Serbian History Through Coinage

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Coinage of Serbia and Montenegro (19-20th century)

Kneginja Milica Emerging as independent states in the 19th century, the Serbian principalities (later kingdoms) of Serbia and Montenegro resumed the practice of issuing their own money rather late. Prior to that, monetary deals were typically settled with some combination of Turkish and Austrian currency.

Serbia, whose national liberation started in 1804 and included periods of full independence and varying degrees of autonomy from the Ottomans, started minting coins in 1868. Three small copper denominations (1, 5, 10 para) were issued in around 7 million pieces each, and these were shortly followed with larger silver and gold coins.


Sveti Stefan Tucked in the barren hinterland of the southern Adriatic coast, Montenegro enjoyed a semi-autonomous status within the Ottoman Empire for a long time before securing de-facto independence at the end of the 18th c., but started issuing money only in the early 20th c.

One reason for this is lack of metal, as no mines operated there at the time. (Asked by Rotschild in 1851 why his state doesn't mint money, the famous Montenegrin statesman, poet and philosopher P.P. Njegos replied: "Sir, if coins were minted in stone, we would've had them long ago...". Ironically, the first silver mine which also spurred coin production in Medieval Serbia was Brskovo, located in northern Montenegro.) Minting commenced in 1906, with four small denomination issues (1-20 para), later to be followed by larger denominations in precious metals.


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