Coupon Money, Small Notes Of The Talonas: 0.5 Talonas (Lithuania, 1991)-Article

Updated: Nov 13

This early post-Soviet Lithuanian banknote represents the 3rd denomination of the First Talonas (1991). The term "talonas" is the Lithuanian word for coupon. As the Lithuanian initially intended to used them as temporary coupon currency, similar to the Georgian Kuponi. Until a long-term national currency could be introduced. (SEE: A Brief History of the Talonas)

Notably only the first 3 denominations of the First Talonas utilize a coupon like appearance.

The later denominations of the First Talonas were occasionally called "zoologijos sodo bilietai" or "Zoo Tickets". As the majority of Talonas notes featured the wildlife of Lithuania.


i88888888The observe is relatively simple, with an illustration of Meadow Sage. It can be found naturally in the Nemunas and Nevėžis River valleys. Meadow Sage is used in traditional folk medicine, such as an anti-inflammatory paste, which can be used to reduce eye redness. In addition, to being used as a spice for food and wines.

The illustration is overlaid with text, most recognizable being a large "0.50". Clearly representing the note's overall value. This is paired with the text "TALONAS", seen directly above. The black overlaid text above the beforementioned "0.50", roughly translates to: "Security Paper, Counterfeiting is punishable according to the law".

The note's serial number can be seen below (BA 170869), ending in a large asterisk/star (*). As an additional security measure, the note features a waved underprint pattern, within its gold background. This pattern can be seen as white horizonal waves, formed by the unprinted portions. Which intermeshes with overlapping green and brown waves, forming "wire mesh pattern.

Notably it appears above the "TALONAS" text, in additional to the line above and below it. Pointing it being layered print above the background. Although due to it not interfering with text "0.50", it may be added within the same layer. Which has it's practical applications, as 0.10, 0.20, and 0.50 Talonas (Seen Above) notes can be printed from the same note blanks.


The reverse is relatively sparse featuring a large Coat of Arms of Lithuania at it's center. The text above simply translates to the "Lithuanian Republic". While the note's issue date (1991) is listed below. Notably this is overprinted on a gold underprint.

This underprint features white horizonal waves, formed by the unprinted portions. At first glance it may appear similar to the observe underprint pattern. Although these "waves" are broader at the center and are more tightly pack outside it. While the observe features strips of broad waves, with tighter waves closer toward the upper and lower edges.

A Brief History of the Talonas

A 0.20 Talonas note, issued in 1991.
A 0.20 Talonas note, issued in 1991.

The Talonas currency was divided into 2 series, the First (1991) and Second (1992). The First Talonas series of banknotes were introduced as a temporary currency. During independent Lithuania's efforts to disassociate itself from the Soviet Ruble and the Soviet Union (1922-1991). As dependency on the hyperinflated Soviet Ruble, made pricing for everyday goods and services difficult.

The First Talonas was 5 August 1991, under the orders of Prime Minster Gediminas Vagnorius (1957-20xx). The system was unorthodox, Lithuanian salaries were paid in Soviet Rubles. While 20% of the salary was paid in First Talonas, up to 200 Talonas. Notably these banknotes lacked an officially named subdivision, instead using a simple decimal value.

In theory, Talonas banknotes were equally valued to the former Soviet Ruble. Purchases involving Talonas were equally unorthodox, as they had to be double paid. An item's or service's posted price had to be paid in an equal amount of Soviet Rubles and First Talonas. Although due to salary payments in 20% First Talonas, met equal Ruble-Talonas payments were impractical.

This was due to design, as it would force consumers to retain 80% their salary in savings. It forced the prices of expensive goods to drop, due lack of consumers. As consumers would require multiple pay-cycles to acquire enough Talonas for these purchases. Although due to new Russian monetary restrictions and delays in adopting a new long-term currency. The inflationary problem was not confronted as originally intended.

The Second Talonas was introduced on 1 May 1992, as a second temporary solution. As inflation was greater in post-Soviet Russia, than in Lithuania. The Second Talonas was introduced as a true parallel currency, unlike the First Talonas. Thus allowing the Lithuanian government to counter some effects of hyperinflation.

To the degree the Ruble was outright abandoned, in 1 October 1992. Allowing the Talonas to become the sole currency of Lithuania. On 25 June 1993, the Talonas was replaced by the Litas, at a rate of 100 Talonas to 1 Litas. Which in turn was replaced by the Euro, on 1 January 2015.

Early First Talons Gallery

(Gallery contains only banknotes within the database)

Additional Notes

  • This note dimensions are 85 x 55mm or 3.35 x 2.17 in, smaller than a US Dollar.

  • The Litas was replaced by the Euro, at a rate of 3.4528 Litas to 1 Euro.

  • Early coupon-style Talonas notes were often printed with misaligned artwork.

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