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Books about Svalbard (Spitzbergen, Spitsbergen):
Travel map Spitzbergen Explorer
Lord Dufferin's Victorian bestseller Letters from High Latitudes
BRADT TRAVEL GUIDES: Spitsbergen (forthcoming)
Svalbard: Portrait of an Arctic Summer
Norway's Arctic Islands: Jan Mayen, Svalbard, Bjornoya
A short history of Svalbard
Arctic Expedition Handbook and BSES Svalbard Scrapbook
The thriller The Svalbard Passage
A boy's book: North of Danger

Find Svalbard/Spitzbergen items on eBay


The Arctic group of islands known as Svalbard, or Spitzbergen in English (Spitzbergen being the name of the largest island) was no-man's land but became Norwegian in the early 1920's through the Svalbard treaty. This treaty poses some restrictions on Norway's power over the islands, e.g. all citizens of all treaty signatories have the right to live and work there.

A barren part of the world, with no permanent or indigenous population, it has for some hundred years been exploited for furs, whaling and coal mining. The mining companies have issued their own local notes (or, legally, IOUs) for use in the remote and isolated mining communities. This practice did not end until the 1990's. Most notes are scarce, but for the most modern ones (1970's and later).

A number of companies have had their small settlements and have issued notes (IOUs) for use in these settlements.

A major issuer is the Russian state mining company Arktikugol, issuing notes 1931-1979, coins 1946 and twice in the 1990's.

Another major issuer is Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani (SNSK for short) that has issued notes from the early 1920's to the 1970's. Most pre-1970 notes are scarce. Earlier issues can be found as blanks (unnumbered and without signatures), such blanks are collectible.

Other issuers are (were):

Relevant catologues are Svalbardsedler 1992, the very first catalogue of these notes, and Svalbardsedler 1994 which is a newer price list. Beware that recent auctions have shown that many older notes are not as scarce as previously thought. No newer price lists exists.

On the island of Bjørnøya (Bear Island) -also a part of the Svalbard territory - there also has been issued notes, but I have no info on these notes - other than that they are scarce.

Relevant information links:


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© janeriks Jan Erik Frantsvåg 2001 Reg.no. NO 983 140 831
Contact me by e-mail: mn@janeriks.no