Actual Gold Content: .1867 troy ounce
|While Finland may be best known historically for the fierce defence of its independence during the Second World War, it has only been an independent state, in its current form, since 1917. Part of Sweden from the middle ages, it was conquered by Russia in 1809 following what was appropriately called the "Finnish War." Finland was incorporated within the Russian Empire as an autonomous grand duchy and adopted the ruble as its medium of exchange.|
In 1859 the Finnish senate petitioned the Tsar for its own currency, arguing the ruble was too large a unit for a poor country such as Finland. The request was granted the next year and the markkaa was instituted, set at 1/4 the value of the ruble. Corresponding to Finland's status as part of the Russian Empire, the obverse of the 20 markkaa gold coin bears the the coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Finland - a crowned lion brandishing a sword, trampling on a saber - within the Imperial Russian arms.
It is interesting to note that the saber the lion is trampling on is Russian. The markkaa would allow Finland to join the gold standard in 1878, 19 years before Russia finally did.
"Joining the European gold standard was of crucial importance to Finland. Our economy was in fact twenty to thirty years behind the other members of the 'gold club' - countries like Sweden, Switzerland, and Holland. We were, in a sense, out of our league. Yet the decision to join the gold standard entailed rapid economic growth which, by the 1890s, had broken the vicious cycle of poverty." - historian Antti Kuusterä.The markkaa remained the currency of Finland from 1860 until its replacement by the euro in 2002.