First Money — History of the Croatian Currency

Croatian Dinar — Transitional Means of Payment
The Croatian dinar was released into circulation on 23 December 1991, on the day of coming into force of the Decree on the National Bank of Croatia, issued by the Government of the Republic of Croatia, pursuant to which the National Bank of Croatia became a fully independent institution, directly accountable to the Croatian Parliament, whose main goal was to preserve the value of the domestic currency. The Yugoslav dinar was exchanged for the Croatian dinar at the ratio of 1:1 from 23 to 31 December (the regular time limit). The exchange rate of the Croatian dinar versus foreign currencies was determined by the National Bank of Croatia on its first exchange rate list of 1 January 1992 – 1 German mark equalled 55 Croatian dinars.

The introduction of the Croatian dinar as the legal tender in the Republic of Croatia marked the end of the country's process of gaining monetary independence. This process was started in July 1991, when the Government of the Republic of Croatia, by its decisions, attempted to offset the negative effects for Croatia from the decision of the Board of Governors of the National Bank of Yugoslavia of 27 June 1991, which excluded the banks from the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Slovenia, and their central banks, from the primary issue of the NBY. Although these two republics were thus de facto separated from the Yugoslav monetary system, the moratorium imposed by the Brijuni Declaration (from 7 July to 7 October) was an attempt, although unsuccessful, aided by the international community, to arrest the process of gaining monetary independence.

The Croatian dinar was an interim currency issued by the Ministry of Finance, with banknotes signed by the then finance minister. This currency was not issued by the National Bank, as it was meant to serve as a transitional means of payment in the process of gaining monetary independence and building healthy foundations, primarily in terms of achieving price stability, for the introduction of the national currency. The banknotes were issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 100, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 50000 and 100000 dinar, while coins were not minted.

The CNB was replacing HRD banknotes within a regular time limit from 30 May to 31 December 1994, and within an extended time limit until 30 June 1995. As of 1 July 1995, HRD banknotes could no longer be replaced.

Croatian Dinar

Featured in the centre of the banknotes was a portrait of a Croatian scientist, Ruđer Bošković. Higher denominations featured the motif of the History of the Croats, a sculpture by Ivan Meštrović, while smaller denominations bore an image of the Zagreb Cathedral.


Kuna and lipa — the Croatian Currency
On the Statehood Day, 30 May 1994, the kuna, divided into 100 lipa, was introduced as the monetary unit of the Republic of Croatia, by the exchange for the Croatian dinar in the ratio of 1:1000. The issuance of the kuna was made possible by the stability achieved by the successful implementation of a stabilisation programme, introduced in October 1993. The programme was based on the coordinated measures of monetary and fiscal policies, foreign exchange liberalisation and some structural reforms. In the situation of a strong depreciation of the Croatian dinar exchange rate, the stabilisation programme set the upper limit for the DEM/HRD exchange rate at 4,444. The exchange rate of the Croatian dinar never again approached this limit and started to strengthen instead. Inflationary expectations were in a short while anchored by the stabilisation programme, with the result that hyperinflation exceeding 1000 percent annually in 1993 was followed by price stability established in 1994, with a 3 percent deflation at the December level.

The name kuna (marten) was chosen for the Croatian currency because of the important role of marten pelts in the monetary and fiscal history of Croatia. Marten pelts had originally been used for payments in kind. Later, the kuna became a unit of account and, finally, a modern-day currency. Additionally, marten pelts were used to pay a special medieval tax, called kunovina or marturina, in Slavonia, the Croatian Littoral and Dalmatia; a marten was depicted on the Croatian coin banovac from the first half of the 13th to the end of the 14th century; issuing the kuna was considered, but never realised, in the Banovina of Croatia; the kuna was used in the issues of the Independent State of Croatia and of the Antifascists Council for the National Liberation of Croatia.


Kuna banknotes

Kuna and lipa coins


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Kuna and Lipa, the Currency of the Republic of Croatia (Kune i lipe, novac Republike Hrvatske), National Bank of Croatia, Zagreb, 1994

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Croatian Numismatics (Hrvatska numizmatika), Zagreb, 1994
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Assignat of the City of Pag from 1778 (Asignat grada Paga iz 1778. godine), I International Numismatic Congress, collected papers, Opatija, 1996
Privredna banka Zagreb d.d.:
2500 Years of the Culture of Saving and Money Trading in Croatia (2500 godina kulture štednje i novčarstva na povijesnom hrvatskom tlu), Zagreb, 1998
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Dictionary of Foreign Words