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History of the Museum

The collection of the Economy Museum is one of Sweden's oldest, and the first objects date from around 1572. The collection consists of 650,000 objects, of which 450,000 are coins from all over the world.

Key history moments

16th century

Circa 1572                       
Johan III's chancellery clerk Rasmus Ludvigsson collects old Swedish coins as part of the dispute with Denmark over the right to include three crowns in the national coat of arms.

A large number of medieval coins are discovered in Tystberga Parish in Södermanland, and become part of the royal collection.

17th century

Gustav II Adolf bequeaths old coins to the collection.

Circa 1650    
Queen Kristina receives considerable coin and medal gifts from her cousin Karl Gustav (Karl X Gustav) – all of them plundered during the Thirty Years' War.

Queen Kristina leaves Sweden and takes the coin collection with her to Amsterdam.

The College of Antiquities is established at the Gustavianum in Uppsala, and is tasked with collecting antiquities.

Elias Brenner and Nils Keder work as numismatically trained officials at the Antiquities Archive, which replaces the College of Antiquities in 1692. In 1697, a fire breaks out in the castle. The collections are rescued and transported to Helgeandsholmen.

Karl XI repurchases coins pledged by Queen Kristina in Amsterdam.

Museum collections

The collections have subsequently been expanded through gifts, purchases, exchanges and deposits.

Coins on a black background

18th century

Count Jacob Cronstedt's Roman coin collection is purchased for 48,000 daler K.M.

Magnus von Bromell's extensive Swedish coin collection is purchased by the state in 1734 and is presented as a gift to Queen Ulrika Eleonora. After her death, it is transferred to the Royal Coin Cabinet.

Crown Princess Lovisa Ulrika purchases Carl Gustav Tessin's large coin and medal collection for 135,370 daler K.M.

1751 – 1777                    
The Swedish cabinet minister Carl Reinhold Berch is head of the Royal Coin Cabinet and makes important contributions to research in the field of numismatics.

Queen Lovisa Ulrika is forced to hand over her collections to the state in compensation for the sums that the state must pay in connection with the queen's massive debts to creditors.

The collections are moved to the newly constructed Stockholm Castle.

The Royal Academy of Letters is established and becomes the owner of the collection.

1793 – 1816 
The collections become part of the Royal Museum, an art museum. From 1816 they are moved back to the Royal Academy of Letters.

19th century

1832 – 1879 
The period of professional activity of Bror Emil Hildebrand, who plays an important role in the development of the Royal Coin Cabinet.

1844 – 1845                    
The Royal Coin Cabinet moves from Stockholm Castle to Ridderstolp House on Skeppsbron.

In 1846, the coins and medals are displayed in public in Sweden for the first time, in connection with the opening of a public exhibition in Ridderstolp House.

Diplomat Gustaf Lorich's collection of Celt-Iberian coins is purchased.

The extensive De Geers coin collection is donated by Charlotte von Platen.

The collections of the Royal Coin Cabinet are moved to the new national museum building. Other collections belonging to the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities had also been moved to this location, which soon became the National Historical Museum.

In 1866, Nationalmuseum is inaugurated on Blasieholmen.

18th century

Until 1940, the Royal Coin Cabinet had an exhibition on the ground floor of Nationalmuseum.

1938 – 1948                    
The Royal Coin Cabinet and the National Historical Museum move to new premises at Narvavägen-Storgatan on Östermalm. New exhibitions are inaugurated.

The Corpus Nummorum Saeculorum (CNS) project is launched. An international publication of coin treasures of the Viking age.

The “Coins of the Swedish Possessions” room is completed.

A permanent exhibition, “Coins of the World”, is inaugurated.

Svenska Handelsbanken's “Bank Museum” is incorporated into the Royal Coin Cabinet.

The Royal Coin Cabinet becomes an independent museum within the newly formed Swedish National Heritage Board and National Historical Museums.

The project known as “Sweden's Monetary History – The Provincial Inventory” is launched. Swedish coin finds are published by historical province.

The Royal Coin Cabinet starts a collaboration with Sweden's savings banks to jointly create an “economy museum” – the first of its kind in Europe.

On 11 June, the exhibitions are inaugurated by Carl XVI Gustaf.

The museum moves to new premises at Slottsbacken 6 in Stockholm’s Old Town. The museum changes its name from the Royal Coin Cabinet – The National Museum of Coin, Medal and Monetary History to the Royal Coin Cabinet – National Museum of Economy.

In January 1999, a new agency is formed: National Historical Museums. This public authority includes the Historical Museum, the Royal Coin Cabinet and the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities. In 2000, the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities is transferred to the National Museums of World Culture, another public authority.

National Historical Museums

The Economy Museum is a part of the Swedish agency National Historical Museums, since 1975. At the moment five Swedish history museums are included in the agency.

People trying on historical clothes in the museum

21st century

Tumba Bruksmuseum is inaugurated. The exhibitions are produced by the Royal Coin Cabinet. 

2013 – 2020 
In 2013, it is discovered that objects were missing from the collections of the Royal Coin Cabinet. A police investigation is launched, and an extensive and systematic inventory of the collections is conducted. In total, about 1500 objects are reported missing to the police – mainly gold and silver coins. The 2020 documentary mini-series Guldfeber recounts the story of the thefts. 

The exhibitions at Slottsbacken 6 are closed. 

National Historical Museums implements an organisational change. The contract archaeology service known as The Archaeologists, which previously belonged to the National Heritage Board, becomes part of the agency. 

Due to a sharp increase in rental costs, the decision is made to move the Royal Coin Cabinet from Slottsbacken 6.

In January 2018, National Historical Museums is expanded to include the Royal Armoury, the Hallwyl Museum and Skokloster Castle.

The Royal Coin Cabinet moves from Slottsbacken 6 to Narvavägen-Storgatan – the same building as the Swedish History Museum. 

December 2020
The first temporary exhibition, Hyperinflation, opens after the move to the premises of the Swedish History Museum.

August 2022
The museum closes temporarily to build permanent exhibitions.

April 2021 – October 2022
The museum presents the temporary exhibition 'Hyperinflation – Involuntary Millionaires and Worthless Money' at Narvavägen.

June 2024
On June 1st, the museum reopens at Narvavägen with the permanent exhibitions MONEY! and The Economy Lab.

Main sponsor of the Economy Museum