Show Me The Money: The 5 Króna Coin - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Show Me The Money: The 5 Króna Coin

Show Me The Money: The 5 Króna Coin

Published March 28, 2017

Joanna Smith
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Until the mid-to-late 19th century, most financial transactions in Iceland were conducted in vaðmál (homespun wool). However, since 1922, Iceland has issued its own currency, the króna. Iceland never being the best at economic stability, the króna has lost significant value every decade since its initial issue, and in 1981 we decided to cut a couple of zeros from it, introducing the current króna. So, let’s meet the…

5 Króna Coin

Fishing is one of the main industries in Iceland, so it is no wonder that they’ve chosen to depict various fish on all their coins. On the five króna piece is the beloved and adorable dolphin (technically not a fish, but whatever, it lives in the sea). Unlike whale and shark, dolphin is no longer butchered for meat in Iceland. It’s apparently pretty delicious, but people obviously couldn’t taste it through their guilty tears.

Confusingly, the dolphin depicted on the coin is the short-beaked common dolphin, which is rarely spotted in Icelandic waters, as opposed to the the white-beaked dolphin, which is very common. But hey, this little gaffe wouldn’t be the first time bankers made an error of judgement.

So, What’s It worth?

If you, like most, prefer your dolphin in live form, then be prepared to collect roughly 4000 of these coins to pay for a spot on a whale and dolphin watching tour. Though we feel duty-bound to mention that most tour companies would probably prefer to be paid by credit card rather than 22kg of loose change.

Really, the five króna coin is a metaphor for the human condition: together we have consequence, alone we are just tiny insignificant specks on the earth, our lives meaningless and futile. Just think about that whenever you’re handed 5 króna—you are as worthless as that coin.

Read more “Show Me The Money” articles here.


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