Celebrated Lithuanian fairy tale “Eglė – Queen of Serpents” commemorated on collector coins
Today, 24 November, the Bank of Lithuania issues into circulation collector coins dedicated to the celebrated Lithuanian fairy tale “Eglė – Queen of Serpents” (from the series “Tales from my Childhood”). The collector coins are issued in two denominations: €5 silver coin and €1.50 copper and nickel alloy coin.
“Fairy tales are significant in every nation’s cultural heritage, therefore, to commemorate the best-known and fascinating Lithuanian fairy tales, we are launching a new coin series “Tales from my Childhood”. The first coin from the series is dedicated to the legendary fairy tale about Eglė and a serpent, which we all know very well. The series will also revive other tales, such as “Zuikis Puikis” and “The Liberator of the Sun”. And since an evening with a fairy tale is topped off with a lullaby, the final coin from the series will be dedicated to it,” says Asta Kuniyoshi, Deputy Chair of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.
The obverse of the collector coins dedicated to the fairy tale “Eglė – Queen of Serpents” was designed by Eglė Ratkutė-Žemaitė, and the reverse was designed by Eglė Ratkutė-Žemaitė and Vilius Krasnickas.
“This fairy tale has accompanied me since I was born, because I am Eglė myself, therefore I imagined it being about me. In my mental image as a child, Eglė’s hair was particularly long and flowed like water, thus on the coin it blends into sea waves, foaming white and red. I wanted the serpent to be the main image on the coin, so I placed him in the very centre, and I depicted the whole fairy tale on his body using pictograms. For me this fairy tale is both tragic and mysterious as well as a symbol of eternal love, therefore I wanted to create a somewhat tense atmosphere and I created an image of confrontation between Žilvinas and Eglė, who cannot take their eyes off each other,” told the painter Eglė Ratkutė-Žemaitė about the artistic idea.
The reverse of the coins features not only the confrontation between Eglė and the serpent, but also tree silhouettes as an allusion to the children who were turned into trees.
The obverse of the new coins depicts a knitting which symbolises a cosy evening when fairy tales are told. Small stars and the moon capture the mood of a late evening even better: the first coin of the series “Tales from my Childhood” is started off with the new moon. The knitting represents the main elements of the fairy tale, and below features a symbolic silhouette of the Vytis. The top of the composition features an embroidered inscription “Lietuva” (Lithuania). The knitting element as well as different moon phases link all coins from the series. The knitting will get bigger with each coin from the series and, with all coins collected, an entire image will be revealed.
A silver coin is coloured, individual embossed elements of the composition are covered with colour using UV printing (laser printing).
The edge of the silver coin bears the inscription “Jei tu gyvas, atplauk pieno puta, jei negyvas – kraujo puta” (If you’re alive – may the sea foam milk, if you’re dead – may the sea foam blood). The edge of the copper and nickel alloy coin is rimmed.
The brochure published together with the coins contains an interpretation of the subject of the fairy tale by Vytautas V. Landsbergis, famous Lithuanian children’s author, publicist, stage and film director. For the first time the text of the brochure is also published in an audio format. The text is read by the author himself. The author of the illustrations is Virginijus Malčius.
The mintage of the €5 silver coin dedicated to the fairy tale “Eglė – Queen of Serpents” (from the series “Tales from My Childhood”) is 2,750 pcs., and of the €1.5r coin – 30,000 pcs.