Coin

2006.0611.001

Title
1792 Swedish Riksdaler
Category
Creation Date
1792
Materials
Dimensions

41 mm Diameter

Description

Swedish 1 Riksdaler coin, 1792. The obverse of the coin shows a side bust of King Gustav III; around the bust it reads “Gustavus III D G Rex Sveciae.” Scratched on the obverse of the coin is "T.O. Winger" and a date that appears to be June 11, 1880 or 1881. The reverse of the coin features the Swedish national emblem; above is the word “Fäderneslandet”, below is the date 1792, and to the sides are “I” and “Rd” for one Riksdaler. Scratched onto the reverse is "Th. W." and a date of “Jan 17 '80” (see below).

The information provided with the coin indicates that it was given to Ole Torgenson Winger as the first payment for lodging at the Anoka Hotel (another family source calls it a boarding house), which he operated with his brother William Winger. Further research done at ACHS in early 2019 does not contradict this information. Certain knowledge is as follows:

Ole Winger was born on March 29, 1829 in Gausal, Norway, and immigrated to the United States in 1844. He and his wife Johanna had six children:  Theodore, Anna, Casper, Randine, Henry, and Oscar. In the 1860 Federal census, the family was living in Wisconsin. By the time of the 1870 census, they lived in Anoka. Ole’s occupation is given as “teamster,” and Johanna is listed as “keeping house.” In addition to two children (Theodore and Casper), the census records show that six Swedish-born men who all worked at the sawmill were part of the Winger household at this time. The census also lists Ole’s real estate as being valued at $1,000. This was a large sum for 1870, and this combined with the larger number of boarders is indicative that the Wingers did not live in a regular, single-family home, and may indeed have been operating a hotel or boarding house. It would not have been unusual at that time for Johanna to run the boarding house while her husband maintained another job to bring in additional money. The History of the Upper Mississippi Valley (1881) indicates that the Jackson family bought the existing hotel in Anoka in 1877, though it does not indicate whom they purchased it from. By the 1880 census, the Winger family is living in Wisconsin again, which would accord with them having sold their hotel a few years earlier. By 1900, they moved to South Minneapolis, where Ole operated a store, possibly located at or near their home at 2626 26th Avenue. Ole died December 9, 1904 in South Minneapolis, and is buried in Little Falls, Wisconsin. Johanna passed away on February 6, 1920.

Although none of the historical sources specifically state that the Wingers ran a boarding house or hotel, the existing information does support that idea. It is therefore probable that the Swedish coin was given to them in payment by one of the many Swedish men who boarded there. Further information from the family indicates that Ole first passed the coin down to his son Theodore when he turned 21 in 1881. This may explain the 1881 date scratched onto the obverse of the coin; the apparent 1880 date on the reverse side, if it is an abbreviated January 17, 1880, would coincide with Theodore’s 20th birthday. Theodore passed the coin down to his son Raymond D. Winger “sometime after WWI,” and Raymond gave it to his youngest brother William on November 17, 1970.  William later gave the coin to his nephew Glen, who donated it to ACHS. Research at ACHS did not find any reference of a brother to Ole named William who ran the hotel with him.

The Wingers would likely have accepted coinage of good silver or gold in payment, regardless of its country of origin, since coined money of any kind may have been scarce during parts of Anoka’s early history. As per the book History of Anoka County: "Slowly a little coined money began to appear. French five-franc pieces circulated at eight-four or eighty-five cents. A little Mexican silver began also to be seen. Ammi Cutter finally succeeded in making some arrangements for coin, and paid approximately fifty cents a bushel in gold for wheat at Anoka during the winter of 1857-8. For wheat sown by hand and cut with a cradle, this price was very low, but there was no danger that the farmer would find his money on the list of ‘rejected’ the next time he came town.”

Note: This original Winger hotel/boarding house which was purchased by the Jackson family was the building that burned down in the 1884 fire in Anoka. The current Jackson hotel building was built to replace it in the aftermath of that fire.


Contact the Anoka County Historical Society for more information