Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
By Frank Passic, Numismatic Curator
Dr. Aleksandras M. Rackus, 1935
One aspect of Lithuanian numismatics that has not been discussed much is that of postcards and greeting cards illustrating Lithuanian coins and currency. Oftentimes the postcards are “reduced size” photographs of Lithuanian banknotes, coins and/or medals. This writer has seen postcards dating from the 1920s with pictures of, for example, a 1,000 litu banknote, a Petras Rimsa medal, and a mounted frame with all of Lithuania’s 1922 “permanent” banknotes along with a photograph of the bank itself. These occasionally pop up in auctions or on price lists of world post cards, and are interesting “supplements” to a numismatic collection.
In the collection of the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago are several numismatic-related Christmas greeting cards produced during the 1950s by the noted Lithuanian numismatist, Dr. Aleksandras Rackus (1893-1965). It was Dr. Rackus’ collection of Lithuanian items that formed the basis for the beginning inventory of the Balzekas Museum. Many of Dr. Rackus’ Lithuanian collections of various sorts (stamps, coins, medals, amber, etc.) were acquired by the Museum at is founding, including his Christmas cards.
In addition to his professional skills, nationalistic and numismatic zeal, Dr. Rackus was also an artist. His original colorful Christmas greeting cards bore a Lithuanian patriotic, religious, and/or numismatic theme. Many of these cards depict early Lithuanian coins or Lithuanian symbols of freedom. The Balzekas Museum’s collection of these cards also includes several original art-work plastic-type sheets used by the printer for the silk-screen printing of Rackus’ cards. These Christmas cards are just one example of the numerous items Dr. Rackus produced to promote awareness of Lithuania.
We are happy to reproduce these patriotic Lithuanian Christmas cards here for our internet visitors and friends each Christmas season. The top greeting translates, “Holy Christmas Greetings” on the top in Lithuanian, and in English on the bottom, “Holiday Greetings.” The center illustrates the Lithuanian Liberty Bell with the text that translates, “Ring Throughout the Ages for the Children of Lithuania, He who does not Defend Freedom is not Worthy of it.” The inside of the card bears a religious theme in keeping with Lithuanian tradition, depicting “The Madonna of Krekenava, Lithuania” with angels on the left. The bottom text states, “Best Wishes! Dr. & Mrs. A.M. Rackus.” Dr. Rackus was married to Katrina Ambrozaite (1898-1964).
Also pictured here are a numismatic Christmas card featuring an alleged denar issued by Grand Duke Vytautas in the lower left; and a praying hands religious card.
Bell Christmas Card
Religious Christmas Card
Vytautas coin Christmas Card
The front of this card features denars of Grand Duke Algirdas," and (next image)
"The Miraculous Madonna in Siluva, Lithuania" is featured on the inside along with Christmas greetings from the Rackus'.
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic