Unsuccessful project of muštinis


In 1918, when Lithuania’s independence was reinstated, ostmark was given legal tender status and it was later renamed to auksinas. This currency was pegged to German mark. With increasing inflation, the currency quickly depreciating in value and decreasing trust in German money, it became a necessity to introduce a national currency.

Discussions about the new currency started as early as in the beginning of 1919, with practical preparations beginning in mid-1919. In July, the Cabinet of Ministers discussed potential names for the national currency. Instead of auksinas, the name of muštinis, with its subunit skatikas, was suggested (taleris, a large silver coin that circulated in the 16th century in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, was better known as muštinis among people). Martynas Yčas, the Minister of Finance, proposed to value muštinis at 1/25 of pound sterling or 1 franc and make it out of 0.322 g of pure gold. Besides the coin, it was also suggested to introduce ½, 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 100 and 1,000 muštinis banknotes. Even banknote designs were already created by Antanas Žmuidzinavičius, a famous painter of that time. An agreement with Sweden’s central bank was made to print the money. However, at that time, Lithuania did not yet have enough reserves and could not back it up. Therefore, in November 1919, Ernestas Galvanauskas, the new Head of the Government and the Minister of Finance, announced that the printing of muštinis was suspended, as Sweden’s state printing house refused to proceed. Ultimately, the idea of muštinis was completely abandoned and the search of new possibilities for introducing the national currency started.

Last updated: 2021-06-12