ROLANDAS RIMKUNAS, creator of €2 lithuanian regions coins series
- January 14, 2020
Lithuania Central bank announced a few days ago the issuing of the second coin of the ”Lithuanian Ethnographic Regions” series.
NUMISMAG took this opportunity to interview Rolandas RIMKUNAS, a lithunian well known coin designer, creator of this new coins series.
Rolandas RIMKUNAS, well known lithuanian coin designer
NUMISMAG: Rolandas, what is the genesis of €2 commemorative Regions of Lithuania coins series?
ROLANDAS RIMKUNAS: The 2 Euro circulation coin “Aukštaitija“ (Coin dedicated to Aukštaitija (from the series ”Lithuanian Ethnographic Regions”) is part of a joint project between The Lithuanian Mint and The Bank of Lithuania, ”Lithuanian Ethnographic regions”.
In 2019, this project started with the release of the circulating coin “Žemaitija“ (coin dedicated to Samogitia (from the series “Lithuanian Ethnographic Regions“). The Coin Creation Commission of the Bank of Lithuania decided that the ethnographic regions of Lithuania would be best reflected in the heraldry symbolizing these regions.
In 2018 representatives of The Lithuanian Mint and The Bank of Lithuania approached me with a proposal to create national side projects for the 2 Euro circulation coin series called “Lithuanian Ethnographic Regions”.
In 1990, after the restoration of the independence of the Lithuanian state, the Lithuanian state rebuilt and created not only its state institutions, armed forces, economy, culture, but also the symbolism of Lithuanian statehood. Fate has led me to participate in the creation and restoration of the symbolism of the Lithuanian state.
Final design of €2 Aukštaitija, approved by Bank of Lithuania
NUMISMAG: Why did you choose Heraldry to symbolyze lithuanian regions?
ROLANDAS RIMKUNAS: During the period of 1996 – 2020, together with the Lithuanian Heraldry Commission, I have created or reproduced over 100 heraldic symbols of the Lithuanian state.
Heraldry of Lithuanian regions is a new subject. Only Samogitia had an old coat of arms, a black bear in a red shield which has been known since the 16th century.
Aukštaitija is one of the most important ethnographic regions of Lithuania, the cradle of Lithuanian statehood. Therefore, in 2006, when discussing and coordinating the heraldry symbols of the Aukštaitija ethnographic region, the Lithuanian Heraldry Commission (the Chairman of it is a historian, Edmundas Rimša) decided to use the old heraldry of the administrative units of the region, which depicts a horse rider since the 14th century.
First version of the coin with only the 14th century horse rider
Another proposal with a horse rider, standing in an heraldic coat of arms
Angels (in the sense of the guardian angel) who hold the coat of arms have been particularly popular in Lithuania since the end of the 15th century. As Aukštaitija played perhaps the greatest role in the history of Lithuania’s baptism, on the suggestion of the Lithuanian Heraldry Commission, angels were chosen for its coat of arms. The Latin motto chosen for the coat of arms is “Patriam tuam mundum existima”, that is to say “consider your homeland to be the whole world”.
Angel’s coat of arms, drawn by ROLANDAS
The Lithuanian state, which started in the Aukštaitija region, has not only a long and rich history, but also a unique tradition of co-existence of different nations and religions in communion.
This experience of peaceful coexistence and of community formed in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania during the period between 13th – 16th centuries, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the period between 16th – 18th centuries, and as well formed during the atrocities experienced by the people living here during the Nazi and Soviet occupations as well as during mass exterminations in Lithuania in the 20th century is extremely important and valuable.
Metaphorically speaking, the armed horse rider, protected by the guardians angels, was and is not only a symbol of Lithuanian statehood, but also a symbol that invites to put in all efforts to protect and defend the peaceful and creative coexistence of people.
town Josvainiai coat of arms, designed by ROLANDAS
NUMISMAG: How dod you feel about this pluri-annual project?
ROLANDAS RIMKUNAS: I am pleased to continue to consolidate and disseminate the symbolism of the Lithuanian state in a new historical context – the common space of the European Union, of which Lithuania has been a full member since 2004. It is remarkable that the symbolism of the Lithuanian state, together with the symbols of the other member states of the European Union, is showcased on our common currency, the Euro.
Descriptions of Heraldry of the Lithuanian Ethnic Regions of the Lithuanian Heraldry Commission under the President of the Republic: “The coat of arms of Aukštaitija” (author E. Rimša) 25 July 2006; Vilnius
Sources: ROLANDAS RIMKUNAS and NUMISMAG.