Last coins of Grand Duke Vytautas of Lithuania

Monetary    Studies
Volume IX   No. 3  September 2005
Research    Papers

Eduardas Remecas

The paper deals with the coins of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with columns on the obverse and a spearhead with a cross on the reverse (from 1949 they acquired a new conditional name of coins of type II). These coins have been known since 1841 and in scientific literature since 1850. They were mentioned by a number of authors; however their attribution and dating were highly differing. Some authors attributed the coins to the period of pagan GDL (until 1386–1387), others related them to the Catholic territory only. The attribution of the coins ranged from Gediminas to Jogaila and Vytautas of the GDL, they were dated the 14th–15th c. c. In recent years, the coins were attributable either to Duke Kestutis or Vytautas of the GDL.

The paper introduces to the previously known and new findings of these coins (the coins found in Lithuania are presented in the Attachment). Based on the most recent archaeological (treasures, ancient graves and single finds), heraldic and sphragistic, historical, metrological and technological as well as numismatic data, the attribution of the coins to Duke Kæstutis is denied and the attribution of the coins bearing a spearhead with a cross to Grand Duke Vytautas of Lithuania as well as their likely dating ca. 1411–1430 is substantiated.

Based on sphragistic and GDL data on Vytautas’ titles, the symbols featured on the coin are identifiable as referring to Vytautas (the columns), Duke of Trakai (a spearhead) and Luck (a cross).

The average weight of the coins is 0.25–0.30 g; they were struck from 7–8 lot silver. The coins could have been equal to 1/12 of the Prague groat in value. This coin was conditionally referred to as denarius.

For striking the coins, a new technique was used for the first time in the GDL: the dies were made by punches. The place of striking of the coins undoubtedly was the capital of the GDL, Vilnius.

Full article in Lithuanian language.

Source of information: Bank of Lithuania.
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