No. 85.
Mr. Cramer to Mr. Fish.

No. 144.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that the question concerning the introduction into the three Scandinavian kingdoms, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, of a common system of coinage, based upon a gold standard, has for months been discussed by the Scandinavian press as well as by writers on political economy. This discussion was occasioned no doubt by the adoption last year by the German Parliament of a new gold standard for the German Empire, and it has ever since been felt here that a corresponding change in the money system of the Scandinavian North had become an absolute necessity.

As a first step toward the attainment of this object, the King of Denmark appointed, on the first of last June, a commission to take this subject, as far as Denmark was concerned, into consideration, and to report thereon. It so happened that the Scandinavian congress of political or national economy, which held its sessions in this city during the month of July last, in connection with the northern exposition of industry and art, among other things unanimously adopted a resolution recommending, first, the introduction into the three Scandinavian kingdoms of a uniform money system, based upon a common gold standard; and, second, the appointment of a joint commission to consider and report upon this subject. With a laudable dispatch, the respective governments of the three Scandinavian kingdoms acted upon this suggestion, and appointed such a joint commission, consisting of three members from each kingdom. On the 26th of last August the said joint commission met in this city and commenced their work. On the 20th of the following September they terminated the same, and embodied the results of their deliberations in a somewhat lengthy report, which has recently been published in the Danish language in one of the city papers. I inclose herewith a translation of the substance of it, marked A.

This report has now been laid before the governments of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. The King of Denmark has already caused his government to take steps which look toward the conclusion of a convention with the governments of Sweden and Norway in relation to the adoption of and carrying out, conjointly, the stipulations of the said report. The fact that the joint commission adopted it unanimously furnishes a reason for the hope that Sweden and Norway will join Denmark in adopting and carrying it into practice.

As another evidence that the King of Denmark is in earnest about this matter, it may be mentioned that he has recently granted permission to the National Bank of Copenhagen to exchange its silver bullion, so far as it consists in ingots, for gold bullion of a similar character, being the reserve of uncoined precious metal required by law to be kept on hand as a security for its issue of notes.

It will be seen from the said report that it does not propose to adopt any one of the money standards already in existence in Europe, but an entirely new one; thus, like the new money system adopted last year [Page 214] by the German Parliament, putting a new obstacle in the way of attaining to a common international money system, an object the attainment of which is so much to be desired.

I have, &c.,


Translation of the substance of the report of the Scandinavian joint commission appointed to consider the feasibility of introducing into the three Scandinavian kingdoms a new money system.

1. The three Scandinavian kingdoms shall adopt gold as the basis of a common money system, with the use of silver and other metals for smaller coins.

2. The principal common coin shall be called gold crown, and another of twice its value, double crown. Of a kilogram of fine gold shall be coined 248 pieces of gold crowns, or 124 pieces of double crowns. The common unit for calculation shall be a crown dollar, which shall be one-tenth of a gold crown. A crown dollar shall be divided into or shall contain 100 öre.*

3. Gold coins shall be coined of an alloy containing 90 parts in weight of fine gold, and 10 parts in weight of copper. A gold crown shall weigh 4.4803 grams, and a double crown 8.9600 grams. The diameter of a gold crown shall be 19 millimeters, and that of a double crown 24 millimeters.

4. Smaller coins shall be coined partly of silver and partly of bronze; the latter to consist of 95 parts of copper, 4 parts of tin, and 1 part of zinc.

5. Of silver coins may be coined the following-named pieces, each of which shall contain the size, weight, and fineness as fixed in the following statement:

A silver coin representing the value of— Diameter in millimeters. Gross weight in grams. Grams of fine gold.
(a.) 4 crown dollars shall contain 39 30 24
(b.) 2 crown dollars shall contain 31 15 12
(c.) 1 crown dollar shall contain 25 7.5 6
(d.) 50 öre shall contain 22 5 3
(e.) 40 öre shall contain 20 4 2.4
(f.) 25 öre shall contain 18 3 1.5
(g.) 10 öre shall contain 16 2 0.6

6. Of bronze coins may be coined the following-named pieces, each of which shall contain the size and weight as fixed in the following statement:

A bronze coin representing the value of— Diameter in millimeters. Of a kilogram of bronze shall be coined the following number of pieces:
(a.) 5 öre shall contain 27 125
(b.) 2 öre shall contain 21 250
(c.) 1 öre shall contain 17 500

[Page 215]

7. In so far as perfect exactness as to weight and fineness in the coin pieces of each denomination cannot be obtained, the deviation from the fixed standard, either above or below it, shall not exceed the following quantity:

Denomination. In relation to—
Weight or when adjusted. Fineness of the weight of the coin piece.
By the piece. By kilograms.
For gold coins 0.0025 0.002
A 4-crown dollar piece 0.003 } 0.003
A 2-crown dollar piece 0.004
A 1-crown dollar piece 0.005
A 50-öre piece } 0.005
A 40-öre piece
A 25-öre piece 0.010
A 10-öre piece 0.015

The same standard gold and standard silver shall form the basis for assays at the mint of each of the three kingdoms.

8. All coins shall be coined with a raised border. Gold and silver coins, excepting twenty-five and ten öre pieces, shall have a dented or rifled circumference. The superscription upon a gold crown shall show that it is a gold crown; that of a double crown that it is a double crown, and each shall also show the number of crown dollars it contains, and in which kingdom it was coined.

9. All coins coined in accordance with the above regulations, in the mints of the three kingdoms, shall be lawful money, and shall be taken at their stipulated value in payment of debts between man and man and of taxes and duties due to the governments of the three kingdoms. Yet none shall be obliged to receive in any one payment a higher number than twenty crown dollars, in one, two, and four crown dollar pieces, or more than five crown dollars in smaller silver coins, or more than one crown dollar in bronze coins.

10. When gold coins have, through use, lost one-half per cent, of the weight specified in article 3, they shall cease to be lawful money between man and man, but shall be taken at their full value by the treasury of each kingdom. Smaller coins, whose superscriptions have become illegible by use, shall also be taken at their full value by such treasury, if it can be determined in what kingdom they were coined.

The remainder of the report contains a few stipulations to the effect that, in case it shall be adopted by the three kingdoms, and the governments of these kingdoms shall pass any laws in relation to the further regulation of this new money system, each government having passed such laws shall communicate them to the governments of the other two kingdoms, &c., &c.

  1. “Öre” is an old northern designation for a small coin still in use in some parts of Scandinavia, and its value is about one-fourth of one cent.