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500 Litų 1991, Lithuania

in Krause book Number: 51
Years of issue: Not issued
Edition: 23000000 (19906 remaining at the Bank of Lithuania
Signatures: Valdybos Pirmininkas: Vilius Baldišis (31.07.1990 - 10.03.1992)
Serie: 1993 Issue
Specimen of: 1991
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 135 х 65
Printer: United States Bank Note Corporation (U.S.A.)

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

500 Litų 1991




Lithuanian coat of arms "Vytis" and The Columns of Gediminas.

The Columns of Gediminas or Pillars of Gediminids are one of the earliest symbols of Lithuania and one of its historical coats of arms. They were used in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, initially as a rulers' personal insignia, a state symbol, and later as a part of heraldic signs of leading aristocracy. During the period between World War I and World War II they were used by the Lithuanian Republic as a minor state symbol, e. g. on Litas coins and military equipment.


The symbol appears in the following form: horizontal line at bottom, vertical lines extent up at both sides. The square at the middle of the horizontal line is about half as tall as the vertical lines. Another vertical line rises from the top center of the square, giving an overall appearance is close to a trident. This form is the one usually seen in modern times, often drawn on walls and fences as protest against the Soviet occupation of Lithuania.

It is notable that the ancient pre-Christian symbols of Lithuania did not follow the same strict rules of heraldry as their western counterparts. Thus this symbol was used in Or and argent, usually on the field gules, and was depicted in various shapes on flags, banners and shields.

The name "Columns of Gediminas" was given in the XIX century by historian Teodor Narbutt, who supposed that the symbol was Gediminas' insignia. The more exact name of the symbol is the Pillars of Gediminids, since there is no direct evidence of its connection with Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas.


500 Litų 1991

Vincas Kudirka Varpas Varpas

The engraving is made after this photo of Vincas Kudirka.

Vincas Kudirka (31 December [O.S. 19 December] 1858 - 16 November [O.S. 4 November] 1899) was a Lithuanian poet and physician, and the author of both the music and lyrics of the Lithuanian National Anthem, Tautiška giesmė. He is regarded in Lithuania as a National Hero. Kudirka used pen names V. Kapsas, Paežerių Vincas, Vincas Kapsas, P.Vincas, Varpas, Q.D, K., V.K, Perkūnas.

Kudirka was born in Paežeriai. He began studying history and philosophy in Warsaw in 1881, but changed his major and began studying medicine the following year. During his studies, he was arrested as a subversive for having a copy of Das Kapital in his possession, and was expelled from the University of Warsaw, but later re-admitted. He graduated in 1889, and worked as a country doctor in Šakiai and Naumiestis.

Kudirka began writing poetry in 1888. Simultaneously he became more active in the Lithuanian national rebirth movement. Together with other Lithuanian students in Warsaw, he founded the secret society Lietuva ("Lithuania"). The following year the society began publishing the clandestine newspaper Varpas ("The Bell"), which Kudirka edited and contributed to for the next ten years. In issue number 6 of Varpas, in September 1898, he published the text of Tautiška Giesmė, which would officially become in 1918, the Lithuanian National Anthem, set to music written by Kudirka himself for a violin.

Kudirka gave much to Lithuanian culture, and also published a collection of Lithuanian popular songs. He was also a noted writer of satire.

He died of tuberculosis at Naumiestis, on 16 November 1899, at age 40. The second half of Tautiška Giesmė was engraved on his gravestone.

Kudirka Vincas Kudirka

On 5 July 2009, a statue of Vincas Kudirka was unveiled beside the Gediminas Avenue, the main street of the capital Vilnius. The unveiling, by dignitaries, including the Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, coincided with festivities marking the 1000th anniversary of the first time Lithuania was mentioned in official chronicles.

From myself:

Kudirka, most likely, was a talented composer, if he wrote a Lithuanian anthem. But, I want to bring here the translation of his fable from the newspaper "Aushra" from 1885 - "Why Jews do not eat pork". The translation is made not in a poetic form, but conveys the meaning of the fable quite accurately. I will let everyone to make yours own conclusions:

"Why Jews do not eat pork," Vincas Kudirka, 1885.

"When Christ walked along the earth with his brothers - as the scriptures seem to us - and taught his saint his teachings, then he also fell into the the Lithuanian city.

