By: Marius Ringsrud (fil. mag.)

Denarius has recently acquired a very rare Norwegian proof 500 kroner banknote dated ca. 1900. As opposed to the grey-blue banknotes that circulated up to the end of Second World War, this proof banknote is green. The banknote also has a cancel hole in the middle. On the reverse, one can read «Printed sheet» in beautiful 19th Century handwriting. This proof banknote is in exceptional condition. It has two very smal pinholes on the edge – indicating that it may have been on display for Bradbury Wilkinson’s client. And it has two minor tears on the bottom, measuring 4 mm. The placement and their clean cut give us a feeling they were acquired during the printing process (maybe during the parting of the banknotes from the sheet?)

Collectors of Norwegian banknotes know that the second edition 500 kroner banknotes are the rarest denomination in that series. With all this information in mind, one can only speculate how rare this proof banknote is. This may be your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase one!


Second Edition 500 kroner 1901-1945

The plates for Norway’s second edition banknote series were engraved by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co, Ltd. in London. The designs were made by artist Oluf Wold-Torne and approved by a committee of 5 members: one representative from Bradbury Wilkinson & Co, Ltd., one representative from the Norwegian central bank, Architect Eilif Christie, Gerhard Munthe and Erik Werenskiold. Both Munthe and Werenskiold were artists. The banknote designer Wold-Torne based all his drawings on photographs of his motifs.

The winning design depicted Wilhelm Frimann Koren Christie, president of the Storting (parliament), on the front. President Christie was one of the few Norwegians who worked on and signed the Norwegian Constitution in 1814, and he was acting president for the Norwegian parliament in 1815 and partially in 1818. The banknote’s reverse bore a drawing of Akershus castle (Oslo) in the middle of the banknote. On the side of the castle was depicted a bust of a generic viking.

Bradbury Wilkinson & Co, Ltd. printed banknotes for Norway in 1900 and 1901. Up to 1906, banknotes were produced in Trondheim, and production moved to Oslo in 1907.