The first metallic money in the territory of Lithuania

The monetary system in the territory of Lithuania formed in the 13th-first half of the 14th c. In the exchange of goods, the most frequently used means of settlement were silver bars and coins of other territories.

In Lithuania, coins were mostly fused into silver bars, from which originated the first Lithuanian money — Lithuanian “longs”, or Lithuanian Kapos. Notches on a bar were designated for establishing the quality of silver. The Scandinavian Mark was taken as the basis for the weight of semicircular stick-shaped silver bars. The half-mark (104 g) constituted the average weight of the Lithuanian “longs” (kapos).

Oblong-shaped silver bars were widespread across the region inhabited by the Baltic tribes in the 11th c. until the first coins found their way there in the second half of the 14th c. The form of the stick probably was determined by the simplicity of its production and convenience for the user.  The simplest method to cast an oblong stick-shaped ingot was to pour, with a scoop of a certain volume, a necessary amount of melted silver into a groove made in soil (clay or sand).

The Lithuanian “longs” were particularly large money (one such bar could buy 14 sheep or a cow); therefore, in circulation, they were often cut into smaller pieces, mainly by cutting in half.

 

The bars began to be generally referred as the Lithuanian “longs”.

 

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