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Slovakia: Two states, three coinages

Started by <k>, March 19, 2011, 10:24:08 PM

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Jozef Tiso.


Slovakia, 1939.  Obverse.

Slovakia as a state did not exist before the First World War. After that war, Czechoslovakia was one of the independent states that were carved out of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Czechs and Slovaks, whose languages are rather similar, lived together in the same state, along with a significant minority of ethnic German who inhabited the Sudetenland.

We all know how Hitler used the issue of the Sudeten Germans to attack and eventually dismember Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s. After first annexing the Sudetenland for the Third Reich, he encouraged Jozef Tiso, a Catholic priest and the leader of the Slovak People's Party, to declare Slovakia's independence. Tiso declared Slovakia independent on 14th March 1939. The next day Hitler invaded what was left of Czechoslovakia, which he turned into the Nazi "protectorate" of Bohemia and Moravia.

Slovakia established its own currency, of 100 halierov to the crown,  and below you can see the Slovak coat of arms as it appeared on the obverse of the coinage. Beneath that, you can see an image of President Tiso.
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Slovakia became a Nazi satellite or puppet state. Tiso became the president and authoritarian dictator of the country. Though he was more of an old-fashioned authoritarian conservative than a fascist, he did allow many of Slovakia's Jews to be deported to their death in Germany, until late 1942. The tide of war then turned, and Slovakia was occupied by the Soviets in April 1945 and reintegrated into Czechoslovakia. Tiso was found guilty of state treason and hanged in April 1947.
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5 halierov.  A zinc coin.


10 halierov.  Bratislava Castle.


20 halierov.  Nitra Castle.

This coin was issued in a bronze version and an aluminium version.


50 halierov.  A plough.

This coin was issued in a cupro-nickel version and an aluminium version.


1 crown.  Ears of wheat.


50 korun, 1944.

Fifth anniversary of the Slovak state.

President Tiso is seen on the non-circulating 50 korun coin.

It commemorates the fifth anniversary of the Slovak state.

He also appeared on a very similar 20 korun coin of 1939.

It commemorated his becoming the first president of the state.

The coins of wartime Slovakia celebrate religion, architecture and agriculture.
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O-Slvk-10 korun.jpg

1944, 10 korun.  Commemorative.

Pribina, Slovakian prince, at the cornerstone laying of Slovakia's first Christian church in Nitra. 

Background: Priest with church model and soldier with drawn sword.


1941, 20 korun.  Commemorative.

St. Cyril and St. Methodius, propagators of the Cyrillic alphabet.

Slovakia 5 korun 1939~.jpg

1939, 5  korun.

Andrej Hlinka (1864-1938), first leader of the Slovakian People's Party.
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After living under communism from 1948 to 1989, the Czechoslovaks were able to overthrow their hard-line communist government in 1989, with the implicit support of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet president. In 1993 the Czechs and Slovaks celebrated their Velvet Divorce, as they agreed to establish separate independent states. Had Hitler been right after all?

Once again, the new Slovakia established an independent coinage. It is interesting to see that the coat of arms that appeared on the new coinage was very similar to that of the wartime Slovakia. Not only that, but some of the design themes (architecture and religion) were reminiscent of the old Slovakian coins of 1939-44; also, one of the coins appeared in two versions with different metals, just as two of the old Slovak coins had done.

The coins seen below are:

1] Obverse coat of arms.

2] 10 halierov.  Bell-tower from the Zemplín region.

3] 50 halierov.  Devín Castle.  This appeared in a cupro-nickel version, and from 1996 in a reduced size copper-plated steel version.

4] 1  koruna.  The Madonna of Kremnica. 

5] 2  koruny.    The Venus sculpture from Nitra redoubt.

6] 5  korun.    Biatec on horseback. Ancient Celtic Prince, named on the earliest Bratislavan coins.

Slovak obv.jpg

Slovak set.jpg 
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Slovakia 20 haleriov.jpg

20 halierov.  Mount Kriván.


10 korun.    Cross of Moravia Magna.
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E-Slovakia_1_cent.jpg Euro_Slovak_Coin_3.jpg E-Slvk-10CV.JPG

Euro coins of 2009.

In 2009 Slovakia adopted the euro, and its distinctive former coinage was swept away, to be replaced by a mere three euro designs.

Interestingly, the Krivan mountain design from the pre-euro coinage was carried over, almost unchanged, to the euro series. Again, there was a version of the inevitable coat of arms. And the design of Bratislava Castle that now found itself on the euro coinage echoed the architectural theme that had informed Slovakia's two previous coinages.

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Unadopted euro design.

Devín Castle had appeared on the 50 halierov coin of the pre-euro set.

It was considered for the euro series but unfortunately not adopted.

Above you can see the proposed design.
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Two states, three coinages.
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I still don't really get why countries should break apart, only to re-federate as part of the EU.  All seems a bit pointless, really, unless you want two votes rather than one.


Slovakia and the Czech Republic thereby gained considerably more sovereignty vis-à-vis one another, but ceded some of that sovereignty with respect to their membership of the EU, which is a confederation, not a federation. And they were then no longer the two members of a partnership, but part of a looser grouping of several states. Though there is a certain irony to it, I agree.

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Excellent research, coffeetime. Thanks.

Czechoslovakia was the implementation of a post-first world war US doctrine of designing borders around languages (which does not explain why Süd-Tirol was assigned to Italy or why the Alsace was assigned to France). Indeed, Czechs and Slovaks use a very similar language, but their culture is quite different.

Historically, the Czechs were looking West and resisting the Habsburgs, while the Slovaks were looking East and fighting Magyars. The West of the country made big problems with the German-speaking minority, while the East still has a Hungarian speaking minority. The West was industrialized and largely protestant, the East was agricultural and largely catholic. Maybe the surprise is that they stayed together as long as they did.

Both the three mountains (see San Marino) and the Patriarch's cross (see Lorraine) are standard heraldic devices. I think they came from a medieval ruling family. They have nothing to do with nazism, apart from the tendency in nazi-approved art to glorify the middle ages. This can also be seen in the choice of designs on some of the coins you show. However, you don't have to be a nazi to like an old castle or some saint or hero in medieval garb.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.



This is a question from elsewhere again -

but does anyone know what the little figure is underneath St Cyril and St Methodious?
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....


Slovakia 5k 1941.jpg

If you turn the coin through 90 degrees, it looks like a little man, possibly a king.
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Excellent compilation of data , thanks for sharing here.

How many euro coins issued by Slovakia since 2009 ?  Just curious try to get some coins from the  friend who is slovak national.

Cheers ;D
Every experience, good or bad, is a priceless collector's item.