Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
By Frank Passic, Numismatic Curator, Balzekas Museum
Lithuanian numismatics will be revolutionized beginning on January 1, 2007 when the European Union monetary system, the Euro will be introduced in the Republic of Lithuania. There will be a 15-day conversion period from January 1 to 15, when the Lithuanian monetary unit, the Litas, will still be legal tender. After that period the Euro will become the only legal tender in Lithuania. Persons holding litai will be able to exchange their old money into Euro money even after January 15 at the official exchange rate set at the time of the conversion.
The new Euro money does not mean an end to Lithuanian coinage, however. Coins produced by European Union nations contain a common obverse design, but have a national design side as well. This means that the Lithuanian Mint will still be producing coins for use in Lithuania in Euro denominations, and collectors can still look forward to the superb quality designs produced right there in Vilnius.
A design competition was held in 2004 in which 14 artists participated, producing 54 plaster models. On February 24, 2005, The Currency Design and Production Commission of the Bank of Lithuania approved three models produced by sculptor Antanas Zukauskas to use on the national side of the new Euro coins.
The Mint of Lithuania in Vilnius has now minted 2007-dated Euro pattern coins and the Bank of Lithuania has placed them on display, in order to help educate the public of the upcoming changeover which will affect every Lithuanian.
Lithuanian-produced euro coins will carry the same basic national side inner design: The Vytis emblem in the center, the word “LIETUVA” underneath, the “LMK” mintmark emblem in the lower left, with the date above the shield area in the upper right.
All coins will bear a circle of 12 stars as the outer design, representative of the original 12 members of the European Union.
The 1 and 2 Euro denominations will be bi-metallic. The 1 Euro will be “gold colored” on the outer rim, with a cupro-nickel center. The outer Euro stars design will have a background of vertical lines forming the background.
On the 2 Euro coin, the metallic content is switched. It will be “gold colored” on the inside, and cupro-nickel for the outer portion. On the outer Euro stars design, the background lines will also be vertical.
The 10, 20, and 50 Euro cent coins will all be “gold colored,” with a horizontal line background for the stars portion.
The 1, 2, and 5 cent denominations will be copper-colored, with a plain background for the stars portion.
All coins will carry the common Euro design for the obverse as used in other European Union countries. These depict the denomination numeral with the word “Euro” or “Cent” depending upon the denomination. A background outline of Europe forms the background. All Euro coins produced in Lithuania will be legal tender across Europe in the entire EU circulation area. Euro coins produced in other countries will also be legal tender in Lithuania.
1, 2, and 5 cent coins with a plain background under the stars.
10, 20, 50 cent coins with a horizontal line background under the stars.
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic