On 3 March, the first day of the traditional Kaziukas’ Fair in Vilnius, the Bank of Lithuania will issue into circulation collector coins dedicated to the Fair. Both coins will have the same design, but different denominations: a €1.5 coin from copper and nickel alloy (mintage – 25,000 pcs), and a €5 coloured silver coin (mintage – 2,000 pcs). The €1.5will be sold for €2 at Kaziukas’ Fair.
Photo by V. Skaraitis, BFL
‘The issuance of coins dedicated to Kaziukas’ Fair, is ‘a first’ in several aspects. It is the first coin in the series ‘Traditional Lithuanian Celebrations’, the first collector coin to be dedicated to Kaziukas’ Fair in particular and, finally, the first coin to be issued in such a peculiar denomination – €1.5. Such denomination is a playful allusion to the Lithuanian pusantrokas (an old 1.5-groat coin), struck at the Vilnius Mint in the 17th c. – the same century that saw the rise of the fair itself,’ said Mindaugas Vaičiulis, Director of the Banking Service of the Bank of Lithuania, Chair of the Board of the Lithuanian Mint.
Mindaugas Vaičiulis, Director of the Banking Service of the Bank of Lithuania, Chair of the Board of the Lithuanian Mint, and Prof Dr Libertas Klimka, author of the brochure issued together with the coins (photo by V. Skaraitis, BFL)
Against a heart-shaped background, the reverse of the coin depicts the most distinctive attributes of Kaziukas’ Fair: a verba, pitcher, spoons, hobby horse, rooster, ring-shaped roll, and a wagon wheel.
‘The heart depicted on the coin not only represents the traditional heart-shaped Kaziukas’ Fair cookies, but is also a symbol of love. When we buy gifts at the fair, we do so with love, right? The image on the silver coin, coloured as if with sugar icing, almost makes you taste the sweetness,’ said Rytas Jonas Belevičius, the designer of the coin. According to him, the non-traditional Vytis symbol on the coin’s obverse was inspired by fragments of hearth tiles from the time of Casimir Jagiellon (Kazimieras Jogailaitis), found in Vilnius Lower Castle.
Coin designed by Rytas Jonas Belevičius (photo by V. Skaraitis, BFL)
Beginning the ‘Traditional Lithuanian Celebrations’ series, the Bank of Lithuania is expanding the rage of euro coins issued and seeks to encourage more people to take an interest in collecting coins. The series will continue with a coin dedicated to Joninės (Midsummer, Rasos) (to be issued in 2018) and one dedicated to Užgavinės (a carnival before Lent) (to be issued in 2019).
The coins dedicated to Kaziukas’ Fair were minted at the Lithuanian Mint.From their date of issue (3 March), coins can be purchased at the Bank of Lithuania cash offices. They may be also purchased from official Bank of Lithuania distributors of numismatic items. The €1.5 coin will be sold during Kaziukas’ Fair (3–5 March) at the Bank of Lithuania point of sale (near the Bank of Lithuania building at Gedimino pr. 6, Vilnius).
The video presenting the coin (in Lithuanian)