Paper Money

Lithuania has novel way of disposing of old notes

Given that the usual way central banks deal with unissued paper currency is by destroying it, the Bank of Lithuania was thinking far out of the box when it decided to sell it to collectors instead. The first sale of 500 sets of 1,000- and 500-litas notes of 1991 and 100-litas notes of 1994 took place on Dec. 4 in an online sale conducted by the bank. The starting price was €50 per set.

A total of 5,000 sets were created, with 4,484 sets to be offered starting Dec. 12 for the average price of the auction. They will be available on the Bank of Lithuania’s pre-ordering system and at the Bank of Lithuania’s Cash Offices.

Sixteen sets were set aside for the needs of the bank.

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The bank explained in a Nov. 29 statement that these bank notes were never put into circulation and were never recognized as legal tender. They are just souvenirs and cannot officially be exchanged into euros.

Twenty thousand pieces of each denomination were designated for the numismatic purposes of the Bank of Lithuania. Fifteen thousand notes were transferred to the Money Museum for what the bank says is an “artistic installation.” 

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These are among the first litas bank notes, and two of the denominations were printed a few years before the first issue in June 1993. The 1,000-litas note is the only note ever of that denomination. It features the artist and composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlion. The writer and a public figure Vincas Kudirka is on the 500-litas issue. The 100-litas note shows Simonas Daukantas, an author of Lithuanian history, promoter of folklore, and educator.

Lithuania switched to the euro on Jan. 1, 2015.

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