Money in Lithuania

Dalia Grimalauskaitė, Eduardas Remecas, Money in Lithuania. National Museum of Lithuania, Vilnius 2020. 588 Pages. 28 x 21 cm. ISBN 978-609-478-049-3. 55 euros + shipping.
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In 2016, the National Museum of Lithuania issued a monograph Pinigai Lietuvoje (Money in Lithuania) dedicated to the monetary history and collecting of coins in Lithuania. It was prepared by two numismatists of the National Museum of Lithuania Dalia Grimalauskaitė, Eduardas Remecas. The text was reviewed by numismatist Dr. Ivar Leimus (Estonian History Museum, Tallinn), archaeologists Dr. Linas Kvizikevičius, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gintautas Zabiela (Klaipėda University), and historian Prof. Dr. Rimvydas Petrauskas (Vilnius University). Due to the large volume of this publication, it could not be implemented in two languages, so it was decided to publish it as a separate book in English. The adapted and revised publication appeared in the beginning 2021. It preserves the content and the scope of the Lithuanian version (587 pp), the translation was done by Dalia Šatienė, English language editor was Kerry Shawn Keys. Designer was Vida Kuraitė, designer-adapter of the English version of the publication was Virginija Lapušauskienė. Print run of the book are 500 copies, the format 28x21x4 cm, printed by UAB „Petro ofsetas“ (Vilnius).

The first publications on money which circulated in the territory of Lithuania appeared as early as in the 19th century. More than one work, describing money hoards discovered in Lithuania or those from separate periods, was published later. In the second half of the 20th-early 21st century, a few summarizing works, providing an overview of the money that ever circulated in Lithuania from all historical periods, were also published. However, they mainly focused on the money of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania or the Republic of Lithuania. Over 25 years of independence, a number of changes occurred in Lithuanian numismatics. First, it was a period of very significant numismatic discoveries; second, currency units which circulated in Lithuania were changed three times (the rouble was replaced with the talonas, the talonas – with the litas, the litas – with the euro). However, most importantly, a new generation of researchers has grown up, which has set a course towards deeper numismatic research. The numismatic research from this period has been summarized in many papers and publications. Nevertheless, a large portion of them have been published in specialised or foreign publications, inaccessible to a wider audience who are interested in the history of money in Lithuania.

The authors of this book aimed to provide an overview of the most recent numismatic discoveries and, invoking the latest research and various sources and publications, present the history of money from the arrival of the first, i.e. antique, coins into our country to the adoption of the euro. Geographically, the book covers the territory of contemporary Republic of Lithuania, chronologically its content extends from ancient times to date, i.e. comprises II – XXI centuries.

The book begins with an overview of the development of collections and numismatics as a science.

Its second part deals with the earliest money which found its way into the territory of Lithuania – Roman coins and coins from the later historical periods, the establishment of the currency system of the GDL, and coins which circulated in Lithuania from ancient times to the third partition of the Commonwealth of the Two Nations. The beginning of this part focuses on one of the most discussed issues in GDL numismatics – the symbols on the early coins of the GDL.

The third part of this book analyses currency circulation in historical Lithuania to the end of the First World War.

The fourth part is dedicated to money in the Republic of Lithuania: the currency system of the State of Lithuania, re-established in 1918; the adoption of the national currency; the circulation of currency from the periods of the Soviet Union and German occupation; and the changes that occurred after the re-establishment of independence. The adoption of the euro in Lithuania is presented concisely, like an introduction into its future history. The comprehensive list of literature enables going further into questions that might arise. The history of credit institutions is presented briefly, only focusing on the 19th century – the period of change in currency forms and flows. The subject of banks is not elaborated, concentrating on the means of payment.

Major attention in this book is paid to numismatics and notaphily – coins (their finds, hoards), paper money, and also ancillary means: money substitutes (jetons, bons, food and goods vouchers, cards, and different cards with the functionality of jetons). Information about the secondary use of money and souvenir money is also presented, as well as respective pictures. The text is presented in chronological order. At the beginning of each historical period, the money of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania/the Commonwealth of the Two Nations/the Republic of Lithuania or the states which occupied Lithuania, then – the money of foreign countries which circulated in Lithuania is reviewed. At the end of each chapter, information on the then prices is presented. It will at least partly help imagine what could be purchased for that money. Monograph contains list of literature and index of geographical terms as well as index of authors.

The book does not present pictures of all coins and banknotes issued in Lithuania or all currency units or variations of them that ever circulated in Lithuania. The authors aimed to describe the circulation of money through the finds discovered in Lithuania and in the neighbouring countries. The illustrations used demonstrate materials from archaeological investigations and from the collection of isolated finds accumulated in the National Museum of Lithuania. It was also selected artefacts which have not been published by now or those from literature which is accessible to the Lithuanian reader with difficulty.

The publication is exceptional and valuable for its numerous illustrations. About 1200 exibits’ photographs as well as maps, schemes and graphs are published. The descriptions of the illustrations of coins or paper money indicate their issuer, denomination, date and place of minting or printing. The artist, if known, is also indicated. Further, the material an item is produced of, its dimensions, and weight; for paper money – only its dimensions are indicated. Where it is a find – its findspot and date; where the coin has been found during archaeological investigations, the archaeologist who carried out the investigations is indicated. In the descriptions of hoards, the first date indicates the latest coin in the complex, the second one – the time of finding the hoard. In the annotations of paper money, the time of its circulation may be specified. The descriptions end with the links to the place of storage; where possible, a specific collection is indicated.

Illustrated items – collectibles, artifacts discovered by archaeological excavations, single finds and coin hoards primarily come from the collections of the National Museum of Lithuania and other Lithuanian museums, however, the rarest coins of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania are being kept abroad, in Gotha Friedenstein Castle Museum (Germany), Royal Coin Cabinet – National Museum of Economy (Stockholm), National History Museum of Latvia (Riga), Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), Berlin State Museum – Cabinet of Numismatics of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, National Museum of the History of Ukraine (Kyiv), State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, and Vitsebsk Region Local Lore Museum.

Money in Lithuania is relevant for professional as well as amateur researchers, archeologists, historians and specialists on auxiliary disciplines of history. The publication is supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.


The book can be ordered in the National Museum of Lithuania via e-mail or telephone: +37052613942. It is also available in various Lithuanian webshops but at considerably higher prices.

Visit the website of the National Museum of Lithuania.