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Timeline of Lithuanian Coins

Updated on June 27, 2016
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If you have more things than you need...spend too much time with them...still want more of them... you are probably a collector.

Struck During The Reign Of Polish King Wladislaw Jagello

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Gold One-Half Dukat Obverse MonogramGold One-Half Dukat Reverse Crown with cross
Gold One-Half Dukat Obverse Monogram
Gold One-Half Dukat Obverse Monogram | Source
Gold One-Half Dukat Reverse Crown with cross
Gold One-Half Dukat Reverse Crown with cross | Source

Why A Timeline?

It all started with sorting some old Lithuanian coins. They fell into two date ranges: from 1925 to 1938 and from 1501 to 1665.

The first group was from the short lived Republic that existed between the World Wars between occupation by Germany and occupation by the Soviet Union.

Ancient Times Can Be Confusing Times.

The second group, was much more complicated. Lithuania's history is intertwined with the neighboring countries. Sometimes independant. Other times occupied. And yet other times, in a joined state, most notably with Poland. The coinage was at times unique to Lithuania, at other times shared. References are in multiple languages.

Groschen vs. Groszy vs. Grossus

These all seem to be used to describe silver coins used in Central Europe from the Middle Ages (1200+) into the Renaissance Period (17th Century). Dealer's seem to use the terms interchangeably A few test searches showed that Groschen is the more common choice.

Timeline Of Lithuanian Coins

Dates
Events
1392-1430
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL) was under the rule of Grand Duke Vytautus.
End of the 14th century
The denars were the first coins to feature the Lithuanian knight.
1495
A decimal counting system was introduced; 1 Groat (lit. Grasis) was equal to 10 dinarii.
1492-1506
The Vilnius Mint produced denar and half-groat coins, in the reign of Grand Duke Alexander Jagiellon of Lithuania.
1508
The year of a Lithuanian coin's issue begins to be marked on the coin, with the half-groat. Later, the groat coin begins being minted.
 
 
Timeline Continues
Scroll Down

The Design Of The Knight Evolves

The knight on galloping horse is more detailed. The design was evolving: riding to the left, riding to the right; horse standing in place, horse galloping; knight holds sword, knight holds spear; horses tail up, horses tail down.

Horse's Tail Variations

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Horses Tail DownHorses Tail Up
Horses Tail Down
Horses Tail Down | Source
Horses Tail Up
Horses Tail Up | Source

Timeline Continued

Dates
Events
1535
The knight's shield with a double cross first appears on the first minting of the groat.
1547
The coat of arms of the GDL was used for the first time on a coin. The knight on the Lithuanian coins was depicted both separately and together with the Columns of the Gediminas Family.
1569
The Union of Lublin joined Poland and Lithuania into a single state.
1572
The Gediminid dynasty ends with the death of Sigismund II Augustus. Coins no longer had their commonly-used heraldic symbol, the Columns of Gediminas.
1576-1586
During the reign of Grand Duke Stephen Bathory, the knight on the horseback again was used without the shield.
1580
The 1580 Ordinance unified the coins of the Kingdom of Poland and the GDL; both value and design. GDL coins featured the Eagle (Poland) and the Knight (GDL). �The shilling was introduced.
1587-1632
During the reign of Sigismund III Vasa, Grand Duke of Lithuania, coins of 8 denominations were minted: double-denarii, shillings, groat, three ?half-groat, three-groat, 1,5, and 10 ducat coins. The coins feature a sheaf of grain, from the coat of arms of the Vasa. From 1616 the knight, again, was engraved holding a shield with double cross on it.
1616
The knight, again, was engraved holding a shield with double cross on it.
1795
Third partition of Polish and Lithuanian Commonwealth. Russian currency introduced when large portion of Lithuania annexed by Russian Empire.
Source

Vytis As Used In The Grand Duchy Of Lithuania

Vytis is the name of the coat of arms, the symbol of the State of Lithuania.

It depicts an armored knight on horseback with a sword and a shield.

It became the coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL), during the rule of Grand Duke Vytautus.

Timeline Continued To End

Dates
Events
February 16, 1918
Lithuania declared its independence and the Vytis, the coat of arms, became the symbol of the state. The first litas and centas banknotes appeared with the knight on the reverse in October 1922.
October 1922
The first litas and centas banknotes appeared with the knight on the reverse.
1925, 1936, 1938
Coins bore the knight on horseback and came in various centas and litas denominations.
1939
Germany invaded and imposed the reichsmark.
1941
Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union, and the ruble was imposed.
1993
The "new" Litas returned with the Republic, when the Soviet Union collapsed.
2002
The move to the euro began.
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Timeline of Historical Periods

This shows the big picture of historical periods that forms a context for the short 700-800 year period of Lithuanian coinage.

Preceden is the simplest timeline creation tool I've found on the web.

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