The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 50, December 12, 2010, Article 12


Swede 50 Kronor

Last week I wrote:

The artist on this Swedish 50 Kronor note was a singer. Who was she, and what was her connection to U.S. numismatics?

Pete Smith was the firstest with the bestest answer. He replied before midnight Sunday. But first, here's what other readers had to say.

Jim Duncan of New Zealand writes:

I think she's Jenny Lind, but as a kiwi I haven't a clue on her connection, unless she was the collector.

Mike Marotta writes:

The 50-kronor note from Sweden features Jenny Lind. My co-author Ann M. Zakelj, gave me one of these when she returned from one of her many visits to Europe. A couple of weeks later, at the Curious Bookshop in East Lansing, I found Jenny Lind: Songbird from Sweden by Elisabeth P. Myers (Champaign, Illinois: Garrard, 1968); and now the note (in a mylar sleeve) is with the book.

Searching the Internet revealed a second somewhat tangential numismatic reference. "The Songbird and the Huckster," (The Washington Post, February 4, 2002) tells of an performance by the Library of Congress, Libby Larsen's Barnum's Bird (a Choral Opera). See

In mid-19th century America, long before the Internet, television, radio or even phonographs, entertainment was a scarce commodity. When promoter P.T. Barnum brought singer Jenny Lind to America for a multi-city concert tour, and she became a national sensation. -Editor

Bob Evans writes:

The subject of the 50 Kronor note is Jenny Lind, the "Swedish Nightingale." Johanna Maria Lind was a very popular operatic soprano of the mid-nineteenth century. I'm not quite sure what the connection to U.S. numismatics is, but I will give it a shot with two somewhat oblique connections.

In 1850 she embarked on an extraordinarily popular tour of the eastern United States, a series of concerts organized by P. T. Barnum. There is a medal, made by Allen & Moore of Birmingham, England, that was probably sold in the U.S. in conjunction with the Barnum tour.

As well, there is a Jenny Lind, California, a village on the road from Sacramento to Stockton, that saw active placer mining during the Gold Rush. I'm certain that some of that gold ended up in circulating U.S. coins.

Mack Martin was thinking along similar lines:

I think the artist on this Swedish 50 Kronor note is Johanna Maria Lind (6 October 1820 – 2 November 1887). She toured America (1850) doing concerts. The gold-rush town of Jenny Lind, California the named after her.

Patrick McMahon, Director of Exhibitions and Design at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston writes:

I'm sure you'll get all sorts of answers about the numismatic link to Jenny Lind. We don't have any examples of the tokens and game counters at the MFA, but we do have a French fan from 1850 that shows several images of her—one of which is strikingly similar to the one on the Kroner. So I thought I'd share.

Jenny Lind fan

To read the complete collection entry, see: (

Joe Boling writes:

A female singer on a Swedish note has to be Jenny Lind, "The Swedish Nightingale." (Yup - I just looked it up in the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money - it's number 62 in the Modern Issues volume, same portrait continued on number 64 with more security features). And of course, she's also identified at the cited website.

Pete Smith writes:

Leonidas Westervelt compiled a list of Jenny Lind tokens and medals published by the American Numismatic Society in 1921 as No. 5 in their series Numismatic Notes and Monographs. This monograph does not mention the Swedish 50 kronor note. At one time I thought about collecting Jenny Lind medals but the topic was too large and availability too small so I abandoned my quest.

So there you have it. This singing sensation of the mid-19th century inspired a wealth of tokens and medals in her honor. Perhaps it's time for an update to the 1921 catalog. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: FEATURED WEB PAGE: ARTISTS ON BANKNOTES (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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