- This article is about official coins of Yugoslavia. For the unofficial 1970 piece, see Yugoslav 25 para coin (medal).
Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1920–1941)
|Measurements and composition|
1.45 mm (1920, 1982-1983)
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The 25 para coin is a circulation piece of Yugoslavia, a former Southeast European country that existed during the 20th and early 21st centuries. It was produced in five types from 1920 to 1983: two under the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (previously the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes) and three under its successor, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The first piece was issued in 1920, during the late reign of King Peter I (1844–1921). It was followed by a second type introduced in 1938, during the later rule of King Peter II (1923–1970) and his regent, Prince Paul Karađorđević (1893–1976). These first two pieces, as part of the Yugoslav Serbian dinar, were eventually withdrawn from circulation in much of Yugoslavia after Germany's occupation of the country in 1941. However, they continued to see use in the Serbian region of Yugoslavia until 1942. When Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (later the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) emerged in 1945, no 25 para coins were initially introduced. Plans to mint a coin in the denomination, however, were made as early as 1953, when the first unissued 25 para pattern was produced, and as late as 1978, when another unissued piece was made. In spite of this, it was not until 1982 when the next 25 para coin, part of the Yugoslav hard dinar, made its appearance. The piece, however, was very short lived, and was only produced until 1983 before its discontinuation. It was demonetized shortly after the introduction of the Yugoslav convertible dinar in 1990.
The three issued coins were distributed by the National Bank of Yugoslavia (now the National Bank of Serbia), which was previously known as the National Bank of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (1920–1929) and the National Bank of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929–1946). With the exception of the first piece, which was struck at the Austrian Mint in Vienna, all of the coins were manufactured at the Institute for Manufacturing Banknotes and Coins (Serbo-Croatian: Zavod za izradu novčanica i kovanog novca) in Belgrade.
Prior to demonetization, the first two pieces carried a legal tender face value of 0.25 Serbian dinara, and the coin minted from 1982 to 1983 held a value of 0.25 hard dinara. None of the patterns ever circulated.
Coins of the Serbian dinar (1920–1938)Edit
On December 1, 1918, nearly a month after the conclusion of World War I (1914–1918), the Kingdom of Serbia was unified with Montenegro and the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (colloquially known as "Yugoslavia"). Peter I Karađorđević, the previous Serbian monarch, was proclaimed King of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes upon the country's creation, and his dynasty, the House of Karađorđević, was established as the nation's royal family.
Initially, two currencies, the Yugoslav krone and Serbian dinar, circulated in Yugoslavia. In 1920, however, these were replaced by a single dinar currency bearing the name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. The first series of Yugoslav coins, consisting of 5, 10, and 25 para pieces, was introduced on December 12 of that year, and withdrawn on May 20, 1941. These were struck at the Austrian Mint in Vienna and designed by artists Adolf Hofmann (1882–1956) and Josef Prinz (1876–1960).
The 25 para coin is composed of a cupronickel (75% copper, 25% nickel) alloy and measures 5.7 grams in mass, 24.3 millimeters in diameter, and 1.45 millimeters in thickness. It is round in shape and has medallic alignment and a reeded edge (erroneously described as plain in the Standard Catalog of World Coins). Both of the coin's rims are raised and decorated with a beaded border.
The obverse, designed by Hofmann, features the first coat of arms of Yugoslavia – which consists of a central escutcheon bearing a double-headed eagle in its center, surmounted by the Karađorđević dynastic crown and surrounded by a mantle also topped by the royal headpiece. A shield is superimposed on the eagle's breast, bearing symbols representing the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. On the coin, two fleurs-de-lis are displayed beneath the eagle's talons. These never appeared on the official coat of arms of Yugoslavia, but were included on the previous arms of the Kingdom of Serbia. The reverse, designed by Prinz, features a large numeral "25" in the center, accompanied by a Cyrillic "ПАРА" (Romanized: Para) and Latin "PARA", which are engraved in a clockwise direction, respectively at the coin's left and right peripheries. Three of the four Serbo-Croatian languages spoken in Yugoslavia – Bosnian, Montenegrin, and Serbian – use both Gaj's Latin alphabet and the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet in writing; the only exception is Croatian, which only uses Latin. For this reason, the word para is presented in both alphabets on the piece. On certain pieces, the horizontal bar in the "5" is thin, and the bases of the last three letters in "PARA" are connected, whereas on other coins the bar is considerably thicker and the letters in "PARA" are separated. A caduceus, a symbol of commerce, appears at the top of the reverse, but instead of two serpents entwining a winged staff, two cornucopias are featured. Printed counterclockwise at the bottom of the piece, between the two renderings of para, is the Gregorian date of minting, "1920".
