2 October 2012 was a special date for Lithuania’s monetary system — 90 years since the national currency, the litas, was first issued on 2 October 1922 and the first central bank in Independent Lithuania commenced operations. 20 years ago — on 1 October 1992 — a currency system of Lithuania, which had regained its independence, was created; the provisional talonas became the national currency unit and rubles were withdrawn from circulation.
To commemorate the dates from the history of the litas, the Money Museum prepared an exhibition, which presents two stages in the development of Lithuania’s currency: 1918–1940 and 1990–2012.
The 10 September 1922 provisional banknotes and banknotes of the 16 November issue, the 1925 silver 1, 2, 5 litas coins, minted at England’s Royal Mint in London, the coins of the 1936 and 1938 issues, minted at the Spindulys Mint in Kaunas, hark back to the inter-war period. The 1924 500 litas (specimen), 1927 10 litas and 1928 50 litas banknotes, a savings book and cheques of the Bank of Lithuania, books issued by V. Jurgutis, the first Governor of the Bank of Lithuania (1885–1961), and famous economist V.A. Moravski (1868–1941) are on display. The inter-war period is characterised by the pursuit of tight monetary policy, which helped maintain a stable exchange rate of the litas even in times of economic crises.
The second half of the exhibition focuses mainly on the history of the restoration of the litas. Discussions on the idea of revival of the national currency began as early as in 1988, with the start of the Sąjūdis national rebirth movement. The 1990 litas banknote designs, which were handed over to the Mint François Charles Oberthur of France, are exhibited. The general talonas notes used in currency circulation in 1991, the provisional currency talonas of the 1992–1993 issues remind of the transitional period. The first banknotes printed in 1991 at the private corporation United States Banknote Corporation (USA), the first litas cent coins minted at the Lithuanian Mint are exhibited.
The exhibition is ended with awards from numismatics exhibitions, which took place in the city of Vicenza in Italy and in St Petersburg, at international coin competitions for collector coins issued by the Bank of Lithuania.
2 October 2012 – 9 October 2015
The exhibition was housed in the lobby of the Bank of Lithuania (Gedimino pr. 6).