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On the coloured collectors coins — a tree symbolising the living chain of the Baltic Way

August 19, 2014

The two collectors coins — 25 and 50 litas — issued into circulation by the Bank of Lithuania to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way depict a tree that is symbolic of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joining together in a living chain in the Baltic Way. The leaves of the tree are in the colours of the flags of the three Baltic nations. On the reverse of both coins is a map, in the graphic elements of which for the first time the colours of the Republic of Lithuania’s tricolour flag are encoded in heraldic symbols.

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“The Baltic Way was a peaceful message from the three nations of their determination to be free from the yoke of bondage and proof that we can unite for the sake of a common goal. In issuing these coins we stress the importance of the event in our road towards Independence and it acts as a reminder that the freedom that we won is a value that we together must always unconditionally protect and cherish,” said Vitas Vasiliauskas, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, during the coin presentation event which took place in Gediminas Castle Tower — this was the location where the Baltic Way began a quarter of a century ago.

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During the presentation in Gediminas Castle Tower of the two coins dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way, Mārtiņš Virsis, Latvia’s ambassador to Lithuania and Tia Miller, Chief Adviser to the Estonian Embassy, interact with Vitas Vasiliauskas, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.

Photo by Gediminas Savickis (ELTA)

“This action will remain in the history of mankind as one of the most impressive testimonies of how peace can overcome the most powerful machine of violence,” wrote Dr Česlovas Laurinavičius in the pamphlet issued with the coins.

Almost a quarter of a decade ago, on 23 August 1989, at 19.00 local time, a living chain stretched from Vilnius (Gediminas Hill) through Riga (Freedom Monument) to Tallinn (Toompea Castle) and stayed for about 15–20 minutes. It connected almost 2 million people; in Lithuania — about a million.

Taking into account the historical significance and uniqueness of this event, the Baltic Way is included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

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The coins were created by Eglė Rimkutė.

The coins dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way were created by Eglė Rimkutė — this is her first coin design. The plaster model was cast by Giedrius Paulauskis.

The reverse of the coin dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way depicts a map: the location of Estonia is marked with dots — in heraldry this symbolises yellow; Latvia is criss-crossed from left to right with diagonal lines — the colour green in heraldry and the vertical lines over the depiction of Lithuania symbolise the colour red.

The coins were minted by the Lithuanian Mint. The 25 litas coin is made from so-called Nordic gold — an alloy of copper, aluminium, zinc and tin. Its mintage — 25,000 units. Mintage of the 50 litas silver coin — 4,000 units.

The coins dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way are the second set in the series “Lithuania’s Road to Independence”. The first coins in this series were issued in 2013 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Sąjūdis, while the third coins in this series will be minted in euro in 2015 and dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania’s independence.

The coins, from their date of issue, can be purchased at the cash offices of the Bank of Lithuania in Vilnius (Totorių g.2/8 and Žirmūnų g. 151) and Kaunas (Maironio g. 25). The price of the 50 litas silver coin in a display box — LTL 150. The price of the 25 litas coin is equal to its nominal value — LTL 25.

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