A total of approximately 48,173,138 examples of the coin were produced. All were minted as business strikes.
After Peter I's death in 1921, his second son, Alexander I (1888–1934), inherited the throne. He officially renamed the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929, and in response to a political crisis in the country the same year, Alexander abolished Yugoslavia's first constitution and introduced a personal dictatorship. From then, he ruled absolutely until his assassination in 1934. Alexander's oldest son and successor, Peter II, was only 11 years old at the time of the former's death, and was thus considered too young to rule. Because of this, Prince Paul Karađorđević, a first cousin of Alexander, was assigned to govern in the young Peter's place until he came of age.
On March 25, 1941, despite opposition from Peter and his advisers, Paul declared that Yugoslavia would sign the Tripartite Pact, thereby allying with the Axis powers. In response, Paul's regime was overthrown in a British supported coup d'état two days later, allowing the 17-year-old Peter II to seize power. This initiative directly led to the Axis invasion and subsequent German occupation of Yugoslavia that year.
In 1938, during the regency of Prince Paul, the Yugoslav government authorized the production of a new series of coins in denominations of 25 and 50 para, and 1, 2, 10, 20, and 50 dinara. The 25 para piece first appeared on November 21, 1940, and remained in circulation until October 26, 1942. It was produced at the Institute for Manufacturing Banknotes and Coins in Belgrade, and was designed by Dalmatian sculptor Frano Meneghello Dinčić (1900–1986).
The 25 para coin is composed of bronze (98% copper, 2% aluminum), weighs 2.5 grams, and measures 20 millimeters in diameter. It has coin alignment and a plain edge. The piece is round, and bears a 3.9 millimeter circular hole in its center. Both of the rims and the circumferences around the central hole are raised. On the obverse, the rim is decorated with a full beaded border; on the reverse, however, only the coin's upper and lower peripheries bear such a boundary. The left and right rims are instead adorned with ornamental designs.
The Karađorđević dynastic crown is engraved at the top of the obverse, above a wreath encircling the coin's central hole. Inscribed along the rim is the Serbo-Croatian state title of Yugoslavia, which is written in Cyrillic as "КРАЉЕВИНА ЈУГОСЛАВИЈА" (Romanized: Kraljevina Jugoslavija). Such text commences to the left of a circular point at the bottom of the piece, and extends clockwise until reaching the right side of the same point. The coin's face value, "25 PARA", is printed horizontally in Latin script on the reverse, with the numeral displayed in large font above the hole and the following word shown in a smaller size below it. Written in even smaller text below the word "PARA" is the Gregorian date of minting, "1938".
A total of approximately 40,000,000 examples of the piece were produced. Almost all were minted as business strikes, though a handful were reportedly manufactured with a proof finish.
An unissued pattern of the 1938 piece was also struck. It is composed of nickel, weighs 3 grams, and measures approximately 20 millimeters in diameter. The issued coin and pattern share the same designs, but a hole is not cut into the center of the latter. In spite of this, a raised circular boundary is still engraved on both sides of the pattern.
During World War II, Yugoslav resistance forces largely consisted of two factions: the communist Partisans led by Josip Broz Tito (1892–1980) and the royalist Chetniks commanded by Dragoljub "Draža" Mihailović (1893–1946). With recognition from King Peter II and Allied forces, Tito assumed the role of Prime Minister of Yugoslavia on November 2, 1944. This ultimately led to the establishment of Yugoslavia as a communist state in 1945, following its full liberation from the Axis powers. The provisional Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (DF Yugoslavia) founded during the war was then renamed to the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (FPR Yugoslavia) in 1945, and a new constitution was adopted the following year.
