The Bank of Lithuania have issued a new silver coin which marks the 500th anniversary of one of the country’s most revered statesmen during the era of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy, Mikolaj Krzysztof Radziwill (1515 – 1565) nicknamed The Black. In his time, he was able to gain much political influence with Zygmunt II August, the King of Poland who was also Grand Duke of Lithuania. This made Radziwill one of the most powerful royal advisers. Mikolaj eventually rose to the position of Marshal of Lithuania, Grand Chancellor of Lithuania, as well as Palatine of Vilnius. With these rises to power and position, he gained immense wealth and became the most powerful magnate in the Commonwealth of that time. The growing influence of the Radziwill family was further bolstered when, during a diplomatic mission to the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Ferdinand I, he and his cousin Mikolaj the Red received a hereditary title of Prince or Reichsfürst.
Mikolaj the Black is best remembered for forming an alliance with his cousin Mikolaj “the Red” Radziwill against other notable Lithuanian families in the rivalry for the dominant status in the Great Duchy of Lithuania. This alliance marked the formation of a dynastic-like cooperation between Radziwills and showed how family interests could affect magnates’ relations with the state. Both Radziwills backed the cause of Lithuania’s sovereignty and opposed the growing Polish-Lithuanian union. Radziwill was known for his religious beliefs, as he was one of the most prominent converts and advocates of the Reformed churches faith in Grand Duchy of Lithuania. He died in 1565 and is now buried in Dubingiai, Lithuania.
The coin is struck by the Lithuanian Mint and is designed by Rytas Jonas Belevičius. The obverse of the coin features an abstract portrait of Mikolaj Radziwill “the Black” Marshal and Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Voivode of Vilnius. Beside the portrait, the coat of arms of the Radziwill Family; the inscription MIKALOJUS RADVILA JUODASIS, 500 (MIKOLAJ RADZIWILL “THE BLACK”, 500) is arranged in a semicircle at the top.
The reverse side features a stylized version of the “Vytis” on a shield in the centre. The coin is surrounded by a plaiting of decorative elements and the inscriptions 2015, LIETUVA, 20 € (2015, LITHUANIA, 20 €). There is also the mintmark of the Lithuanian Mint on the reverse. On the edge of the coin is inscribed with incused lettering “ŠTAI GIMINĖ, KURIA SUSVYRAVUSI RĖMĖS TĖVYNĖ (That is the family who supported its homeland).
|20 EURO||.925 silver||28.2 grams||38.6 mm.||Proof||3000 pieces|
The coin, which is the second collector’s piece to be issued in Euro since Lithuania’s adoption of the single currency on the 1st January is available from official Lithuanian Mint distributors in both Europe and North America.
For more information on this and other coins on offer from the Mint of Lithuania, please visit their webpage at: http://kalykla.lt/index.php?route=information/news/news&news_id=39 Information offered in Lithuanian and English. Official Distributor information for interested collectors in Europe and North America can be found at: http://lb.lt/official_distributors This list is assembled by the Bank of Lithuania.