Thursday, May 24, 2012

Centenary of the Finnish Banknote 18.5.1985

By virtue of the edict of Tsar Alexander II, issued on 4 April 1860, Finland had received its own monetary unit, the markka, tied to the Russian rouble, which itself was a fluctuating currency. The name ‘markka’ was defended by the fact that it was the oldest name for money in Finland; originally, it had been used for a medieval unit of weight.
In 1863 Johan Vilhelm Snellman was appointed Chief of Finance of the Senate. In this office, he was responsible for Finland's economic policy, and his key achievement was the pegging of the Finnish markka to the silver standard in 1865, which led to the stabilisation of the country's currency.
The monetary reform, however, did not prove sustainable, as in the 1870s the price of silver started to decline and one state after another changed over to the gold standard: Germany in 1871, Denmark and Sweden in 1873, Norway in 1875 and Finland in 1878. Russia did not adopt the gold standard until 1897.
Redemption of banknotes in gold was suspended in Finland in 1915. In 1926–1931 the gold standard prevailed again until it was abandoned as a consequence of the depression of the early 1930s. Since then, it has not been possible to exchange banknotes for gold.
Historically, Finnish banknotes reflect the country's economic and political history. The shortage of silver at the beginning of the 20th century led to the completion of the banknote series with 1 markka, 25 penni and 50 penni notes. During the national romantic period, the pictorial motifs of banknotes designed by the architect Eliel Saarinen and introduced in 1909 were related to Finnish nature and sources of livelihood, cattle breeding, forestry and shipping. The banknote series of the period of Finnish independence (type 1922) already reflects the features of classicism, and the human figures depicted on the notes ‘inspire confidence in the future’.

The eight stamps on this big minisheet on this huge First Day Cover (310mm x 220mm) were issued on 18.5.1985, which day marked the Centenary of the Finnish Banknote. The stamps on it are: 5 mk banknote from 1886; 50 mk banknote from 1909; 500 mk and on the lower edge 20 mk banknotes 1909; 1000 mk banknote 1909; 1000 mk banknote 1909, 500 mk banknote 1922; 500mk 1922. 50 mk banknote 1945; and the 5000 mk banknote 1940 and 500 mk 1955. My friend Pia sent me this wonderful FDC.

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