Faroe Islands

Banknotes from the end of the world!

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It's a great moment for Numizon! Here is already the 100th country registered in the catalog of banknotes of the world. We have chosen for the occasion to present to you the 33 banknotes issued by the Faroe Islands (1), a region in the far north of Europe that is probably little known to most of us ...

The "islands of the sheep"

The Faroe Islands are an integral part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but this province has been autonomous since 1948. Located on the borders of the North Atlantic, halfway between the north of Scotland and Iceland, this piece of Danish territory is made up of 18 volcanic islands. Under the climatic influence of depressions coming from the Arctic, the archipelago has a grandiose, wild and unspoiled nature, sculpted by vertiginous rocky coasts sheltering large grassy moors classified in the world fund for nature under the name of "northern prairies of the Faroe Islands”. These islands, still preserved from mass tourism, are a magical place where the grandeur of the landscapes is measured by their isolation!

The first banknotes

When World War II broke out, the armies of the Third Reich quickly occupied Denmark. The Danish krone is then the official currency used on the territory of the Faroe Islands since 1821. As the exchanges between Denmark and the archipelago are brutally interrupted, the Faroese authorities react quickly and, from May 31, 1940, decide on a provisional issue consisting of 5 Danish banknotes of 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 kroner type 1940 overprinted in red ink with the following mention: "Kun Gyldig paa Færøerne, Færø Amt, Juni 1940", that is to say: "Only valid in the Faroe Islands, County of the Faroe Islands, June 1940". These banknotes are very rare today and are still missing from many collections.


Above: front of 10 kroner type 1940 (Pick # 2) with the handwritten signature of the Prefect, Carl Aage Hilbert. Dimensions: 132 x 80 mm.

"English" Banknotes

Since the German invasion of Denmark, the United Kingdom has controlled the archipelago of the Faroe Islands. New banknotes of 1, 5, 10 and 100 kroner type 1940 are printed from November 1940 "in the name of the National Bank of Denmark". The printing was entrusted to the English printer Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company.


Above: front of 10 kroner type 1940 (Pick # 11) printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company. Dimensions: 132 x 80 mm.

Føroyar notes

On April 1, 1948, with the entry into force of the law on the internal autonomy of the Faroe Islands, the archipelago becomes an “autonomous community” within the Danish kingdom. From 1949, the government of the Faroe Islands (Føroyar) launched a first issue with a series of banknotes denominated in Krónur. The 1 krone banknote is no longer printed and different values are gradually introduced: 5 krónur (1951), 10 krónur (1954), 100 krónur (1964) and 50 krónur (1967). The main motif depicted on the 5 and 10 krónur banknotes is a ram (on a coin for the 5 krónur and on a shield for the 10 krónur), while the 50 krónur banknote bears the likeness of Nólsoyar Páll and that of 100 krónur is composed of the portrait of Venceslaus Ulricus Hammershaimb. Two banknotes worth 500 krónur and 1,000 krónur were added to the list in 1978, as well as a 20 krónur banknote in 1986.


Above: front of 20 Krónur type 1986 (Pick # 19). Dimensions: 125 x 72 mm.

Local wildlife banknotes

The latest series of banknotes issued by the Faroe Islands (Føroyar) is a vibrant tribute to the diversity of animal fauna of the Faroese archipelago. Each animal being selected for this program is represented on the front of 5 banknotes of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 krónur. This series, put into circulation between 2001 and 2005, will be upgraded in 2011 by adding new micro-optical safety signs. These magnificent banknotes are, like the Faroe Islands, of great graphic richness. As these denominations circulate only locally, they are actively sought after by all collectors around the world.


Above: front of the 200 krónur type 2003 (Pick # 26) illustrated by a ghost butterfly (Hepialus humuli). Dimensions: 145 x 72 mm.


(1) In Danish, the name of the archipelago is Færøerne. The term could come from Old Norse fær ("sheep"), øerne being the definite plural of ø ("island") in Danish. Færøerne would mean according to this hypothesis "the islands of the sheep". In Faroese, his name is Føroyar. Oyar is the plural of oy, an obsolete term for "island".

Our sources

  • "Faroe Islands", Wikipedia.
  • "Faeroe Islands", Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1368-1960, 12th edition (pages 477 to 478).
  • "Faeroe Islands", Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1961-present, 17th edition (pages 362 to 364).
  • "Faroe Islands" by Owen W. Linzmeyer.
  • Bank Note Museum : "Faeroe Islands".
  • Photos archives: Bank Note Museum, Bruun Rasmussen, cgb.fr, Heritage Auctions, MA-Shops.com.

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