LITHUANIA, small gold coin with pseudo-Arabic legends, c. 1300-1400


LITHUANIA, dinar, no date (c. 1300-1400), pseudo-Arabic legends both sides, sort of like Golden Horde coins,slightly pale gold, 14mm, 1.51g, acquired 2004, VF

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In medieval times Mongols and Turks marauded as far north as Lithuania. A Mongol kingdom called the Golden Horde maintained a domain that extended from Bulgaria deep into Russia, Poland, and points north. Beyond the Golden Horde, small tribes lived in the forests. Someone in that zone made this imitation of a Golden Horde gold coin.

The Baltic nations are ethnically quite complicatedly diverse. With the Latvians, who are almost not the ethnic majority in the country named after them, there seems to be some muted controversy about what other people they are related to. Anyway, the humans go back deep into the neolithic period. Southern people pushed the northern people further north over centuries. Germans evangelized with the sword in medieval times. Then the Swedes dominated, then the Russians. Today the Baltic states exist because they have powerful friends and, to some degree, a working relationship with their eastern neighbor.

The political arrangements that resulted in the nations of modern Europe began to emerge out of anarchy starting in the 7th century AD or so. Europe, for our purposes stretches from Greenland to somewhere in Russia. Collectors of Europe would likely include Russia. Collectors of Asia, even though about 2/3 of Russia is in Asia, probably not.

By “Modern World Coins” we mean here, generally, the round, flat, shiny metal objects that people have used for money and still do. “Modern,” though, varies by location. There was some other way they were doing their economies, and then they switched over to “modern coins,” then they went toward paper money, now we’re all going toward digital, a future in which kids look at a coin and say “What’s that?” We’ll say: “We used to use those to buy things.” Kids will ask “How?” The main catalog reference is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, to which the KM numbers refer.