Tag Archives: 1990s

Latvia: 2 Lati 1999

This is a very poetical Latvian coin. The lone cow with the clouds in the background is beautiful, almost like a miniature piece of art. It’s a very uncommon motive, but a proof that many things looks good on coins. On the other side is the coat of arms of Latvia. Esthetically it’s a very nice coin and the two different metals also contribute to this.

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Estonia: 20 senti 1992

The senti is the subunit of the Estonian kroon which was replaced by the euro last year. This coin was minted in 1992, close to a year after Estonia’s independence following the collapse of the USSR. Estonia had been a soviet republic since World War Two, but it was the republic which always had the closest connections with the west. Today Estonia is one of the most successful ex-communist countries.

The independence of Estonia also saw the return of the three lions from the coat of arms (where they’re blue). The lions have many similarities with the three lions of the Danish coat of arms and this is because Estonia actually was under Danish occupation during the 13th and 14th century.

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Ireland: 1£ 1990

This Irish coin features a red deer, a beautiful animal, which exist in large numbers over Europe and pars of North Africa and Asia. The coins of the Irish pound feature many different animals. The red deer is the largest non-domesticated animal in Ireland and the 1£ coin was the largest coin of the Irish pound.

The text punt is Irish for pound, and the text éire is the Irish name for Ireland. The harp is a classical symbol of Ireland and has a strong presence in the Irish culture. I recently heard a story about Queen Elizabeth I in the late 16th century banning the harp because it was a part of stirring the rebellions on Ireland. This gives the harp an even bigger meaning and it’s not hard to see why the harp would be featured in the coat of arms of Ireland.

The Irish pound was replaced by the euro in 2002.

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Iceland: 100 krónur 1995

Now this coin is an interesting one. 100 kr is a large number for being on a coin. This of course represents the financial situation of Iceland at the time of the coins mintage, but believe me the numbers can be even bigger on coins (this I’m saving for the future).

The oddly looking fish, casually swimming to the left is a Lumpsucker fish, and since it’s featured on an Icelandic coin I would presume that they are quite common in the waters around Iceland. Fish is a common motive on coins from Iceland and this is because fishing is one of the main incomes of the country.

The four stylized creatures in the circle on the other side are protectors of Iceland and they are also found in the Icelandic coat of arms. They all represent different geographical areas on Iceland. The screaming eagle is called Gammur, the crazy dragon is called Dreki, the grumpy bull is called Griðungur, and the sturdy old man, which is actually a rock-giant, is called Bergrisi (but I think that he has many similarities with Gandalf from the Lord of the rings. Tolkien was in many aspects inspired by Norse mythology so he might have gotten some characteristics for Gandalf from Bergrisi.

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Denmark: 25 øre 1991

The øre is de subunit of the Danish krone. This is not the coin I wrote about in the about-section but it is of that kind. A lot of different countries use currencies with names similar to the Danish krone (Norwegian krone, Swedish krona, Icelandic króna and Czech koruna) and here we get an example of why. One side of the coin features a nice crown and krone basically means crowns. For the Scandinavian countries the name was taken during the founding of the Scandinavian Monetary Union in 1873. During the 19th century the Scandinavian countries turned to friendship instead of hostility and the union was a strategy to stabilize the currencies with support from each other. The crown is an obvious symbol of monarchy.

A little heart can be found on the coin and this is a symbol that’s been used in Denmark for several hundred years. Originally the hearts may have been lily pads transformed into hearts through the centuries. This symbol can also be found in the national coat of arms of Denmark.

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Finland: 5 markkaa 1996

I love this coin! Esthetically it’s one of my favorite ones, and this all has to do with the seal – doing what seals do – relaxing on some rocks. This is a one of few freshwater seals and it’s called a Saimaa ringed seal which, unfortunately, is an endangered species. I especially like its whiskers. On the other side you have some lily pads and also a dragonfly.

As I mentioned in an earlier post Finland is very closely connected to Sweden. Close to 300 000 people in Finland speaks Swedish as a native language and Swedish language is a mandatory subject in Finnish schools. In recent years an opposition to the Swedish language has gained power, but as we see on this coin from 1996 the bilingualism of Finland is of importance. The Finnish markka was replaced by the euro in 2002.

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