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Early modern copper money: multiple currencies and trimetallism in Sweden 1624-1776


  • Rodney Edvinsson


In 1624-1776, Sweden implemented a complicated trimetallic monetary system. Five different copper, silver, and gold currencies circulated. The heaviest copper coins weighed 20 kg. Gresham's law worked differently for various coins. Swedish trimetallism was asymmetric. Copper money could not replace silver and gold coins. When the latter became undervalued they circulated at a premium. Due to high transaction costs in using copper coins at a premium, they were sometimes driven out when becoming dear money. However, complaints about money shortage and Sweden's monopoly position at the European copper markets implied that the copper standard was not abandoned until 1777. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodney Edvinsson, 2012. "Early modern copper money: multiple currencies and trimetallism in Sweden 1624-1776," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 408-429, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ereveh:v:16:y:2012:i:4:p:408-429

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    1. Edvinsson, Rodney, 2012. "The international political economy of early modern copper mercantilism: Rent seeking and copper money in Sweden 1624–1776," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 303-315.

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