About coinage

Bolle Willum Luxdorph (1716-1788), a Danish poet, historian and civil servant in his scientific dissertation from 1765: Anledning og Veiviisning til Myntens Udregning her i Landene i det Fiortende Aar-Hundrede og fremdeles under Eric af Pommeren, hans Regiering …, Samt Indberetning om nogle gamle danske Mynters Prøvelse, presents us with a method of how to calculate the value of coins in the 14th century in Europe, and specifically in Denmark. On page 24 in the book, he writes: The first calculation [method] we meet is the Nordic, which we [the Danish people] since long have abandoned, but which is still used by our neighbors, the Swedes, and partly by the Icelandic people. It consisted of Marker, Ører (8 per Mark) and Ørtuger or Ørtiger (3 per Øre). That the Ører has to be a very old coinage, is seen by the fact, that it was introduced into England by the Danes… etc. The Danes had by then begun using the coinage Rigsdaler, Mark and Skilling, or perhaps Styver, but much later Kroner and Øre became the coinage as it still is today. Luxdorph provides what he believe is proof of the introduction, and that the Danish in England was fined in Ører, but the English in Schillings. One Øre was worth five English Schillings, or one English Crown. It does seem, however, in other sources, that Sønderjylland in the mid 1500’s used Gylden, Mark and probably Penning. Can we assume that this above mentioned introduction toook place in the Viking times?

Reading this interesting document, shows how extremely complicated it must have been to be a merchant or trader, who bought and sold in Hansestæderne, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. Mastering these calculations, with the constantly changing values of the different coinages, was certainly not an easy task, as shown in this dissertation. Bolle Willum Luxdorph descended from farmers in Jutland, but he was clearly well at home in these matters.

Link to the online dissertation at The Royal Danish Library: http://www.kb.dk/e-mat/dod/130020738651.pdf (in Danish)