Then the Jews decided to gather their crowds, having the aim of trampling down our Christ's glory. All this business properly having minted, have hidden Izya, one of them, in an inverted barrel.

And so, rising up cleverly because of the crowd, the rabbi said to Jesus Christ (hoping that he will make his honor completely dirty):

"We have heard that you have powerful power, you create unique miracles, in general - your reputation is known." "Do not you think we have to see at least one miracle from you? Then, we'll, all at once, believe in it. See that cask? Honey was stored in it. Tell us - what is there now?"

The Jews were glad of such a trick - Christ did not say a word. And the rabbi anecdotal, waving his hands.

"The pig is there," - Christ answered him.

It seemed that from the words the fun will be kindled, and for sure, the children and the elders are laughing, even without hiding their contempt.

But once - and the pig get out of the barrel! The Jews was in shock. It's hard to believe, but every thing sees the eyes. And the pig in the meantime shook his ear and squealed in an open field, where a whole herd was grazing in captivity. They wanted to find an unfortunate victim, to burn the bristles, to scrape off, to help the orphans to get their father back.

They searched for long enough - all in vain! And Izya became swine forever.

That's why the Jews do not touch the pigs. Until now, everyone is looking for Izya - but cannot find.

In all the world everybody knows these Jewish tricks - they do not bite their own, does not matter - are they fat or thin."

coat Lithuania

The coat of arms of Lithuania, consisting of an armour-clad knight on horseback holding an olden sword and shield, is also known as Vytis (pronounced [ʋiːt̪ɪs], "the Chaser"). The Lithuanian coat of arms is one of the oldest national coats of arms in Europe. It is one of very few containing symbolism adopted from ducal portrait seals rather than from coats of arms of dynasties, which is the case for most European countries.

Article 15 of the Constitution of Lithuania, approved by national referendum in 1992, stipulates, "The Coat of Arms of the State shall be a white Vytis on a red field". Heraldic shield features the field Gules (red) with an armoured knight on a horse salient Argent (white). The knight is holding in his dexter hand a sword Argent above his head. A shield Azure hangs on the sinister shoulder of the knight with a double cross Or (yellow) on it. The horse saddle, straps, and belts are Azure. The hilt of the sword and the fastening of the sheath, the stirrups, the curb bits of the bridle, the horseshoes, as well as the decoration of the harness, are Or (gold).

The blazon is the following:

Gules, a knight armed cap-à-pie mounted on a horse salient argent, brandishing a sword proper and maintaining a shield azure charged with a cross of Lorraine Or.

Denominations in numerals are in three corners. In words lower, centered.


500 Litų 1991

In his project, R. Miknevičius paid more attention to the Neman, marking only the narrow glittering water strip of Merkis. R. Miknevičius looked from a bird's eye view of the wide river valley, romantically illuminated by the sun's rays making their way from under dark clouds - even the Märkinė mound itself rises in the foreground. Over the dark hills and forests, over the bright bends of the Nemunas and in the fading clouds, the Liberty Bell hangs, the sound of which is carried throughout Lithuania. The landscape is clearly romanticized and ideologized, its goal is to decorate the banknote, to awaken the patriotic feelings of the Lithuanians. The tonal drawing of the author was turned into a raster by the company's masters (from small horizontal lines), but this did not change the idealistic mood in any way.


The Bell of Freedom and merge of the Nemunas and Merkis rivers in the center of Lithuania, which flows into the Neman near the settlement of Merkinė, 20 km. northeast of the city of Druskininkai. This landscape is markedly romanticized and idealized, as the artist set a goal to decorate the bill, as well as to awaken the patriotic feelings of the people.

The Neman, Nemunas, Nyoman, Niemen or Memel, a major Eastern European river, rises in Belarus and flows through Lithuania before draining into the Curonian Lagoon, and then into the Baltic Sea at Klaipėda. It begins at the confluence of two smaller tributaries, about 15 kilometers (9 mi.) southwest of the town of Uzda in central Belarus, and about 55 km. (34 mi.) southwest of Minsk. In its lower reaches it forms the border between Lithuania and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast. It also, very briefly, forms part of the Belarus–Lithuania border. The largest river in Lithuania, and the third-largest in Belarus, the Neman is navigable for most of its 900 km. (560 mi.) length.

