Lithuanian Wildlife, Eurasian Otter: 100 Talonas (Lithuania, 1992)-Article

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

This early post-Soviet Lithuanian banknote represents the 4th 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 Eurasian Otters.


Reverse

The reverse is relatively simple and can be divided into 2 sections. The 1st section to the right features an illustration depicting a pair of Eurasian Otters. Which can be seen along the waterways and coasts of Europe. Behind this illustration is a multi-layer underprint, in light blue and dark pink ink. It feature rows of waving orange-brown lines, overlaid by light blue zig-zags. The number "100", represents the note's 100 Talonas value.


The 2nd section to the left is relatively sparse. It features a red serial number (JC074513) at the upper left corner. Below is an unprinted watermark area, followed by an additional number "100".


Observe

The Reverse features the note's "100" Talonas value overlaid, on Maidan's Hair Fern branches. A reference to the mythical fern flower. In the Lithuanian tradition, the flower can only be found during the Midsummer night (23/24 June), known as Rasa (the Dew Holiday). It's said the person that picks the flower gains luck, wealth, and the ability to understand wild animals. Although they must face the evil sprits, that guard the flower.


Similar to the observe, the reverse features a underprint with dark pink waving lines. Although its light blue zig-zags are slightly lighter than the observe. Notably the beforementioned number "100" features a double outline.


Additionally this 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 "100". Which simply symbolizing the notes 100 Talonas value.


The Eurasian Otter

The Eurasian Otter is the most widespread species of otter. They can be found mostly along the waterways and coasts of Europe. Although are also found deep into the Asian interior, including Siberia, the Himalayan foothills, and the rivers of Southeast Asia. Isolated populations are known to live on the southern tip of India.


Notably coastal otter populations require regular access to fresh water, to clean their fur. The species is highly adaptable, requiring unpolluted water and an adequate food supply. Mostly made of fish, although supplemented by shellfish (crabs, crayfish, clams, etc) and insects. Night feeding is aided by the ability to smell underwater.


The Eurasian otters have thick waterproof coat, which are brown above and cream below. Their bodies are long and slender allowing them to effortlessly dive for food. Their bones are dense in certain regions to help reduce buoyancy and improve diving.

The Eurasian Otter has a similar appearance to the North American River Otter. Although can be identified by their shorter, broader neck. In additional to having longer tail and greater distance between their ears. Although due to their lack of overlapping territories, identification can be made on geography alone.


Male otters are slightly larger than females, although with some considerable overlap on average. Eurasian Otter have a body length of 57 to 95 cm (22.5 to 37.5 in) long. Their tails range 35–45 cm (14–17.5 in) long, adding a significantly to their overall length. Their average weight is between 7 to 12 kg (15 to 26 lb), although some elderly males occasionally reach up to 17 kg (37 lb).


Eurasian Otter very territorial, although selectively based on sex. Thus limiting the number of males and females on a given stretch of water. Territory size is dependent on the density of available food. On average an otter territory is 18 km (11 mi) long, although can range between 1-40 km (1-25 mi) long. This territory is marked with dung patches known as spraints.


Unlike many animal species, Eurasian Otter are non-seasonal breeders. Otter pups are born 60-64 days of mating. Beyond guarding the mother otter's territory, the male otter has little in regard to the pups care. The pups live within their mother's den for 13 months. Some dens are only accessible from underwater. After leaving the den the pups are considered 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). 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 only banknotes within the database)


 

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.

  • The largest recorded Eurasian Otter was weighted at over 24 kg (53 lb).

  • Spraints are often used to estimate the number of otters within a certain area.

Photo Credits

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