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(note)worthy stories about banknotes


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There are a lot of interesting stories to tell about banknotes, for example about the design, why they were released to circulation or about their reputation, for instance. It would be interesting to hear other stories from fellow members about banknotes.

Here is a folkloristic story about a banknote type from my native country Sweden.


The Cow Ten banknote.

In the early 20th century Sweden was still an agricultural country were most people lived outside of the cities, in the typical redpainted wooden houses. Sometime in that time period an old lady was going to a market to sell her cow. She met a charming man that offered her 100 swedish crowns (SEK) for the cow. As she found the price to be fair she accepted the deal, and was payed with ten 10 SEK banknotes. Later on when she went shoping and tried to pay with one of the banknotes, she got the knowledge that the banknotes were in fact 1 SEK banknotes, which gave her 10 SEK in total for the cow instead of 100 SEK.

How could that happen?

Well, of course many poor old people at that time were illiterate and had not seen so much banknotes, but to know the whole picture one has to know somethings about swedish banknotes.

The 1 SEK banknotes was an emergency issue, and they were produced in three different intervals. The first were released 1873 and 1874, the second 1914-1921 (the 1924 issue were never released) and the third 1938-1940 was held in an emergency storage, and were never released (due to negative psychologic factor and to costly).

In time for this story the second issue of 1 SEK was under circulation. Their release was due because of the posting of swedish conscript soldiers around in the countryside (the first world war was going on). The soldiers did not own so much banknotes, but brought with them small change. This made a shortage of small change to be felt in the cities, due to the fact of bad comunications in the countryside the change trickled in slowly, and it was decided to make 1 SEK emergency banknotes.

This issue were a lot similar to the earlier 1 SEK banknotes but much smaller in size.

So the old poor lady was familliar with the new 1 SEK banknotes. But 5 or 10 SEK banknotes had she probably never seen as it represented a to high value for her. So when she was offered the earlier first issue of bigger 1 SEK banknotes so simillar to the current 1 SEK issue, it was easy for her to believe that they were 10 SEK banknotes.


For pictures of the two 1 SEK issues please use this link: http://web.telia.com/~u86006969/

click on the link starting with 1874... and then click on the picture of the 1 SEK banknote.


On a sidenote, at present there are some 600 000 of the 1 SEK still not returned to the bank. Probably many of them have been destroyed and the rest are hidden somewhere or in the hands of collectors.

// Joakim

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