1st European Banknote

The first European banknote, issued by Stockholms Banco of Sweden
The first European banknote, issued by Stockholms Banco of Sweden

Historical Context

Stockholms Banco issued the first banknote in Europe in 1661. They were a much easier way of making transactions than lugging around bags of copper and silver coins, but could be exchanged for metal at a later date.

Eventually they caused more problems than they were worth - so many people used the notes and lent them that the bank was unable to honour requests for the credit to be transferred into metal coinage. Eventually the bank collapsed and the Swedish government took over, and the bank's founder, Johan Palmstruch, was imprisoned.

His idea of banknotes however did not die and would reach its apogee in Europe with the introduction of a banknote across borders - the Euro - in 2002.

Document Info


Location signed: Stockholm, Sweden

Source: Cité de l’économie et de la Monnaie

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