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Lithuanian Wildlife, The Beech Marten: 10 Talonas (Lithuania, 1991)-Article

Updated: Feb 13

This early post-Soviet Lithuanian banknote represents the 7th denomination of the First Talonas (1991). The term "talonas" is the Lithuanian word for coupon. As Lithuania 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)

During their brief circulation they were occasionally called "zoologijos sodo bilietai" or "Zoo Tickets". As the majority of Talonas notes featured the wildlife of Lithuania. With the exception of the smaller First Talonas denominations, which resemble actual coupons. This particular banknote features a pair of Beech Marten.


The observe depicts a pair of Beech Martens, a species native throughout Europe and the former Soviet Union.

The observe depicts a pair of Beech Martens, a species native throughout Europe and the former Soviet Union. Despite this detailed illustration the observe is relatively sparse. Featuring a mostly brown on white scheme with various line patterns. The note's Ten Talonas value is represented by a number "10", on the lower left and right corners.

Notably the observe can be divided into 2 section, with varying underprint. The first section covering the roughly the first 5th of the observe. Featuring a mostly unprinted background with a gray mesh, which is wider along it's sides. This mesh extends outward toward to the right. Completing this section is a single number "10" in brown ink and a vertical serial number "AN No 481729".

The second section, features the Beech Marten illustration. The mesh in this section is overlaid with a pattern of waving vertical light-red lines. These waves form 2 tightly packed bundles near the center. If one looks closely, an additional layer of light-gray mesh can be seen. This second mesh pattern is more tightly bound. Notably the Beech Martens are superimposed on a separate/final print.


The reverse features the note's "10" Talonas value overlaid, on a Carpathian Walnut branch. Also known as Persian and Common Walnut, it's variants are widespread throughout Eurasia.

The reverse features the note's "10" Talonas value overlaid, on a Carpathian Walnut branch. Also known as Persian and Common Walnut, it's variants are widespread throughout Eurasia. The species originated in ancient Iran (Persia) and was introduced to Southern Europe by Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE). By the Ancient Roman era, it became naturalized in Western, Eastern and Northern Europe. Thus becoming ingrained in the broader European culture.

Similar to the observe, the reverse features a multi-layer print with intermeshed waving light-red and gray lines. With the exception being this pattern is more tightly uniform. Notably the beforementioned number "10" features a double outline and a magnified underprint. Additionally this section features a sets of text. The upper text reads "Republic Of Lithuania - Talonas", referring to the newly sovereign nation and currency. While the lower text roughly translates to "Forgery is punishable by law".

The final section to the far right is relatively simple, featuring no underprint. At its top is the print date (1991), followed by the Coat of Arms of Lithuania, and number "10". Which simply symbolizes the notes before mentioned Ten Talonas value.

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 (1992-93). 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.

First Talons "Coupon" Gallery

(Gallery contains all sub-denomination First Talonas banknotes)

First Talons "Zoo Tickets" Gallery

(Gallery contains all full denomination First Talonas banknotes)


Additional Notes

  • This note dimensions are 120 x 75mm or 4.72 x 2.95 in, shorter and thicker than a US Dollar.

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

  • No coins were minted for either the First or Second Talonas currency.


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