Tranquebar Coins with ship’s names.


In the first 50 years Tranquebar was Danish, lead-coins were minted with the names of most of the ships, which sailed to Tranquebar. Ships, which sailed from Tranquebar and had their names on coins, were either send out from Denmark, bought in India or captured in the privateer war against Bengal.


The connection between the ships and the coins with ship’s names is not clear. It was a big event in the small colony when ships came from Denmark. The coins might have been given ship’s names to mark the occasion. It has also been suggested that the coins with ship’s names has been minted for the account of the ships concerned.


Ships send from Denmark and the matching coins:








Stay in Tranquebar










1623 - Sep 1623





Mar 1624 - Sep 1624





Mar 1624    stranded





1623 - Sep 1623





Sep 1631 - 1644+




Keda eller Queda





St. Anna

Sep 1636 - Jan 1637





1632 – 1641




St. Jacob

1636 – 1640





1638 - 1647+




The Bengalske Prise

1642 – 1643




The forg. Sol

Sep 1640 - Mar 1643





Sep 1631 - 1644+


Crowned C4



1628 - 1635+


Crowned C4



1643 – 1650


Crowned C4

CH CAS 1645

St. Michael



Crowned C4


St. Peder St. Poul

1645 - 1652+


Crowned C4

SP:SP 1646 D:B


1638 – 1647


Crowned C4

W:B. 1647


1643 – 1650


Crowned F3

CH 1650

St. Peder St. Poul

1645 - 1652+


Crowned F3



The list includes all the ships that came to Trankebar from Denmark during the period of 20 years from 1623 to 1643. After 1643 for 29 years no ships were sent to India because of the troubled conditions in Denmark.

Coins from all ships have been found, with the exception of one, Nattergalen. The Nightingale came to Trankebar in 1624 and was lost 1626 in the Bay of Bengal.


hips purchased in India:


Ship                             Stay in Trankebar        KM      Coin Obverse              Reverse


Queda or Keda                                               11        DANNISBORG         KE DA

Post Hesten                 1628 - 1635+               27        Crown C4                   HO PO

Valdebye                     1638 - 1647+               18        DANISBORG            VAL DE BYE

Valdebye                                                         42        Crowned C4               W: B 1647      


In addition, other cutters, sampaner and junker were bought.



Ships conquered in the war against the Bengal:


Ship                             Stay in Trankebar        KM      Coin Obverse              Reverse


Den Bengalske prise   1642 – 1643                23        DANS BORG             NIJ BE

St Micael                     1644                            36        Crowned C4               St MICA EL

St. Peder and St. Povl                                     40        Crowned C4               SPSP 1646 DB

St. Peder and St. Povl                                     52        Crowned F3                S..P. P 50




The following ship’s names appear on coins:




Christianshafn was a skip of 180 laester (old measurement for ships, about 400 t). It was bought for 10.500 rigsdaler and it has been fit out for the journey for 56.000 rigsdaler. Christianshafn left Copenhagen the 8th October 1622. One of the crewmembers was the Icelandic soldier Jon Olafsson. In his book: "Oplevelser som ostindiafarer under Christian IV" he has given one of the most comprehensive descriptions of the conditions on the voyage to India and about the stay in Tranquebar.

Christianshafn left Tranquebar the 15th of September 1923 and was back in Copenhagen the 27th of May 1924. The cargo consisted of 400 barrels of pepper and a lot of linen. It was a valuable cargo.


Christianshafn managed to go to Tranquebar two more times.

The second time it left Copenhagen soon after the homecoming in 1624. It served in India some years and returned from the second voyage in 1635. The Cargo in 1635 was bought in India for 58.000 rigsdaler. It consisted of 83.940 pounds of clove, 73.893 pounds of pepper and some other commodity. The cargo was sold for 145.000 rigsdaler.


The coin with the inscription DANISBORG  CHRIS TIANS HAFN originates the first stay in Tranquebar.




