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Carl von Linné, pengarna och Uppsala universitets myntkabinett
Uppsala University, Music and Museums, Uppsala University Museum, Uppsala University Coin Cabinet.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6727-4645
2009 (Swedish)In: Samlad glädje 2009 / [ed] Curt Ekström, Kjell Holmberg och Magnus Wijk, Uppsala: Numismatiska Klubben i Uppsala , 2009, 155-165 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

When Carolus Linnæus came to Uppsala in 1728 to continue his studies, he was impressed by the university library and its rich collections, not least the Augsburg art cabinet. It was probably at that time that Linnæus became acquainted with ancient coins, as the art cabinet included a set of them. A survey of the evidence of Linnæus’ relation to and understanding of coins and money reveals several important aspects to add to the picture drawn by historians who have focussed on his ideas about the “economy of nature”. To highlight only a few of them, mention should be made of Linnæus’ own reports of his penniless student life. He both earned and lost money through his expeditions in Sweden. In Kalix, during his journey to Lappland, he observed a barter economy and its shortcomings compared to a monetary economy. Only when he left his home country did Linnæus achieve general acclaim in academia, and this coincided with growing affluence, primarily through the dowry of his wife. Given his experience with money, or rather lack of experience, it hardly seems surprising that Linnæus developed a reticent relationship to it. It is apparent from his letters, that lack of money haunted not only Linnæus but also his disciples on their journeys. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that he opposed Uppsala university’s decision to buy the coin collection of its chancellor Carl Didrik Ehrenpreus in 1751, preferring instead to spend the money on the scientific collection of his recently deceased pupil Fredric Hasselquist. Linnæus did, however, take a certain interest in Arabic coins, which he had asked Hasselquist to bring with him from his travels. Yet another dimension of Linnæus’ relation to money and coins can be found in his Nemesis divina, where he noted several cases of divine revenge meted out to the avaricious, the uncharitable, and to money lenders. In summary, Linnæus regarded money as something that one should not strive for, as that would lead to calamities. Strangely, and interestingly, he reached this conclusion just after having received the highest amount of money that was ever paid to him after he had sold his method of growing pearls artificially to the Swedish parliament.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Numismatiska Klubben i Uppsala , 2009. 155-165 p.
Keyword [en]
Carolus Linnaeus, money, Uppsala University Coin Cabinet
Keyword [sv]
Carl von Linné, pengar, Uppsala universitets myntkabinett, numismatik
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-128946OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-128946DiVA: diva2:332289
Available from: 2010-08-03 Created: 2010-08-03 Last updated: 2013-08-13Bibliographically approved

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Mäkeler, Hendrik
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