Lithuania is issuing its second base-metal coin with a €1.5 EURO denomination, along with a $10 EURO silver and showcasing a couple of animals close to the Lithuanian heart. The Lithuanian hound and a horse breed called žemaitukas are getting all the attention with a design that depicts both in equal measure. Highlighting the increasing rarity of these old breeds and the efforts to conserve them, the coin design by Rūta Ničajienė and Giedrius Paulauskis is a good one, eschewing gimmickry for a classic look.
Struck in 23.3 grams of sterling silver, the coin comes well packaged and with a certificate of authenticity. The edge of the coin has hoof and paw prints struck into it; a nice touch. The obverse carries the cool-looking Vytis (mounted knight with sword), an emblem that is often tweaked to look slightly different, but here in classic style. Available to buy now, this second coin in the Lithuanian Nature series sells for €54.00.
MINTS DESCRIPTION: ‘If a dog or a horse is considered to be a man’s best friend, the Lithuanian hound and žemaitukas could be called companions of the Lithuanian people. By issuing this collector coin, we pay homage to traditional Lithuanian breeds, which sadly are now becoming extinct’, said Vitas Vasiliauskas, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.
The two breeds are among the oldest not only in Lithuania, but also in the world. Nowdays Lithuania counts around 500 pure-bred žemaitukai that are registered in the herdbook and 200 Lithuanian hounds. The participants of the presentation had a unique opportunity to admire the žemaitukai kept at Lietuvos žirgynas as well as Lithuanian hounds brought to the event by hunters. One of the key tasks of the stud farm is to maintain and preserve the endangered breed of žemaitukas. Included in the Global Databank for Farm Animal Genetic Resources and the World Watch List for Domestic Animal Diversity, it has been known since the 6–8th century. To preserve the Lithuanian hounds, a special programme was developed, yet it is the hunters raising these dogs who are most invested in the breed’s varietal purity.
REVERSE: features the Lithuanian hound and žemaitukas, ancient breeds of Lithuanian domestic animals that evolved under the local environmental conditions from the strongest and most hardy animals.
OBVERSE: features a stylised Vytis, surrounded by the inscription LIETUVA (Lithuania), date of issue (2017), denomination (€10), and the mintmark of the Lithuanian Mint.