Lithuania officially converted to the euro as its currency on Jan. 1 and issued a €0.75 stamp the next day to commemorate the event.
The stamp shows both sides of Lithuania’s euro coin and also depicts Lithuania’s yellow, green and red flag. The euro symbol is repeated in the background.
The new coin features Vytis, the white knight riding a horse, from Lithuania’s national coat of arms.
The coin, which was designed by sculptor Antanas Zukauskas, also includes 12 stars. According to the Bank of Lithuania, the stars symbolize “the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among the European nations.”
The image of Vytis is not new to coins, having first appeared on them in the 14th century.
Lithuania pictures one of these early coins on a €0.01 stamp, also issued Jan. 2. A pane of 25 of that stamp is shown nearby. A large image of the coin can be seen in the selvage above the stamps.
According to the inscription in the selvage and also on the stamp, this coin was issued in 1388-90 by Jogaila, grand duke of Lithuania and king of Poland.
In a brochure called Lithuanian Collectors Coins, the Bank of Lithuania says of the early coins: “The production of the first coins, which appeared in our land in the 14th c. [century], was rather primitive, while their quality was poor. No one raised creative requirements for the form — functionality was most important. Artistic and minting quality began to improve at the end of the 16th c.”
The €0.01 stamp is the low denomination in a set of six called Vytis, the Symbol and the Emblem of the Lithuanian State.
The other stamps show various Vytis coins dating from the mid 15th century through the early 20th century: 1440-92 on the €0.03 stamp; 1562, €0.10; 1660, €0.29; 1754, €0.35; and 1925, €0.62
On the 14th- and 15th-century coins shown on the stamps, Vytis is carrying a spear; he is armed with a sword on the others.
Ima Balakauskaite designed the new Vytis stamps. They were printed in a quantity of 1 million each.
The Euro stamp, issued in a quantity of 500,000, was designed by Tomas Dragunas.
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