KM 7.    DAN ISBOR G  CHRIS TIANS HAFN            


The third time Christianshafn left Copenhagen together with the ship Den forgyldte Sol in 1639. Near the Canarian Islands the ship was damaged by a storm and had to go to Tenerife for repair. It was seize by the Spanish, and only after long diplomatic negotiations, the ship was released in 1643.  In September 1643, Christianshafn reached Tranquebar for the third time. It now served in India for several years.

Christianshavn was Governor Willum Leyels main ship in the privateer war against Bengal.

It took part in the capture of St. Michael, St. Peder and St Povl, a Bengal fregatta and many bigger and smaller ships.

In 1645-46 Christianshavn was on a trade mission to Macassar on Celebes with a cargo of textiles.

When Christianshavn in 1649 returned to Tranquebar from a voyage to Macassar, it was in a bad shape. Information’s from 1652 says that the ship now is of no use.

After the arrival of Christianshafn in 1643, no more ships came from Denmark to Tranquebar in the next 30 years.


From Christianshavns last stay two coins are known:


KM34.   Crowned C4      CH CAS 1645                         


KM 51.  Crowned F3       CH 1650                                          




Perlen was a pinasse of 500 laester. It was bought for 21.500 rd. To this must be added equipment/fit out for the journey  for Perlen and Jupiter together for 110.00 rd.

Perlen was the biggest ship, which came to Tranquebar during the time of Christian the Fourth.

Perlen left Copenhagen together with Jupiter the 27th of March 1623. On the voyage back to Tranquebar was Governor Roland Crappe.

The ships reached Tranquebar the 15th of March 1624. The town was besieged by Naik

of Tanjores general Calincut with a force which was told to be of 40.000 men. The force to

defend Tranquebar was reduced to only 30 men. The reinforcement came in the last moment.

Calincut gave up the besiege, when the two ships arrived with reinforcement.

Perlen started the homeward passage from Tranquebar the 24th of September 1624. On the homeward passage was the Icelandic soldier Jon Olafsson. He describes the stay in Tranquebar and homeward passage in his memoirs. The homeward passage became long and dangerous. The ship ran into a rough storm and lost mast and rudder. Harbour in Ireland was reached in June 1625. First the 30th of July 1626 Perlen reached Copenhagen with the cargo intact.


KM 8.    DAN NISB ORG               PER LEN                     





Jupiter was a cutter. It was valued at 2.300 rd. It left Copenhagen in March 1623 together with Perlen. The arrival of the two ships to Tranquebar in March 1624 made Calincut, the general of the Naik of Tanjore, give up the besiege of Tranquebar.

During the time of waiting for the cargo to be collected for the homeward passage, Jupiter was sent on a trade mission to Macassar on Celebes. After a successful journey to Macassar and Bantam, Jupiter was wrecked off the coast of Bengal in 1625. 45 men drowned, only 8 men of the crew saved their lives, and a valuable cargo was lost. The stranding was a hard blow for the company, which was suffering from lack of men and capital.


KM 9.   DAN NISB ORG   IVP TER                                 



Queda eller Keda.


Keda was a small ship, which Roland bought in India.

Keda or Kedah or Queda is today a state in Malaysia. In the time of Christian the Fourth,  Kedah was a small state under Siam, and was one of the places, where the Danes traded. 

Queda was wrecked near Masulipatam, while it was chartered by some Englishmen.


KM 10.   DAN NISB ORG   KE DA                                   





Fortun was a small vessel. It left Copenhagen the 2nd December 1629 together with the navel vessel Flensborg. Near the Cape Flensborg fought with Portuguese ships. Flensborg burst into flames and blow up.

Fortun reached Tranquebar the 29th of September 1631 after a very hard journey with loss of most of the crew. Fortun served in India for several years.


In 1642 the dismissed governor Pessart flees Masulipatam in Fortuna.

