was the sister of King George III of Great Britain. Two years later the couple had a son who later became King Frederik VI. Caroline Mathilde later had a daughter, Louise Augusta, who was probably the result of an extramarital relation with the influential German physician and politician Johann Friedrich Struensee. Struensee was charged and convicted for treason and was sentenced to death by decapitation. The marriage with Caroline Mathilde was revoked and she was deported to Germany. Christian VII was suffering from mental instability that got worse with age, so the real royal rule was exercised by others.