Letters on F 3. Coins with Provincial Coats
On some Trankebar lead coins from Frederik the 3rd there are letters on the reverse. Here is my theory about these letters.
First, an overview of the 41 different lead coins known from Tranquebar from Frederik the third. The obverse is a crowned F 3. According to reverse they can be divided into three groups:
Group 1. The first 13 coins, which are dated by the year on some of the coins. . Their order of minting is also known because some of the new types are struck on older types. They originate from the years 1648 to around 1653. They will not be treated here.
Group 2. The next 14 coins, have motifs from provincial coats of arms or other motifs from the national coat of arms. It is a provincial coat of arms as Norwegian Lion, Codfish of Iceland, Nettle-leaf of Holstein and so on.
If you look at a Christian IV specie, it has on the reverse 13 provincial coats of arms. These are the provincial coats of arms found on the reverse of 13 lead coins from Trankebar: The three Union Crowns, Codfish of Island, The Ditmarsk Horseman rider, Norwegian lion, Nettle-leaf of Holsten, Gotland's lamb, The Wendish Dragon, The Cross of Delmenhorst,The Gothic Lion, Slesvigs Lion, the Swan of Stormarn, and Nine Hearts.
IV specie 1624
In addition, there are three reverses: Crown, Elephant and Flower, which are not Provincial Coats of Armans, but crown and elephant are also often found on the big silver coin, the specier. The flower is found on some of Christian IV's coins, such as specie 1597 and 2 crowns 1618. It is likely that a big Danish silver coin, a specie with Provincial Coats of Arms, has been the inspiration to all the coins in group 2.
Group 3. The last 14 coins with letters on the reverse. They have the same motifs from provincial coats of arms as the coins in group 2, but now with one or two letters added. The motifs are re-used with one or two letters added: Codfish of Iceland with A, Gotland's lamb with b, The Ditmarsk Horseman C and so on.
Group 3 coins with letters are exciting and
they have given rise to different theories about the meaning of the
letters. Could it be the mint masters initials? Does any of the
letters have religious significance?
It is likely that the letters are placed on the coins in order to reuse the reverse motifs. The letters are used almost in alphabetical order.
The coins with letters are in this order: Codfish of Iceland A, Gotland's lamb b, Ditmarsken's rider c, Cross of Delmenhorst e, Crowned Norwegian Lion E, Gotland Lamb F, Crowned Norwegian Lion DC, Slesvigs Lion I, Crowned Norwegian lion I, Cross of Delmanhorst JO , Flower eV ?, Codfish of Iceland N, Nettle-leaf of Holsten O, Swan of Stormarn S.
How were the conditions in Trankebar when
these coins were stuck?
The connection to Denmark was interrupted for a number of years because of the war with Sweden, which had ruined Denmark. There were no ships for Trankebar from Denmark in the 26 years from 1643 to 1669. When the ship Færø arrives in 1669 it is the first and only ship coming from Denmark to Trankebar in reign of Frederik III..
The number of Danes in the colony fell year by year.
In 1655 Eskild Andersen Kongsbakke became a commander at Dansborg.
He had come to Trankebar in 1643 as a common soldier. He had advanced to constable and quartermaster at Dansborg.
When the last Danish officer in Trankebar, Poul Hansen Korsør dies in 1655, the crew choose Eskild Andersen as new commander.
Despite the lack of troops and resources, Eskild Andersen start trade with Bantam on Java and Macassar at Celebes. He resumes the war against Bengal and takes more good prices.
The Nayak of Tanjore tries to exploit the weaknesses of the Danes to claim more money. During a conflict with Tanjore, Trankebar withstands a nine-month siege.
So far, it has been Dansborg's cannons that kept the enemy at bay, and when town is attack, the city's population has sought shelter in the fortress. It is now changing by Eskild Andersen consolidating the city of Trankebar with a wall and cannon turrets.
Now, Trankebar is a fortified city, and it is possible to move housing, administration and warehouses outside the narrow fortress area.
When Færø on 21 May 1669 anchors at Tranquebars roadstead, Eskild Andersen, as commander and sole surviving Dane, can hand over the Danish king's representative a renovated fortress and a fortified city. His efforts have retained Trankebar in Danish hands.
Eskild Andersen had a very difficult and demanding post as commander. He received no support or guidance from Denmark. Eventually he was the only Danish in Trankebar. It is in these circumstances that the coins with letters are made. It is likely that all 28 coins with the motives from the Procincial Coats of Arms originate from the time when Eskild Andersen Kongsbakke was a commander in Trankebar.
One can imagine that the mint master has approached the commander for instructions on how new coins should look. The overburdened commander has given the mint master a big silver cion, a specie, with Provincial Coats of Arms, and it has given motives for many coins.
At some years all Provincial Coats of Arms has been used and the mint master returns to the commander. Then the idea of reusing the motifs by adding a letter to the previously used motif arise. In this way, the overburdened commander has solved the problem of coin motives for a number of years.
The Coins with Provincial Coats of Arms are some of the finest coins from Trankebar. They are also a memorial from the time when Eskild Andersen Kongsbakke, eventually as the only Danish in Trankebar, held the colony and preserved it for the Danish king.