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One hundred years since the minting of the first Montenegrin state coins (1906-2006)

On 5 May 2006, the Central Bank of Montenegro celebrated one of the most important jubilees in the banking industry of this age - 100 years since the minting of the first Montenegrin state coins. On this occasion, the Central Bank has put into circulation commemorative coins, reproduction of money of the Principality and Kingdom of Montenegro, which carry the label of year 2006.


1 and 2 paras


10 and 20 paras


silver (1, 2, 5 perpers)


gold (10, 20, 100 perpers)

By the beginning of the twentieth century, foreign countries' currencies operated in Montenegro as legal tender because there were no political and economic conditions for Montenegro to issue its own money. History records the attempts of Bishop Petar II Petrović Njegoš to mint Montenegrin money, which was supposed to be named perun. According to some data, the bishop coined 32 pieces before his death that has been donated as a gift to his friends. But as none of his contemporaries has recorded minting of the perun, nor has a single surviving specimen found to date, it is unlikely that the gold perun of the bishop have ever been minted. The only remaining evidence of Njegoš's plans is perun footprint in red wax, which is kept in Cetinje. His great wish to mint coins of Montenegro has been realized by King Nikola I Petrović.


Perun

As a sovereign state, Montenegro issued its money first as the Principality, and then as the Kingdom. Based on the Decree of Prince Nikola as of 11 April 1906, the first Montenegrin state coins were minted in Vienna, which value equalled Austrian petty cash - Heller. Coins were minted in small denominations: copper of one and two paras, and nickel of 10 and 20 paras. Three more issues of Montenegrin copper and nickel coins were minted in 1908, 1913 and 1914, also in Vienna.

In the time of King Nikola, Montenegro has had a multi-payment system. Besides the crown, also other currencies were in circulation - the US dollar, sent to Montenegro by Montenegrin immigrants, and to a lesser extent, the British pound, the French franc, German mark, the Turkish lira and the Russian rouble. As a result of such a variety of coins, it was necessary to increase the amount of Montenegrin money in circulation. Thus, Montenegro starts to mint perper, first silver, then gold perper, which was equal to the Austrian crown by is the size, weight and value.

Two series of Montenegrin gold coins were minted in 1910, the first in the era of the Principality of Montenegro and the other on the occasion of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the reign of King Nikola and proclamation of the Kingdom. Gold perpers were minted in denominations of 10, 20 and 100.

Montenegrin coin, especially gold, the beauty of its design, gravure clarity, stylistic and technical processing was at the very top of the world of numismatics of that time. With the disappearance of the state of Montenegro and the King's emigration, gold perpers were mostly melted. Today, the rarest golden coin is of 100 perpes, which is also the biggest and the most beautiful specimen. It is not certain how many coins of 100 perpers are preserved, but numismatists generally agree that there are about 150 in the world (not counting the museum collections such as the American Numismatic Society, the British Museum, the Hermitage, Prada, and Vienna Cabinet). Of tis number, some 15% is located in Cetinje.

More about Montenegrin money through history

On 5 May 2006, in honour of the celebration of the centenary of the first minting of Montenegrin state money, the Central Bank held a gala ceremony in the Royal Theatre attended by the highest state officials, governors and representatives of the European central banks, directors of Montenegrin commercial banks, diplomatic representatives, scientists and artists.

Gala Ceremony, Zetski dom, Cetinje

Speech of the President
of the CBCG Council,
Ljubiša Krgović
at the gala ceremony

Photo gallery from Cetinje

Exhibition of money that was in circulation in Montenegro
from 1906 to the present is set in the Billiard in Cetinje

The machine on which the first coin of the state of Montenegro was minted is kept in the building of the Central Bank of Montenegro in Podgorica, and is the only kept example of this type. It was donated by the Austrian Mint to the CBCG on the occasion of the centenary of the first minting of Montenegrin state money. Today, there is only little information on this machine. It is known that the name of its producer was Uhlhorn, and that is produced in Utrecht. According to the normal working hours in the early twentieth century, it was in use from 10 to 12 hours a day, every day. The only two saved photos of machines in use were taken in the early twentieth century, in the Vienna Mint.

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