‘Throwing Coins’ from the Coronation of Frederik III in 1648

At the coronation on 23 November 1648 in Copenhagen, the king rode in a procession from the Church of Our Lady to Copenhagen Castle. He may have been seated in the exhibited saddle, which was, however, made for his elder brother’s wedding in 1634. The magnificent saddle can be seen in the same display case as the coins. Behind the king rode people who threw these specially minted ‘largesse’ coins to the rabble. At the same time the city’s fountains flowed with wine, and portions of roast ox were handed out — all ways in which the king displayed his wealth and his ability to provide for his people. The tradition of throwing coins to the rabble isn’t particularly Danish; it is known across Europe and stems from antiquity.

There is no explanation for why the coins are square rather than round. For the anointing of Christian V in 1670 they were even triangular!