New 5-krone coin — the new coin series reform is complete

New 5-krone coin — the new coin series reform is complete

Kolberg, Ole-Robert

In the early 1990s, it was decided that there was a need for a 20-krone note or coin. The decision to strike a coin in the new denomination rather than to print a note was primarily based on ease of use in coin-operated devices at toll booths and in vending machines. It was considered impractical to make the 20-krone coin much larger than the 5-krone coin to avoid confusion between the two, so the only practical alternative was a coin with a diameter somewhere between those of the 1- and 5-krone coins. The resulting size difference would have been so small that many groups of people might have had difficulty distinguishing between the three coins. For this reason, Norges Bank’s Executive Board adopted a proposal in 1992 to reform the whole coin series.

On Tuesday, 15 September, Norges Bank issued the new 5-krone coin, thereby completing the coin series reform which had begun with the issuance of the 20-krone coin in 1994.

Three artists have been involved in the design of the new series. Nils Aas, the sculptor, designed the 20- and 10-krone coins, while Polishborn Grazyna Jolanta Lindau was responsible for the 50-Ore coin. The chief engraver of the Royal Norwegian Mint, Ingrid Austlid Rise, designed the 5- and 1-krone coins. The three artists participated in an open competition arranged by the Bank in 1993, and won first, second, and third place, respectively. They have worked together on letter design, etc, to give the series a uniform character. The competition resulted in a total of 22 coin set proposals, but the jury was unable to find a full set by a single artist which it was willing to recommend.

The jury consisted of members of the Royal Norwegian Mint’s Advisory Committee. This was composed of Professor Emeritus Lars Hamre, Danuta Haremska, sculptress, Bernt Heiberg, architect, Professor Kolbjorn Skaare and the director of the Mint, Ole-Robert Kolberg. Dr. Katalyn Biro-Sey and Marit Wiklund, sculptress, were added to the jury for the occasion.

A considerable amount of work lies behind the changeover to the new series, which was completed three years ahead of schedule. More than 600 million coins have been struck at the Royal Norwegian Mint since the 20-krone coin was launched in 1994. Three thousand tonnes of old coin have been withdrawn for remelting and reuse, which has supplied enough coin material for ten to fifteen years of use.

Norges Bank understands that this represents the final stage of a period that has been difficult for many groups in society. There is very little “leeway” in designing coins; they should not exceed 30 mm in size or be smaller than 17-18 mm. Some of the new coins are inevitably similar in size to some of the old coins, and this caused problems when these coins were in circulation concurrently. The proposal to hole the 5- and 1krone coins, adopted in 1996, halfway through the transition, eliminated much of the problem, however, and made it possible to step up the pace of the reform. The new 5-krone and 1-krone coins are only 1 mm larger than the old 1-krone and 50-ore coins, respectively. Had the new 1krone coin not been holed, its introduction would have been delayed until all the old 50-0re coins had been withdrawn from circulation. Similarly, the old one-krone coin would have had to be withdrawn before the new 5-krone coin could be issued.

The new coins are easily distinguishable from one another, and the great majority of recent reactions to both the design and the motifs of the coins have been positive. The new coins weigh substantially less than the old ones, which, in addition to facilitating the work of those who handle large amounts of coin on a daily basis, reduces material and transport costs by millions of kroner each year. For the general public it also means less weight to carry around.

When developing the new coin series, Norges Bank consulted the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted, the Norwegian Pensioners’ Association and the Consumer Council, which had a definite influence on the Bank’s decision to introduce holed 5- and 1krone coins.

Design:

Obverse:

Grand Cross with Chain of the Order of St Olav. The text at the top of the coin reads KONGERIKET NOREG (Kingdom of Norway). The symbol of the order is flanked by the crossed pick and hammer mintmark of the Royal Norwegian Mint and the initials, JEJ, of the director of the Mint (Jan Erik Johansen).

Reverse:

Ornamentation inspired by the leaves of the acanthus plant, in the style of the Norwegian wood carver, Ole Moene (1839-1908), with intertwined tendrils between the leaves. The denomination, 5, appears above the motif. The mint year and the inscription, KRONER, appear below. To the right of the acanthus are the initials, IAR, of the designer, Ingrid Austlid Rise.

Ole-Robert Kolberg, special adviser in the Chief Cashier’s Department

Copyright Norges Bank, Economic Intelligence Dept. Sep 1998

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