The Merkys (Belarusian: Мяркіс Miarkis) is a river in southern Lithuania and northern Belarus. It flows for 13 km. (8 mi.) through Belarus, 5 km. (3 mi.) along the Belarus-Lithuanian border, and 195 km. (121 mi.) through Lithuania before joining the Nemunas near Merkinė.

Merkys is mostly fed by underground streams and therefore is cooler during summers and has smaller fluctuations in water level than other rivers in Lithuania. Near Žagarinė (128 km. or 80 mi. before its mouth) the Merkys is connected with Lake Papys by a canal. The Vokė originates from this lake and consumes most of the Merkys' water. Before the canal average discharge of the Merkys is 3 m3/s (110 cu ft/s) and below it only 0.7 m3/s (25 cu. ft/s). At the end of the XIX century the drainage basin of the Merkys grew by some 410 km2 (160 sq. mi.) as its tributary Ūla River overtook some of the Kotra's watershed area.

The Merkys is a popular destination among water tourism enthusiasts as part of it belongs to the Dzūkija National Park and it flows into the Neman near the historical site of Merkinė. Archaeological findings show that people inhabited the area as early as the Mesolithic period. The Merkys is known for its diverse fauna, being declared a reservoir for trout in 1974.

Laisvės Varpas

When the World War ended, the world took a breath. Lithuania like other war oppressed nations, had the right to look to the brighter horizon. Blood shed by Lithuanians guaranteed her liberty from slavery. The Lithuanians thought that the Allies after winning the war, would understand the sufferings of Lithuania, and would place a high value on the victims who had died for liberty.

From day to day we have waited patiently hoping that the Allies would become conscious of and recognize our nation's desire, and would grant to us liberty and independence. But unfortunately, up to this time, our desire and our demands have not been understood. Perhaps the Allies do not want to know or to understand. They tried to deliver Lithuania to the new exploiters, who since olden times, have been digging graves for us and making a coffin for our nation.

The time has arrived when duty demands that American Lithuanians take action to help their native land to gain freedom. It is necessary to go to the American government and to the whole world demanding protection for Lithuania, demanding her recognition as a free and independent country. It is necessary to present such a demand in the name of the Lithuanians living in America, and in their name speak as a body of 2 representatives. At this important moment, it is advisable to hold a convention of American Lithuanians.

The nationalists at their common council assembly in New York demanded that a convention of American Lithuanians be called. The necessity of such a convention is recognized by the boards of both common councils, held on Jan. 19, 1919, at the Tribune building, New York. At this assembly it was decided to call a convention of American Lithuanians. The nationalists demanded that such a convention should be held in New York, or in Washington, while the catholics demanded that it should be held in Pittsburgh or Cleveland. Because of the disagreement between the nationalist council and the American Lithuanian council, it looked as if the American Lithuanian convention could not be hold.

The Chicagoans, composed of the Chicago Lithuanian societies, foresaw the necessity of such a convention, and since agreement between these two councils of nationalists and Catholics seemed impossible, they took the initiative and called the American Lithuanian convention on June 9, 10, and 11, 1919, in Chicago.

The American Lithuanian convention was called by the largest organization of 3American Lithuanians in Chicago and received the support of various Lithuanian organizations throughout America: viz. the American Lithuanian council, the Prussian Lithuanian council, and one of the largest Lithuanian organizations, the Lithuanian Alliance of America.

The Chicago Lithuanian organizations decided at this convention to cast the Liberty Bell of Lithuanian to donate this bell to the American Lithuanians convention in the name of all the American Lithuanians and then to donate it to Lithuania. The idea is a noble one and is closely bound to the traditions of the people of the United States, who has so heartily received to her bosom the foreign peoples.

The bell was cast in St. Louis, Mo., and on the 5th day of June, was received in Chicago.

The Bell is more than 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, weights 1,000 pounds without frames, 1,200 pounds with frames. On one side is cast the image of a Knight, and the following poem:

"O, ring for ages, To the children of Lithuania; He is not worthy of Liberty, Who is not defending her". This four-line poem was written by Hon. Bronius Kazys Balutis (1879-1967) and became the motto of Bell of Freedom.

On the other side of the Bell is cast in relief the following words: "The American Lithuanian Convention to Lithuania. June 9, 10 and 11, 1919. Chicago, Illinois."

Let that Bell, the symbol of liberty, testify for ages to the coming generations the sympathy and love of the American Lithuanians for their nation and for the fatherland Lithuania.

