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Lithuanian Wildlife, Eurasian Lapwing: 1 Talonas (Lithuania, 1992)-Article

Updated: Dec 4, 2022

This early post-Soviet Lithuanian banknote represents the 1st denomination of the Second Talonas (1992). 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 the Eurasian Lapwing.


The reverse is relatively simple and can be divided into 2 sections. The 1st section to the right features an illustration of a Eurasian Lapwing. Which found in much of Europe, with pockets in temperate Asia and occasionally the eastern coast of Canada. Behind this illustration is a fabric-like mesh , in reddish-orange ink. It feature rows of thin vertical waves, overlaid by fabric-like mesh. The underprint tampered and widens at 4 points. The number "1" at the note's upper right, represents the note's 1 Talonas value.

The 2nd section to the left is relatively sparse. It features a red serial number (RD074922) at the upper left corner. Below is an unprinted watermark area, followed by an additional number "1".


The Reverse features the note's "1" Talonas value overlaid, on Rue flowers. The Rue flower is the national flower of Lithuania. It was brought to Lithuania by Catholic missionaries. Due to its ability to grow in harsh environments. it became associated with warding off evil. In addition, to its association with the Biblical Mary, it became traditional for brides to wear Rue headpiece.

Similar to the observe, the reverse also features a fabric-like mesh, in reddish-orange ink. Notably the beforementioned number "1" features inner and outer outlines. Additionally the section features a sets of text. The upper text reads "Republic Of Lithuania - Talonas", referring to the newly sovereign nation and currency. 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 (1992), followed by the Coat of Arms of Lithuania, and number "1". Which simply symbolizing the notes 1 Talonas value.

The Eurasian Lapwing

The Eurasian Lapwing also known as the Northern Lapwing. Are a species of migratory bird native to much of Europe, with migratory pockets in temperate Asia and strangely the eastern coast of Canada. These unusual Canadian flocks were caused by large storms. Which blew migrating flocks off-course, along North American coast. These now established North American flocks are known "vagrant" populations,

Lapwing are black and white with greenish tint along there backs. Both male and female Lapwings are similar in size. With a weigh ranging from of 128-330 g (4.5-11.6 oz). The length from beak to tail ranges 28–33 cm (11-13 in) long. While their wingspan ranges from 67–87 cm (26–34 in) wide. Males feature a longer crest, than females and young.

Notably the Northern Lapwing has the shortest legs of the lapwing family. Lapwings use their long legs to travel along their native range, usually coastal shores, low grasslands, and tidal mudflats. Their diet is made of mostly insects, worms, and small crustaceans they find while wadding.

Lapwings are highly migratory, traveling south for the winter. Although are also known to live in some temperate areas year-round. When migrating Northern Lapwings will often travel in mixed flocks, including European Golden Plover, and Black-Headed Gull. Which share a similar year-round and migratory range.

Despite their small size Northern Lapwings fearlessly territorial. Showing defensive displays to predators and large farm animals, such a horses and cattle. The latter often occurring when Lapwings have nested on farmland. Which the make amongst the low grass of pastures and unplowed fields. This display includes aggressive chipping and may include feigning injury. By imitating a broken wing, in order to draw the intruder from the nest.

Lapwing nests are simple cup-like scraping, lined with small pieces of straw. The average Lapwing nest contains 3-4 small tan colored eggs, with black spots and splotches. The hatchling known as chicks, are brown with black strips and a white underside. When older they take on the appearance of miniature adults.

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.

Second Talonas Gallery

(Gallery contains all banknotes of the Second Talonas series)


Additional Notes

  • This notes dimensions are 105 x 53mm or 4.13 x 2.09 in, smaller than a standard 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.

  • Lapwings get their name from the lapping sound their long wings make while flying.

  • In 1990, the Irish Wildlife Conservatory declared the Northern Lapwing the National Bird.

  • Northern Lapwings will draw away predators from European Golden Plover.

Photo Credits

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