In 1644 Fortun is mentioned in connection with the Danish clergyman Christen Pedersen Storm. He was put in jailed for impious life, assault and battery, rape and murder. He tried to bribe some soldiers to release him and flee with him on Fortuna. The plan was revealed and he was sentenced to death by being put into a sack and sunk into the sea. The sentence was carried out the same day.


Two coins are known with the name FORTUN on the reverse.  The first coin has the same obverse as the coins TRANGEBARI, BEWINTHEBER and T DOC B.

The second coin has same obverse as the coin HOPO, a crowned C4. 

There are several years between the two coins. Perhaps the two coins do not refere to the same ship.


KM 6.    DAN NSBO RG     FOR TUN                              


KM 26.  Crowned C4       FOR TUN                                       






The cutter Charitas left Copenhagen in 1631. Charitas served in India for a number of years.

Charitas was after Christianshavns homeward passage in1634 the only bigger ship Ronald Crappe had at his disposal.

In 1634 Charitas made a successful journey to Macassar at Celebes. It arrived to Masulipatam, which was the centre for trade at the Coromandelcoast, with a good cargo of clove and tortoiseshells. In 1636 and 1637 Charitas was again send to Macassar.

Charitas was probably the ship, which was wrecked near Petrapoliin in 1641.

Part of CHARTIAS coins are stroke on other coins. Some of these are stroke on the coin CHRISTIANSHAFN.

CHARITAS coins are often poorly made. The letters are not clear. The stroke is often poor. It could indicate that CHARITAS coins are made in a hurry and in a troubled period.


KM 15.  DAN NISB ORG      CHA RIT AS                          



St. Anna.


St. Anna was a pinasse of 350 laester (900 tons). It left in 1635 Copenhagen together with St Iacob.

St. Anna arrived to Tranquebar the 2nd September 1636.

Since Christianshavn was send to Denmark in 1634, there were no ships to send home. In the period of waiting Roland Crappe had gathered a big amount of clove. Therefore St. Anna could quickly get a cargo. After only four months stay in Tranquebar it left in January 1637 with a big cargo of clove and arrived to Copenhagen the 4th November 1637.

The cargo of clove was bought in India for 76.000 rigsdaler. The sale in Copenhagen gave 200.000 rigsdaler.

Governor Roland Crappe left Tranquebar with St. Anna after 15 years as commandant and governor in Tranquebar. Ronald Crappe had been active since the acquirement of Tranquebar in 1620.

St. Anna was the last ship, which came to Copenhagen during the reign of Christian the Fourth.


KM 14.     DAN NISB ORG       St. AN NA                      



St. Iacob.


St. Iacob was a ship of 130 laester. It left Copenhagen together with St Anna in 1635.

St. Iacob reached Tranquebar the 3rd September 1636. It was a day later than St. Anna.

St. Iacob was used for some years to sail in between Masulipatam in India and the Danish offices in Bantam and Macassar in Indonesia. On the way to India in 1640 with a valuable cargo from Macassar, St. Iacob was pushed by storm into the Bay of Bengal. Here the skip searched for shelter in Pipely, but the governor did not allow the ship to enter the harbour and it was wrecked. 16 Danish sailors died and the valuable cargo was lost. Later the Danes in Tranquebar made Bengal responsible for the shipwreck and demanded 25.000 rigsdaler in compensation for the ship and 150.000 rigsdaler for the cargo.

This shipwreck provoked the privateer war against Bengal.


KM 16.     DA NISB ORG    St IACO B                               




In 1638 the Danish governor Pessart was in Masulipatam. The ships he had sent to Bengal did not come back. St. Jacob was waiting in Indonesia for ships from China. Therefore he bought a ship which had just arrived from Ceylon. Pessart bought the skip for 1500 pagodas and it was named Valdebye. It was used for several years.

In August 1644 Valdebye together with Christianshafn was sent privateering in the Bay of Bengal. The ship did not exist in 1652.

Two coins are known which refer to the skip Valdebye.


