Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


KARLSTEEN, Arvid: Sweden, 1694 (?), Bronze, 69 mm
Obv: Bust of Charles Gustav CARLOLVS GVST. D. G. SVEC. GOTH. VAND. REX.
Rev: Charles with his army crossing the frozen strait NATVRA HOC DEBVIT VNI.
Exergue: TRANSITVS GLORIOSVS. MARIS BALTICI. D. 7 FEB. A. 1658. (Glorious Crossing of the Baltic Sea,
February 7, 1658)
KARLSTEEN (in script)
Europese Penningen # 2172; Hildebrand I, S. 350, 28;  Weiss BW163

Charles (Karl) X Gustav (1622-1660) was king of Sweden from 1654-1660. He was the son of John Casimir, count palatine of Zweibrucken, and Catherine, sister of Gustavus Adolphus. In his early years he gained a broad education, studying in London, Marseille, the Netherlands and Germany. He ascended the throne in his early thirties when his cousin Christina abdicated. Charles was one of Sweden's greatest war kings. As military commander, he is considered to be one of the most skillful and successful in Swedish history. His efforts to dominate the Baltics resulted in the First Northern War where he achieved victories in Poland, gaining Warsaw and Krakow. This brought Russia, Brandenburg, the Netherlands, and Denmark into the war. Charles responded by invading Denmark, occupying Jutland.  By the Treaty of Roskilde, signed February 27, 1658, Denmark ceded its lands in southern Sweden to Charles.

This medal commemorates the latter phase of the war in which Charles crossed over the islands and snow covered ice of the Baltic Sea. The medal shows Charles X Gustav with his Swedish army crossing over the frozen strait between the Danish island of Funen, in the foreground, to Zealand, the largest island of Denmark, seen on the horizon.

Although the medal refers to the date at which this event  took place (February 7, 1658), it is thought to have been struck in 1694.

Charles X Gustav was succeeded by his son, Charles XI.


LINK to Portrait and History of Charles X Gustav of Sweden (from wikipedia)

LINK to the First Northern War (from World History at KMLA)