Patronship much revered

National History Museum presents unique coin from Great Duke of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania — Vytautas — and the Battle of Grunewald

By Mikhail Grigoriev

The silver coin of uneven form (similar to a circle) denotes a penyaz (denary) and was hand-minted in approximately 1380-1400, probably in Novogrudok (today’s Grodno region) — where it was discovered in September 2009. This year, the coin was purchased from a Minsk collector by Belvnesheconombank. Two such coins are thought to exist in the world, with the second found in 2001 in Lithuania (at Lower Castle Museum in Vilnius). It is now kept by Lithuania’s National Museum. One side of the coin features a Cyrillic inscription of unknown meaning; the reverse depicts a lion with an open jaw.
The Director of the National History Museum, Sergey Vecher, tells us that the largest Belarusian collection (of almost 400,000 exhibits) has received a coin ‘of huge value’, whose authenticity has been confirmed by an international group of experts from Belarus, Poland and Russia.
Co-operation between the museum and Belvnesheconombank began about three years ago, when one of two famous copies of a Grand Duchy of Lithuania ancient map (compiled at the order of Mikolaj Krzysztof Radziwill, in late 16th-early 17th century) returned to the country. Later, the bank assisted the museum in claiming collections of rare printed books from the 17th-18th century, and in allocating money for the restoration of two 16th century books: Apostle.
The Chairman of Belvnesheconombank, Pavel Kallaur, notes that support for establishments engaged in the preservation of our historical-cultural heritage is important to his bank. Co-operation with the National History Museum ranks highly in this respect.

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