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Click to enlarge take your time 100 Kr. note depicting VASA

The King's Ship VASA

The Vasawas an ill-fated royal ship whose maiden voyage in 1628 lasted little more than 2 hours, and was followed by 330 years of solitude at the bottom of the silt laden waters of Stockholm harbour-a strange fate for a man-of-war built to maintain Swedish power in the Baltic against the threatened attack by the Habsburg Empire.

This seventeenth-century warship is unique, the best-preserved so far discovered to be definitely identifiable, as raised from the clay mud on 4th May, 1961 and towed into dry dock on her own keel. No record of the finding of the court of inquiry, set up immediately after the disaster of her launching, has ever come to light. For 60 years after, various types primitively tried to obtain her booty.

In Commemoration of His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf officially opening The new Vasa Museum at Galärvarvet, The Bank of Sweden released two commemorative coins on the 15th of June, 1990. They are the 27 g. silver 200 Kronor (depicted on this page), and 5.8 g. gold 1000 Kronor coins.

The obverse motifs of both coins have the portrait of the King and the legend CARL XVI GUSTAF SVERIGES KONUNG. The reverse gold side depicts a shield with the Vasa family coat of arms from the stern of the ship. The legend reads REGALSKEPPET VASA 15 JUNI 1990 and the face value. The reverse of the 200 Kr. silver coin shows the man of war Vasa and a small Swedish coat of arms of three crowns, with the legend the same as the gold.

The issues were declared a limited issue, only two silver pcs. per customer were allowed directly from the Swedish Mint. Respectively the coins are 36 and 21mm; 925 and 900 fine silver and gold, and have a mintage of 50,000 and 15,000.

The VASA Time line:

  1. 1625 King Gustav II Adolf commissions the building of the Vasa.

  2. 1628 The Vasa founders in Stockholm habour on her maiden voyage.

  3. 1664 Most of the cannons are recovered.

  4. 1956 Anders Franzén finds the Vasa after several years of searching.

  5. 1961 The VASA is brought to the surface after 333 years.

  6. 1962 A temporary museum is opened, spraying with the PEG preservative commences and continues until 1979.

  7. 1987 Work begins on the new museum.

  8. 1988 The Vasa is transported to the half completed Vasa Museet.

  9. 1990 Museum officially opens.

  10. 1995 The VASA's rigging is completed.

The Vasa dimensions

  1. Length, including the bowsprit: 69m (226 ft.)
  2. Max width: 11.7 m (38 ft.)
  3. Max. height: 19m (62 ft.)
  4. Draught: 4.8 m (15 ft. 9 in)
  5. Displacement: 1,210 tons

The VASA had 10 sails, six have been preserved, 64 cannons (3 preserved), and could hold approx. 450 men 300 of which were soldiers. On the day she sank 100-150 men were on board. Twenty skeletons were found and preserved. Visitors are not allowed on board because the ship is kept in a perpetual low light intensity and moist atmosphere.

Sweden 1990 200 Kr. Pf.

Sweden 1990 200 Kr. / click for front enlargement Sweden 1990 200 Kr. obverse / Click for enlargement

Water Color of Maiden Voyage / Click for 841x598x256 enlargement

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Page Est. 09 September 2000.
Updated January 2017. © Mark S. Öhberg