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20 Litų 1931, Lithuania

in Krause book Number: 27
Years of issue: 15.05.1931
Signatures: V. Stašinskas, J. Paknys, J. Masiulis, I. Musteikis, V. Statkus
Serie: 1927 - 1930 Issue
Specimen of: 05.07.1930
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 138 x 76
Printer: Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company Limited, New Malden

* 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.

20 Litų 1931




20 Litų 1931

Vytautas Vytautas Vytautas

The engraving on banknote is made after this painting of XVII century. The painter is unknown.

Portrait of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas the Great (Vytautas Didysis, Вітаўт Кейстутавіч, Witold Kiejstutowicz, Vitovt, Alexander Vitoldus), styled "the Great" from the XV century onwards, born circa 1350 - October 27, 1430) was one of the most famous rulers of medieval Lithuania. Vytautas was the ruler (1392-1430) of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania which chiefly encompassed the Lithuanians and Ruthenians. He was also the Prince of Hrodna (1370-1382) and the Prince of Lutsk (1387-1389), postulated king of Hussites.


In modern Lithuania, Vytautas is revered as a national hero and was an important figure in the national rebirth in the XIX century. Vytautas is a popular male given name in Lithuania. In commemoration of 500 years of Vytautas death "Vytautas Magnus University" was named after him. Monuments in his honour were built in many towns in the independent Republic of Lithuania during the interwar period 1918-1939.

His Monogram is on right side.

Vytauto Didžiojo bažnyčia Vytauto Didžiojo bažnyčia Vytauto Didžiojo bažnyčia Vytauto Didžiojo bažnyčia

Centered is Vytautas the Great Church of the Assumption of The Holy Virgin Mary (Vytauto Didžiojo bažnyčia).

It is a Roman Catholic church in the Old Town of Kaunas, Lithuania, and is one of the oldest churches in the city.

The church was built on the north bank of the Neman River around 1400 for Franciscan monks and foreign merchants. It was ordered and funded by Vytautas the Great as a commendation to the Blessed Virgin Mary for saving his life after a major defeat in the Battle of the Vorskla River.

Vytauto Didžiojo bažnyčia Vytauto Didžiojo bažnyčia

Being quite close to the river the church has suffered many times from spring floods. In 1812 it was burned by French troops. The Franciscan monastery was closed by Russian administration after the November Uprising. In 1845 the Catholic Church was closed and later was rebuilt and reopened as an Orthodox church. From 1903 it served as military barracks. In 1915 Germans organised a warehouse here. The building returned to the Catholic Church in 1919 and underwent major renovation works in 1931-1938, and again in 1978-1982.

Was constructed in Gothic style and is an example of the Lithuanian Brick Gothic architecture. The church layout of the Latin cross is unique in the Lithuanian Gothic. Over the years the ground level around the church has been raised significantly and the façades became lower; to compensate for this, the windows were shortened and the side portals were removed. The bell tower was added later and has probably been used to guide ships navigating the Neman River.

Lithuanian writer Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas (1869-1933) is buried in the crypt of the church.

Juozas Tumas, also known by the pen name Vaižgantas (September 20, 1869 - April 29, 1933), was a prominent Lithuanian writer, Roman Catholic priest, social activist, literary historian, and one of the founders of the Party of National Progress. He wrote novels, short fictional pieces, and non-fiction. His most notable works include the novel Pragiedruliai (Rays of Hope) and the narrative Dėdės ir dėdiėnes (Uncles and Aunts). Tumas is considered one of the most important Lithuanian writers of his era.

Denominations in numerals are in all corners. Centered in words.


20 Litų 1931

Laisves statula Laisves statula Laisves statula

On left side is a Statue of Liberty, erected in Kaunas in 1928. Sculptor: J. Zikaras.

During the reign of Stalin, it was destroyed. In 1989, the monument was restored at the Unity Square, opposite the Military Museum of Vytautas the Great.


I am in Kaunas, on the waterfront of Neman river, in November 2010.

Kaunas Kaunas Kaunas

The view, as on a banknote - I'm in Kaunas, on the bank of the Neman river, August 30, 2018.

The steamer on the Neman river, in Kaunas (centered).


I was very interested to identify the ship on the banknote. Unfortunately, the exact definition of the ship is hardly possible, because, even with multiplied increase of the image, is not possible to read the Name of the ship.

Can only say, that on banknote is vessel of river-sea type (shallow draft), with two onboard cranes for loading and unloading.

I have not yet found any detailed articles about the navigation on the Neman river in the first half of the XX century. But I will note, that the official freight harbor in Kaunas was built only in the Soviet Union times, in 1970.

Ship Ship Ship

Even theoretically it is very difficult to make any assumptions about the vessel's name. I enclose two photos, taken in 1933, by the Canadian photographer Walter Frost (Frost, Walter E, 1898-1988) in the harbor of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Why exactly these ships in Canada?

Because one of them - M.S Nordfarer, with a home port in Denmark, was photographed by another unknown photographer in the port of Klaipeda, Lithuania in 1930 (photo attached). Furthermore, the vessel is visually similar to the vessel on the banknote.

The second ship was photographed by Walter Frost in Canada (home port in Norway), I put a photo of it, because its boards have the same color, as the ship on the banknote.

However, it seems to me, that the color of the boards of a ship on the banknote could be changed, under the general color of background.

Denominations in numerals are on right side, top right and lower left. In center in words.


Designer: Adomas Galdikas.