KM 18.  DA NISB ORG VAL DE BYE                             


KM 42.  Crowned C4       WB 1647                                       



"Den forgyldte Sol" = D SOL      (the gilded sun)


"Den forgyldte Sol" was a skip of 180 laester. It was bought for 15.700 rd. It left Copenhagen in 1639 together with Christianshafn. The skips were send to investigate the conditions in Tranquebar and eventually dismiss Governor Bernd Pessart. It was the intention to investigate if the rumours, which had reached Copenhagen, were true. The rumours told about the mismanagement of Pessart in Tranquebar.

Den forgyldte Sol under the command of Claus Rytters reached Tranquebar in Oktober 1640. In Tranquebar, everything was in disorder and decay. Governor Pessart was in debtors' prison in the big town Masulipatnam.


Claus Rytter did not find any help in Tranquebar, and he vent on a trade mission with Den forgyldte Sol. Han started the privateer war against Bengal, who was made responsible for the shipwreck of St. Iacob.

In April 1642 "Den forgyldte Sol" captured a big Bengali ship. The ship was named "Den Bengalske Prise". Perhaps the coin with the name NIS BE relate to this Bengali ship.


Claus Rytter succeeded in collecting a cargo. In March 1643 He left Tranquebar with “Den forgyldte Sol”.  Homeward passage was long and difficult. For a while the ship was waiting off the coast of Madagascar, Then by the Cape. After one years journey it landed the 18th March 1644 in Brazil.

After some time the ship reached Europe. Near England Den forgyldte Sol wrecked and ship and crew was seize.


The coins D SOL and NIS BE have the same obverse with the inscription: DANS BORG, so the two coins must have been minted at about the same time.


KM 24.    DANS BORG   D SOL                                           




"Den Bengalske Prise" = NIS BE?


When Claus Rytter started the privateer war against Bengal with Den forgyldte Sol in 1642 he seized a big Bengali ship. The ship was incorporated in the fleet of Claus Rytter and was given the name "Den Bengalske Prise".

Den Bengalske Prise sailed together with Christianshafn and Valdebye in 1643 to Emeldy in  Colconda state. Her "Den Bengalske Prise" run aground and was wrecked.


NIS BE or NIJ BE or NY BE is difficult to interpret. It has been interpret to mean the name of the town Nibe in Denmark.

The coin NIS BE has the same obverse as D SOL and LÆSØ. Overstamps indicate that the coin NIS BE is earlier than D SOL.

NIS BE could be a coin with a ships name. BE in NIS BE could stand for Bengal, and in that case it could refer to the ship "Den Bengalske Prise".


KM 23.    DANS BORG   NIS BE                                          




HO PO = Posthesten.


Posthesten (Post horse) are the name of a ship bought in India by Roland Crappe in 1628. Posthesten was in use for many years in India. Coins with HO PO are supposed to refer to the ship Posthesten. Posthesten was breaken up in India.


KM 27.    Crowned C4    HO PO                                                



St Micael.


St Micael was a cutter, which was captured in the privateer war against Bengal. The cutter was captured on the day of the Saint Micael, the 29th September 1644, therefore the name St. Micael. The cutter did service for several years in the costal and middle distance trade. It was mentioned that St Micael vent to  Queda for trade in 1645.


KM 36.    Crowned C4     St MICA EL                                     



"St Peder St Poul".


The cutter "St Peder St Poul" was one of the ships that were captured in the privateer war against Bengal about 1645. It later took part in the privateer war on Danish side

In 1647 it was on a trade mission to Macassar with a cargo of canvas and linen. It was traded for clove and sandalwood, which was sold in India.

In 1648 it was forcer aground by the Portuguese. It was taken of the ground again.

In1652 "St Peder St Poul" was the only ship left in Tranquebar.


Two coins refer to the ship "St Peder St Poul":


Photo KM 40.     Crowned C4     SPSP 1646 DB                   


Photo KM 52.                   Crowned F3     SPP 50