The Bank of Lithuania have issued two new coins which mark an especially important event which occurred in all three Baltic states in 1989 and had its origins from the anniversary of the Molotov / von Ribbentrop pact which spelled out the division of some Eastern European countries between the USSR and the Third Reich.
At the height of Soviet occupation and forced incorporation of the three Baltic states since 1944, the peoples of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia saw the opportunity to display their displeasure with a situation which had for them lasted far too long. For these countries, the war didn’t end in 1945, it had simply continued and the population of these three countries remained imprisoned and for many families, deported to far-flung corners of the USSR.
The event, also referred to as the Baltic Way, was organized by Baltic pro-independence movements: Rahvarinne of Estonia, the Tautas fronte of Latvia, and the Sąjūdis of Lithuania. Even in 1989, the protest was designed to draw global attention by demonstrating a popular desire for independence for each of the entities. It also illustrated solidarity among the three nations. It has been described as an effective publicity campaign, and an emotionally captivating and visually stunning scene. On the 23rd August 1989, approximately two million people from the three states joined their hands to form a human chain spanning over 600 kilometers or 370 miles, connecting various cities in the Baltics. On the day, people carried with them portable radios to be able to tell the exact time when to form the human chain from the capitals of Tallinn through Riga to Vilnius, these courageous people held hands for just about 15-20 minutes. They also carried badges to show the unity of the three states in the struggle for independence from the Soviet Union. Within just seven months of the protest, Lithuania became the first of all the Republics of the Soviet Union to declare independence. This was declared on the 11th March 1990.
The coins, which had their presentation ceremonies during their launch, are designed by Eglė Ratkutė (her first coin design in fact) with Giedrius Paulauskis producing the plaster models and are produced by the Mint of Lithuania in Vilnius. The obverse design of both coins depict a map, the location of Estonia is marked with dots – which in heraldry symbolizes yellow. Latvia’s representation is indicated with crisscrossed lines from left to right diagonal lines – symbolizing the color green in heraldry and the vertical lines are used for the depiction of Lithuania, which symbolize the color red. Together, these colors make up the Lithuanian flag! The reverse design includes the national symbol which makes up part of the coat-of-arms of the State of Lithuania, the Vytis. The denomination appears as well as the year of issue.
|25 Litai||copper, aluminium||10 grams||28 mm.||Proof-like||25,000 pieces|
|50 Litai||.925 silver||28.2 grams||38.6 mm.||Proof||4000 pieces|
The 25 litas coin is packaged in a colorful folder and coin-card, the silver coin is encapsulated and enclosed in a presentation box along with certificate of authenticity. The coins, from their date of issue, can be purchased at the cash offices of the Bank of Lithuania in Vilnius.
For further information on this and other coins produced by the Mint of Lithuania, please visit their website at: http://kalykla.lt/node/922 Information offered in English and Lithuanian.