For the first eight years of FPR Yugoslavia's existence, the country did not release any new coins. Instead, a series of pieces introduced in 1945 by DF Yugoslavia remained in circulation. By 1953, the production of a new series of coins in denominations of 50 para and 1, 2, and 5 dinara was authorized to be struck at the Institute for Manufacturing Banknotes and Coins in Belgrade. A 25 para piece was also produced with similar designs, but did not enter circulation. Most examples were melted down by Sombor-based metal producer Bane Sekulić, but a handful of specimens are known to survive.
The 25 para coin is composed of aluminum and measures 0.67 grams in mass and 19 millimeters in diameter. It is round in shape and bears a circular hole in its center. The rims of both sides are raised and decorated with a beaded border.
A five-pointed star decorated with ornaments appears in the middle of the obverse, with most of the star's center cut out and replaced by the coin's hole. Such an object likely represents the red star, a symbol of communism adopted by Yugoslavia after Tito's rise to power. Encircling this symbol is the Serbo-Croatian name of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia, written in Latin script as "FEDERATIVNA NARODNA REPUBLIKA JUGOSLAVIJA". Such text commences to the right of four small diamonds at the coin's upper left periphery, and extends clockwise along the rim until reaching the other side of the diamonds. The piece's face value is displayed in the center of the reverse, inscribed in a decorative Cyrillic font as "25 ПАРА" (25 Para). The numeral is written horizontally in large print in the center of the coin, with the hole between the angle in the "2" and the curve in the "5", and the word "ПАРА" (Para) is arched counterclockwise along the rim below. The digits in the Gregorian date of minting, "1953", are divided by the "25", with the first two (19) inscribed horizontally in small font at the left, and the last two (53) printed in the same size at the right. Seven five-pointed stars occupy the remainder of the coin's boundary, appearing above the "25" and year at the top of the reverse.
The total mintage of the 1953 pattern is currently unknown, but very few surviving examples are believed to exist.
In 1963 the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was renamed to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFR Yugoslavia), a change quickly reflected on the nation's currency. Aside from the state title though, no stylistic changes were made to Yugoslav coins between 1953 and 1963. The introduction of the hard dinar in 1966, however, prompted the production of a newly designed series of coins in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 para, and 1 dinar. These were later joined in the 1970s by 2, 5, and 10 dinar pieces.
With little change in the designs of Yugoslav coins since 1965, in 1978 a new series of coins in values of 25 and 50 para, and 1, 2, 5, and 10 dinara was struck at the Institute for Manufacturing Banknotes and Coins. They bear designs drafted by Serbian sculptor Dragomir Mileusnić (1943–), the artist of the 1965 coin series. These pieces, however, were never approved for circulation and were not issued. Some design features of the 25 para piece, though, would eventually be reused on the 1988 series of Yugoslav coins.
The 25 para piece was struck in three metals: aluminum, brass, and cupronickel. Aluminum and cupronickel examples share a diameter of 18 millimeters, while brass specimens are known to have diameters of either 15.7, 16.7, or 17.7 millimeters. All aluminum pieces weigh approximately 0.9 grams, and all cupronickel examples weigh about 3 grams. Depending on the diameter, the brass coins can measure either 1.7, 2, or 2.5 grams. Regardless of composition or measurements, all of the 25 para pieces have medallic alignment and raised rims, and are round in shape.
