Lithuanian Currency

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The Lithuanian Currency : 

The Lithuanian Currency Carla Galea 3 Liedna


COINS The Lithuanian Litas (plural Litai), denoted by LTL, is the official currency of Lithuania. The currency was first issued by the Bank of Lithuania in October 1922, but was recalled from circulation after Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union 18 years later. Today, the LTL has been in use since 1993 when it replaced a temporary currency called Talonas.

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One Litas is divided into 100 cents. All coins have one side with its value printed, and the other side with the national coat of arms. National Coat of Arms

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National Coat of Arms The coat of arms of Lithuania, consisting of an armor-clad knight on horseback holding an olden sword and shield, is also known as Vytis ("the Chaser"). The Lithuanian coat of arms is one of the oldest national coat of arms in Europe.

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1 centas coin:  The 1 centas coin has a square ornament with triangle tulips in each corner. In the center there is a symbol of the columns of Gediminas. 2 centai coin: The 2 centai coin has an ornament shaped as a primitive spindle. It is composed of three open triangles and a stylized sun pattern on the top. 5 centai coin: The 5 centai coin has an ornament shaped as a wind vane. The central element is a leaf. On top of the ornament is a cross. Below are two small angels blowing trumpets.

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10 centų coin: The 10 centų coin has an ornamental triangular fir tree pattern in the background. The triangle points downwards. 20 centų coin: The 20 centų coin has a horizontal ornamental "fir tree" pattern under the number 20. 50 centų coin: The 50 centų coin has an ornamental fir tree pattern divided into fourteen equal parts which runs alongside the rim.

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1 litas coin: The 1 litas coin has an edge that is rimmed. The number 1 is in a hollow circle located in the upper part of the coin. Under the circle there is a symmetrical ornament formed by a series of curved bars.

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2 litai coin: diameter - The 2 litai coin has an edge that is divided into 5 rimmed sections parted by gaps of plain surface. 3 central bars of each section are thicker than the rest. The outside circle has an ornament formed of 2 groups of curved bars that are positioned symmetrically to the vertical axis of the coin.

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5 litai coin: The 5 litai coin edge has an inscription: PENKI LITAI (five litai) repeated twice and separated by a mark. The outside circle bears an ornament formed from three evenly spaced groups of curved bars. PENKI LITAI

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BANK NOTES The modern banknotes of Lithuania are denominated in litas. All banknotes are of the same size (135 mm x 65 mm) except for the 500 litų banknote. They bear signatures of Minister of Finance and of Chairperson of the Bank of Lithuania Board. The banknotes are not printed in Lithuania. At first they were printed by United States Banknote Corporation, later by UK-based Thomas De La Rue and Co.Ltd. and Germany-based Giesecke & Devrient GmbH.

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10 litų : The reverse of the 10 litų banknote features Lithuanian heroes, Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas. In 1933 they flew from New York over the Atlantic Ocean with a small plane called Lituanica. However, the plane mysteriously crashed in Germany (now Poland). The duo did not survive. The obverse depicts Lituanica flying over the Atlantic Ocean with visible shores of the North America and Europe.

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20 litų : The banknote features a portrait of the Lithuanian romantic poet Maironis (real name Jonas Mačiulis, 1862-1932) who was a great patriot and made efforts to "wake up" the nation, to inspire resistance to Russification policies and fight for the independence of Lithuania from Imperial Russia. The obverse features the Vytautas the Great War Museum in Kaunas, with its carillon tower (the most famous exhibit in the museum is a wreckage of "Lituanica" airplane). The reverse also depicts the Statue of Liberty by Juozas Zikaras commemorating the declaration of Lithuania's independence in 1918.

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50 litų : The obverse bears a portrait of the national patriarch, scholar, statesman and signatory of Lithuania's Declaration of Independence of February 16, 1918, Dr. Jonas Basanavičius (1851-1927). Sometimes he is nicknamed as "father of independence" as he was the chairman of Council of Lithuania when the declaration was signed. The back of the banknote depicts Vilnius Cathedral and its belfry, Monument to Grand Duke Gediminas, Gediminas Castle and the Hill of Three Crosses. All these objects are considered as the heart of Vilnius and are strong national symbols.

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100 litų : It features Simonas Daukantas(1793–1864), the initiator of the national rebirth movement (when Lithuanians started to realize that they are one nation), historian, who wrote the first history of Lithuania in the Lithuanian language. The reverse shows the Vilnius Old Town, which is included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The focus is the architectural ensemble of Vilnius University with St. John's Church and its belfry. This makes Vilnius featured twice.

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200 litų : The banknote features a portrait of Vydūnas (real name Vilhelmas Storosta, 1868-1953), a prominent Lithuanian philosopher, writer, poet, playwright, musician, pedagogue and culture educator. He was spreading idealistic philosophy and ideas of humanism through his works. The back depicts Klaipeda (Memel) lighthouse erected in 1796 and reconstructed in 1819. The lighthouse was 29.2 m high and its beams stretched up to 35 kilometers. The lighthouse was a symbol of the city and was popular among tourists. However, it has not survived and is not well known today.

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500 litų : The banknote depicts a portrait of Vincas Kudirka (1858-1899), a Lithuanian writer, participant of the national rebirth movement and author of Tautiška giesmė, the national anthem. The back of the note shows Bell of the Freedom in the background of Nemunas loops, a well-known scenery. This banknote is slightly bigger than the rest (147 mm x 70 mm) and has 22 security features (other banknotes have 16-19). At first it was doubted if Lithuania needs 500 litai banknote as it was more than a minimum monthly salary. The designer of the banknote is Giedrius Jonaitis and it is the only release.

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