Images of cats from the British Museum collection, £9.99
Diameter: 44.000 mm
Gift of Sir Joseph and Lady Banks
CM SS Banks 85-27
Room 46: Europe 1400-1800
Silver riksdaler of Christina, queen of Sweden
Sweden, dated AD 1641
The Saviour of the World adorns this silver coin
Gustav II Adolf, king of Sweden (Gustavus Adolphus, reigned 1611-32) was outstanding both as a ruler and general. In the Thirty Years War (1618-48) he swept into Germany in 1630, his victories boosting the Protestant cause. He died in the Battle of Lützen (1632), and his young daughter, Queen Christina (reigned 1632-54), succeeded to the throne aged six. Gustavus' chancellor, Oxenstierna, ensured that Sweden still ended the war capable of being a leading power.
Christina took up her personal rule in 1644, and soon proved negligent and extravagant as a ruler. However, her patronage of such figures as Descartes and Grotius reflected her intellectual capacities, while her acquisitiveness as a collector built up great art collections in Sweden.
The coin shows a three-quarter-length portrait of the young queen, standing by a table on which are her crown, orb and sceptre. She is surrounded by her titles: D.G.SVE.GOT.WAN.Q.DE.REG.ET.PRI.HAE, Latin abbreviation for 'by the grace of God, designated queen and hereditary princess of the Swedes, Goths and Vandals'. Her silver dalers were nicknamed salvatordalers, from the design on the back of Christ, the arms of the kings of Sweden by his side, with the Latin legend SALVATOR MUNDI SALVA NOS ('Saviour of the World, save us').
B. Ahlström, Y. Almer and B. Hemmingsson, Sveriges Mynt 1521-1977 (Stockholm, 1976)
L.O. Lagerqvist, H. Hirsch and U. Nordlind, Goldmünzen und Reichstaler Sch (Bern, 1996)
J.S. Davenport, European crowns, 1600-1700 (Galesburg, Illinois, 1974)