Author Topic: Albania: Coins of the 1920s  (Read 8260 times)

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Offline <k>

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Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« on: September 01, 2011, 07:18:39 PM »
From Wikipedia:

The written history of Albania starts from the 4th century BC, with early records of Illyria in Greco-Roman historiography. The modern territory of Albania has no counterpart in antiquity, comprising parts of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia (southern Illyricum), Macedonia (particularly Epirus Nova), and Moesia Superior. The territory remained under Roman (Byzantine) control until the Slavic migrations of the 7th century, and was integrated into the Bulgarian Empire in the 9th century.

The territorial nucleus of the Albanian state formed in the Middle Ages, as the Principality of Arbër and the Kingdom of Albania. The first records of the Albanian people as a distinct ethnicity also date to this period. In the 15th century there was a series of confrontations between Albanians, led by Scanderbeg, and the advancing Ottoman Empire. Soon after the death of Scanderbeg the organized resistance ceased and the country became part of the Ottoman Empire. It remained under Ottoman control as part of the Rumelia province until 1912, when the first independent Albanian state was declared.

The formation of an Albanian national consciousness dates to the latter 19th century and is part of the larger phenomenon of rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire. A short-lived monarchy (1914–1925) was succeeded by an even shorter-lived first Albanian Republic (1925–1928), to be replaced by another monarchy (1928–1939), which was annexed by Fascist Italy during World War II.

Offline <k>

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Re: Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2011, 07:22:05 PM »
Albania has long been weaker and poorer than its European neighbours, isolated by its religion and its language, which does not belong to any other existing European branch.

In the 1920s its coins were designed and minted in Italy (soon to become its conqueror), and as a result their style is reminiscent of the Italian coins of the period.

Below you can see a 5 qindar leku coin of 1926, showing a lion's head and some oak leaves. "Qindar" is Albanian for a hundredth, so 5 qindar leku translates as "5 hundredths of a lek". "Qindar leku" is therefore linguistically equivalent to "cent" or "centime".
« Last Edit: July 26, 2017, 12:33:23 AM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2011, 07:27:42 PM »
10 qindar leku, showing an eagle's head and olive branches.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 02:43:02 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2011, 07:28:54 PM »
¼ leku ( a quarter of a lek), showing a lion and an oak leaf.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 02:45:19 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2011, 07:30:39 PM »
½ lek, depicting a double-headed eagle, and Hercules wrestling the Nemean lion.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 02:44:02 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2011, 07:32:40 PM »
1 lek, depicting the head of Alexander the Great, and an armed horseman. I am not sure of the exact relevance of Alexander the Great to Albania.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 02:40:52 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2011, 07:35:24 PM »
One franga ar ("gold franc", though the coin is made of silver), which was equal to 5 lek. The obverse shows an ancient helmeted head, while the reverse depicts the prow of an ancient Greek ship.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 02:25:48 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2011, 07:37:00 PM »
2 franga ar, equivalent to 10 lek, showing a rather Italian-looking eagle and a naked peasant sowing seed.

« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 04:12:46 PM by coffeetime »

Offline <k>

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Re: Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2011, 07:40:57 PM »
The silver 5 franga ar was a silver coin. Various patterns of it are known, and forgeries of the coin exist. It shows King Zog of Albania on the obverse, and an Albanian peasant with his oxen on the reverse. A superb design.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 02:25:09 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2011, 07:43:15 PM »
All in all the designs of these coins are rather classical in style, and I can't imagine what the average Albanian must have thought of them. The unfamiliar language and unusual denominations probably mean that they are not widely known to, or collected by, your average numismatist.

Offline Harald

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Re: Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2011, 08:55:25 PM »
1 lek, depicting the head of Alexander the Great, and an armed horseman. I am not sure of the exact relevance of Alexander the Great to Albania.

The historical Macedonia included also Albania, so Alexander was Albanian...
The currency unit is named after him as well.

cheers
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Harald
http://www.liganda.ch (monetary history & numismatic linguistics)

Offline <k>

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Re: Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2011, 09:01:12 PM »
The historical Macedonia included also Albania, so Alexander was Albanian...
The currency unit is named after him as well.

cheers
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Harald

So: Lek - Alex.  8)  Thank you, Harald.  ;)

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2011, 05:40:28 PM »
All in all the designs of these coins are rather classical in style, and I can't imagine what the average Albanian must have thought of them. The unfamiliar language and unusual denominations probably mean that they are not widely known to, or collected by, your average numismatist.

The answer lies in the person of Victor Emmanuel, king of Italy. He was an avid coin collector, much like Farouk of Egypt. Both kings were deposed, but whereas Farouk's collection was famously sold back to the dealers he bought from, Victor Emmanuel's collection became the Italian national coin collection.

Victor Emmanuel was a weak king, unless coins were involved. He loved classical Roman design and saw to it that the coins of his reign were inspired as much as possible by classical Rome (even though the days of neo-classicism were long gone). At the time. Albania was a client state of Italy and so Victor Emmanuel had another chance to put classical-inspired designs on coins. Of course, he didn't care if the designs were relevant or liked by the people meant to use them. They are documents of Albanian servility to Italy and a king who fiddled while Rome burnt. Below is a contemporary ditty that shows how the king got blamed for Mussolini's expansionism. Remember that coffee is VERY important in Italy.

Peter

Quando Vittorio era soltanto re
Si bevea del buon caffè.
Poi divenne Imperatore
Se ne sentì solo l’odore.
Oggi che è anche Re d’Albania
Anche l’odore l’ han portato via.
E se avremo un’altra vittoria
Ci mancherà anche la cicoria.

When our Vittorio was plain King,
Coffee was a common thing.
When an Emperor he was made,
Coffee to a smell did fade.
Since he got Albania's throne,
Coffee's very smell has flown.
And if we have another victory
We're also going to lose our chicory.
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Tremissis

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Re: Albania: Coins of the 1920s
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2013, 07:52:12 PM »
they are not widely known to, or collected by, your average numismatist.

They are well known to this collector. Albania is what I collect (have every single coin on your images). Thanks for posting some Albanian coins.