Two obverse varieties exist: one slightly resembling the common obverse of the 1965 Yugoslav coin series, and one similar to the obverse of the then unintroduced 1988 coin series. The first is used on pieces of all compositions, whereas the second only appears on a handful of cupronickel examples. Featured in the center of both obverses is the emblem of SFR Yugoslavia – which consists of six lit torches surrounded by ears of wheat. A ribbon with the date of FR Yugoslavia's founding, "29·XI·1943", bounds the wheat, and a radiant red star symbolizing communism appears above the entire emblem. On the first obverse, the emblem is large and surrounded by a beaded border. The emblem is significantly smaller on the second variety, and is not enclosed within a boundary. The Serbo-Croatian name of SFR Yugoslavia is written in Cyrillic and Latin on both pieces, respectively as "СФР JУГОСЛАВИJА" and "SFR JUGOSLAVIJA". On the first obverse, both legends are printed in a clockwise direction along the outer rim, with the Cyrillic engraved at the upper periphery and the Latin inscribed at the lower boundary. On the second obverse, the words are much smaller and revolve clockwise around the emblem, the Latin shown at the left and Cyrillic at the right. On both pieces, the legends are separated by two small diamonds. Additionally included on the second obverse are the borders of a square, which surround the emblem and names of Yugoslavia. The reverse of all of the coins, regardless of type, is identical. A large numeral "25" is engraved in the middle, superimposing eight lines of the word para in Serbo-Croatian, Slovene, and Macedonian, the three most spoken languages in Yugoslavia. In order, the words written are the Serbo-Croatian "ПАРА" and "PARA", Slovene "PAR", and Macedonian "ПАРИ" (Pari), with a small circular point inscribed between each. An "M", identifying Mileusnić as the designer, is additionally included at the end of the third line, and the Gregorian date of minting, "1978", is shown at the end of the eighth.
The total mintages of these patterns is currently unknown. A small number of each type are known to exist.
Coin of the hard dinar (1982–1983)Edit
By 1981, the 5, 10, 20, and 50 para coins continued to carry their original designs from 1965, with only a few slight alterations. The following year, however, the lower three denominations were discontinued, and a circulation 25 para piece was introduced along with new 50 para and 1, 2, 5, and 10 dinara coins. These were all struck at the Institute for Manufacturing Banknotes and Coins in Belgrade, and incorporated revised designs made by Dragomir Mileusnić. The 25 para coin was introduced on July 15, 1982, and was withdrawn on December 31, 1985.
The 25 para piece of the series is composed of bronze (94.5% copper, 5% zinc, 0.5% manganese) and has a mass of 2.3 grams, a diameter of 17 millimeters, and a thickness of 1.45 millimeters. It has medallic alignment and a plain edge, and is round in shape. The rims of the obverse and reverse are raised and decorated with a beaded border.
Displayed in the center of the obverse is the emblem of Yugoslavia. It is accompanied by the Serbo-Croatian name of SFR Yugoslavia, which is written in Cyrillic as "СФР JУГОСЛАВИJА" and Latin as "SFR JUGOSLAVIJA". The former extends clockwise along the upper rim, while the latter travels in a counterclockwise direction at the lower rim. Both legends are separated by two small diamonds, one located at each side of the obverse. Printed horizontally in the middle of the reverse is a large "25". Four translations of the word para, the Serbo-Croatian "ПАРА" and "PARA", Slovene "PAR", and Macedonian "ПАРИ", are engraved clockwise from the lower left to lower rims of the piece, with a small circular point placed between each word. Printed counterclockwise at the bottom of the reverse is the Gregorian date of minting, either a "1982" or "1983", flanked by two circular points.
A total of approximately 250,606,000 examples of the coin were produced over its two years of production: 185,316,000 in 1982 and 65,290,000 in 1983. All were minted as business strikes. A majority of the 1983 pieces were melted down, but a good number of examples still survive.
Trial strikes of the 1982–1983 coin are also known to exist.
- Numismatic Guaranty Corporation – Yugoslavia: 25 Para, KM# 3 (1920) • Yugoslavia: 25 Para, KM# 17 (1938) • Yugoslavia: 25 Para, KM# Pn25 (1953) • Yugoslavia: 25 Para, KM# Pn26 (1978) • Yugoslavia: 25 Para, KM# 84 (1982–1983)
- Numista – 25 Para - Petar I (1920) • 25 Para - Petar II (1938) • 25 Para (1982–1983) (English) (French)
- Viščević, Zlatko (2011). Coins and Banknotes of Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia (2nd ed.). Numizmatičko društvo Castua. ISBN 9789535689003
- Maison Palombo – Yougoslavie Pierre II (1934-1945) 25 para - 1938 - Essai en nickel non perforé (French)
- Blog Hrvatska Numismatika – Proba kovanice FNR Jugoslavije od 25 para 1953 • Jugoslavija, neizdana serija iz 1978 (Croatian)
- Yugoslav dinar on the English Wikipedia
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