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5 Kroner Honors Norwegian Army
By Alan Herbert, World Coin News
May 18, 2011

This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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What can you tell me about a Norwegian 5 kroner dated 1978? It has a lion and ax, a crowned “C” with “4” in the center and a crowned “O” with a “V” in the center.

It’s a commemorative coin, marking the 350th anniversary of the Norwegian Army. The “OV” is for Olaf the fifth, while the “C4” is for Christian IV, who ruled in 1628.

Historically, what has been the most used letter for a coin mintmark?

The answer presents some curious statistics. The laws of probability would suggest that most of the letters of the alphabet should be used with pretty much the same frequency, with perhaps a preference for the first few letters. However, this is not the case. The letter “C” leads with usage by 24 different mints around the world. The letter “B” is a close second, recorded for 23 mints. Of the other two letters in the first four, “A” has been used by 11 mints and “D” by 10 mints.

A long time ago you mentioned the use of coins during World War II to make fertilizer. Didn’t the obsolete New Zealand coins wind up the same way?

New Zealand did in fact sell 1,000 tons of its old large pennies after switching to cents, the metal going to make copper compounds used in fertilizer. During World War II, Italy steeped bronze coins in water to make plants grow. New Zealand also experimented with powdered coins mixed with fertilizer.

I have a coin that comes from Austria that seems to have some of the design from the other side showing on the obverse. Would this be a double strike or an overstrike?

If the doubling is not repeated on the reverse, then what you have is a coin struck with clashed dies. If the dies come together without a planchet between them, the sharp edges of the outline of the design elements cut into the field of the opposing die. This damage is then transferred to the struck coin.

Can you identify a coin with a CX Reverse C Monogram?

You have a Danish coin from the reign of King Christian X (1912-1947).

Do you have a list of coins with lions as part of the design?

I’m afraid that would be an imposing list, as there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of coins with lions. The animal is a favorite motif, especially in a coat of arms. In heraldry, the lion represents courage and strength. Several countries have lions on the majority of their coins.

What’s the difference between a gyrfalcon and a griffon?

The griffon, or griffin, was a mythical beast with the head and wings of an eagle and the hindquarters and tail of a lion. One is found on the Baden (Germany) 2 guilden of 1846-1856. The gyrfalcon is an Arctic falcon. “Gyr” means spiral.

What is meant by the term, “anchor coinage?”

It refers to the 1/16, 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 dollar coins of Mauritius and the British West Indies, They are dated 1820 and 1822, and the principal design is a crowned anchor. There is an 1822/1 overdate for all four coins as well as an 1822/1 proof 1/16 dollar.

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