Laisvės Varpas

The unveiling and ringing of the bell for the first time occurred on June 8, 1919, in the evening before the convention, at the Chicago Auditorium Theater. At this pre-convention festival there were present over 4,000 people and many prominent representatives of the United States government. In front of the stage and to the right were seated the speakers and the prominent guests. At the left side the bell, covered with the American and Lithuanian flags was placed. At one side of the bell stood Mrs. Drangelis, representing Columbia, at the other side was Miss Staniulis, representing Lithuania. Around them and the bell in half wheel form were little girls, appropriately dressed representing virgins consecrated to the gods and to the service of watching the sacred fire. In the center of the stage was the Birutis choir, under the direction of the composer, Stanislovas Simkus. The choir was surrounded by a few hundred Lithuanian soldiers who served in the United States army during the World War.

The program began with the American and the Lithuanian National hymns. Then the bell was unveiled and rung. The ceremony, Columbia, delivering the Bell to Lithuania, was as follows:

"Cradle of ancient liberty, whose voice inspired, armed the free, unto a smiling land brought peace, and blessed thy sons with freedom's ease, Lithuania, thee I hail! Thy happy lot, from tyrants freed, inspired the base, insensate greed Of evil foes, from near and far who waged on thee unholy war, Lithuania, to the death".

Lithuania, accepting from America the donation, the symbol of liberty, answered: "In years which seemed in horror draped, Years when my soil by foe was raped, I dreamed of better, happier days, Of ancient times, through mem'ry's haze, Columbia. When o'ver my soil brute armies trod, And crushed my soul beneath my sod, I saw my sons and daughters dead, Die, as in shambles, for my weal Columbia.

After the ceremonies, speeches followed. The speeches were delivered by United States Congressmen, William Mason and A.J. Sabath, both from the state of Illinois; The Chairman of the state of Illinois legislature, Davis E. Shanahan; Judge G.F. Barrett, of Cook County; V.F. Jankus, of New York; Attorney J.S. Lopatto, of Wilkes 6Barre, Pa.; and M. Vinikas, of Washington, D.C. The governor of the state of Illinois, Frank O. Lowden, sent a letter explaining that he was unable to be present at this festival. The chairman of the evening was John I. Bagdziunas.

Laisvės Varpas

On August 15, 1920, the Liberty Bell of Lithuania, in Chicago, was passed into the hands of the government of Lithuania.

At this manifastation, the president of the Liberty Bell of Lithuania committee, delivered to the Lithuanian government through John Vileisis the symbol of liberty, the present of the American Lithuanians.

Part of the speech follows: "At this delightful opportunity, the committee of the Liberty Bell of Lithuania does great honor to the fatherland of Lithuania, through her representatives, by means of the donation of the American Lithuanians, the Liberty Bell of Lithuania. Let it (the bell) travel to Lithuania, to Vilnius on the Gedeminas Hill and stay there forever as the guard of the liberty of Lithuania. "Oh thou Bell, the symbol of liberty, we the American Lithuanians, are delivering thee to our fatherland Lithuania. Thou by being on the Gedeminas Hill, day and night, guard our fatherland. If at any time you should see the threatening danger to our fatherland, if the enemy should threaten to harm our brothers and sisters, threaten to take away their liberty, ring with full power, when we hear thy voice, we will help Lithuania. We will defend her from her enemies, no matter who they may be."

"Therefore, Honorable Mission, representatives of Lithuania, Honorable president John Vileisis, I beg you to accept this symbol of liberty, the donation of the American Lithuanians to Lithuania, with all the assets which are wrapped in the bell. I beg you to accept it with our most hearty good wishes from the American Lithuanians".

Mr. John Vileisis, after accepting the Liberty Bell, and all the assets, delivered a rich and timely address, thanking the convention for the donation and the assets.

Today the Bell of Freedom is in the Military Museum Vytautas the Great (Vytauto Didžiojo karo muziejus), in Kaunas. (

Denominations in numerals are in all corners. In words lower, centered.


The banknote was not issued due to insufficient means of protection against counterfeits.

Lietuva Lietuva Lietuva

A set of Lithuanian banknotes in my collection.

On November 29, 2017, the Bank of Lithuania issued gift sets of Lithuanian banknotes, which were not issued due to insufficient means of protection against counterfeits.. In total, 5000 sets were released.

