The money ship of Käräjäluoto

Käräjäluoto Lohtaja


In the 1740s, a sailing ship wrecked off the Rahakallio cliffs of Käräjäluoto island, and this ship is believed to be the Swedish tax-collection ship Förstfodingen. The shipwreck had long been based on oral folk memory only, but its existence received more evidence when copper coins of one and two öre and dozens of copper plate coins were found on the spot in the 1930s. Further finds have been made later. Based on the remnants of the ship, it was 12–14 meters long.


At the end of the 1980s, the diving club Bothnia Navalis explored the wreckage area so thoroughly that almost a thousand more copper coins were found. They are from the years between 1718 and 1748.


However, Rahakallio (“money cliff”) did not receive its name from this shipwreck. According to folk memory, a smaller sailing ship had previously wrecked when hitting the cliffs and lost its coin cargo into the sea.




The story goes that the crew of the Förstfodingen moved gold and other valuables ashore from the ship, leaving the copper coins on board. Thereafter, the ship would have been steered to the ledge and the crew would have landed. According to the same story, the shipwreck would have been investigated in the 1700s, but the crew could not be charged due to lack of evidence. (Hakala: Käräjäluoto, 2005)


“Where was the ´gold´ then? Most probably it was saved already in 1748, or there was none in the cargo.” (Hakala: Käräjäluoto, 2005)


Museum Director Pekka Toivonen said at a diving camp that the ship may also have met its fate somewhere else and that the money coffer was saved but dropped into the sea in front of Rahakallio. (Norrmén: Jakobstads Tidning, 10 July 1988)




Käräjäluoto island in 1870 (Hakala: Käräjäluoto)


Käräjäluoto´s coins (Pietarsaaren kaupunginmuseo) 


A copper plate coin (Pietarsaaren kaupunginmuseo)


Copper plate coins (Pietarsaaren kaupunginmuseo)