Sweden, 20 crowns, 1881, type 3

Product no.: 74005261881Z64
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minted from 1877-1899 in Stockholm, mintmaster Emil Brusewitz (1876-1908).
AV: King Oskar II of Sweden (1872-1907)
RV.: Coat of arms of Sweden



Oskar II (1829-1907), born Prince Oskar Fredrik Bernadotte of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Östergötland, was King of Sweden from 1872 until his death in 1907 and King of Norway in personal union from 1872 until 1905. As third-born, he was never intended for the throne. Initially, he moved to second in line to the throne due to the death of his older brother Prince Francis Gustav. After the death of his brother Charles XV in 1872, he took the throne as Oscar II. During his reign, he had four different types of coins minted.
Oskar II had a great interest in literature and poetry. In 1857, for example, he was awarded a prize by the Swedish Academy for a manuscript submitted anonymously. In order to be able to continue to comment anonymously in the press on current political issues afterwards, he signed his contributions O**** or Oskar Fredrik. Given his many patronages of literary figures, it is not without a certain irony that the greatest contemporary author, August Strindberg, and Oskar II, of all people, held each other in low esteem. Because Strindberg repeatedly criticized the aristocracy and the establishment in general, the king categorically rejected his works and raged against almost everything the latter wrote.
The second major interest of Oskar II was foreign policy. Through his extensive kinship connections, he frequently acted as a mediator in international issues. In the Samoa crisis of 1889, for example, he was entrusted with the task of appointing a chief magistrate for the islands and mediating between the great powers of Great Britain, the United States and Germany, as he did later in 1899. He was also asked to help when the border conflict between British Guiana and Venezuela threatened to escalate in 1897/98.
The most drastic event in Oskar's reign was Norway's secession from Sweden in 1905. Norway had never really liked the personal union with Sweden, and so after 1821 there were constant minor feuds between the Swedish and Norwegian governments. Until about 1880 there were chances for compromises and partial solutions, but the king insisted on following his own ideas. As the relationship between the two parties continued to deteriorate, Oskar II at first even threatened military action to resolve the crisis by force. Later, however, he did not stand in the way of a peaceful solution, but wrote in his memoirs that he had suffered greatly from the Union breach.

Additional product information

Origin Sweden
Occasion Accession to power
Grading MS-64
Material AU
Material Gold
Fine weight


Literature KM 748, Frbg. 93a

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