Designer: Raimondas Miknevičius.

The idea of ​​a national currency system was first discussed on May 26, 1988 at the Institute of Economics of the Academy of Sciences at a meeting of Lithuanian and Estonian scientists. At this meeting, Stasys Uosis, a professor at the University of Vilnius, publicly announced that an independent monetary system is no less necessary than a national writing system. Gradually, the development of legal acts regulating the functioning of an independent monetary system began.

At the same time, the first steps were taken in the creation of artistic design for the litas. As one of the authors of Lithuanian banknotes Giedrius Jonaitis stated, "at first I could not even believe that this [design of banknotes] was a serious matter." On September 11, 1989, a group of scientists, economists and artists gathered in Vilnius at the Institute of History and discussed the principles of developing the Lithuanian currency. Soon after, plans to develop Lithuanian banknotes were presented to a wide audience of artists. But few of them offered their services, although the declared idea of ​​the national currency was approved. As Raimondas Miknevičius, the unofficial leader of a small group of artists, said, "it was perfectly natural, because many understood that they did not have the faintest idea of ​​how the money was created and where it was necessary to begin."

Indeed, at the beginning of the process of creating banknotes, artists were faced with great uncertainty: young designers had no way of knowing how the currencies of other countries were worked out and printed, what the production process was. The currency emission of the USSR was classified and controlled by the State Security Committee (KGB); to show interest in this topic was dangerous. Much discussion arose as to how the future Lithuanian banknotes will look, what should be depicted on them, and also what the denomination structure should be.

The unofficial work plan was issued in writing on December 14, 1989 after D. Trinkunas, Minister of Culture of the Lithuanian SSR, and Z. Zhilyavičius, Chairman of the Lithuanian Republic Bank of the State Bank of the USSR, announced a two-stage tender for creating a currency design (litas and cents). The jury's meeting was held on February 12, 1990. Unfortunately, the presented works were received with great skepticism. It was obvious that the artists saw the Lithuanian currency as a continuation of the Litas of the interwar period both from the economic point of view and in the artistic aspect. In the representation of artists in Litas images of the rulers of the GDL, portraits of historical figures, architectural monuments, ornaments of folk art should be depicted. Most of the portraits of the rulers of the GDL were published in the chronicles of the XVI century. Alessandra Gvagnini, while some of them (portraits of Vitaut the Great, Kestutis) are the imagination of artists of the XIX-XX centuries. In this regard, it was decided not to award the first place. The second place went to Alvidas Mandeika, the youngest participant of the competition (for the image on the banknotes of the portraits of the DKL rulers), and to Ludwikas Pocius (for depicting the main events, personalities and objects from the history of Lithuania).

After this competition, the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Lithuanian SSR was instructed to develop in a short time recommendations for perpetuating the outstanding personalities of Lithuania, as well as historical and architectural monuments on paper currency units - banknotes. It was decided in a symbolic way to select the figures of the first rebirth as heroes for the image on the national currency (it was argued that the desire for independence was the second revival). The Lithuanian national revival is a social, cultural and political movement that took place at the end of the 19th century. - the beginning of the XX century, the purpose of which was to form a modern nation and political emancipation, as well as the creation of an independent national state.

The task consisted not only in the artistic depiction of the selected individuals, the designs had to meet certain technological requirements in order to avoid falsification of the banknote. The Lithuanian emigrant Kestutis Linikas (an expert on the production of currency from Australia) was very useful person from this point of view. He was invited to consult with the designers of banknotes. K.Linikas gave the first lessons in the issue of currency, security functions. He insisted that the portraits be drawn as large as possible and not located in the center of the banknote (when folding the bill in half, its security functions are erased faster), but on its sides. He also suggested keeping the light tones in the drawings (which makes it more difficult for counterfeiters to do their work), to abandon unnecessary ornaments. It was K. Linikas who drew the attention of banknote designers to the fact that no woman was included in the list of persons selected for the image.

He said that the issue of banknotes with portraits of only men would cause outrage of the world feminist movement and, therefore, a portrait of at least one well-known Lithuanian woman was needed. It was then that it was decided to portray the writer Zhemayte on a denomination of 1 litas. (Asta Ravaityte-Kuchinskene, Chief Specialist of the Bank of Lithuania Money Museum).