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Sunday, 9 February 2014

132) Bosnia & Herzegovina: Currency & Coinage: Convertible Mark (“Konvertibilna Marka”) and Fenings:



   132) Bosnia & Herzegovina: Currency & Coinage: Convertible Mark (“Konvertibilna Marka”) and Fenings:  


  A Brief about Bosnia and Herzegovina:


Bosnia and Herzegovina was first settled by humans in the Neolithic Age, followed by Illyrian and Celtic civilizations. Later, it was settled by the Slavic people from the 6th century AD onwards. The Slavs initially through small settlements established the Banate of Bosnia (1154) and later the Kingdom of Bosnia (1377). 


The Ottoman Empire annexed the area in 1463 and ruled these territories from the 15th century to late 19th century AD, which brought a Muslim culture to this Area. Later, these territories were ruled by the Austro-Hungarian dynasty (from 1878) upto World War I. At this time, Bosnia was part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. After World War II, the country was granted full Republic status in the Yugoslav Federation.


Upon the dissolution of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, on 01.03.1992, the country gained its Independence. There are three major ethnic groups - the Bosniaks are the largest group followed by the Serbs and the Croats. This was followed by the Bosnian War in 1995, which was primarily on ethnic lines.


Today the country has a high literacy rate, life expectancy and education levels and is renowned for its natural beauty and cultural heritage. It has a very good tourism traffic which is expected to grow to the third highest growth rate in the World by the end of this decade.


The Bosnia & Herzegovina Convertible Mark:

The Bosnia & Herzegovina Convertible Mark (or “maraka” in plural) is the currency of Bosnia & Herzegovina. It is sub-divided into 100 fenings or “feninga” (in plural). However, when the currency is mentioned in English, then ten “feningas” is incorrect as the last “a’ in feninga already is plural, but ten “fenings” is correct. Similarly, ten Marks in English is correct, but not “ten marakas” (which is already plural).


Between 1992 and 1998, upon Bosnia and Herzegovina gaining its independence from Yugoslavia, the Bosnia and Herzegovina Dinar was the currency of the independent country, replacing the 1990 Series of the Yugoslav Dinar at an exchange rate of 1 Bosnian dinar to 10 Yugoslav “1990 Dinara.


Later, the Bosnian Dinar was placed at par with the 1992 series of the Yugoslav Dinar. The initial issues of the Bosnian Dinara were simply overstamps on the Yugoslavian Banknotes.


High inflation led to the introduction of a second Bosnian Dinar in 1994, which replaced the first Bosnian Dinar at an exchange rate of 1 new Dinar to 10000 old Dinara. While this currency circulated in the areas under Bosnaik control, a “Croatian dinar” and “Kuna” circulated in the territories under Croatian domination and the “Republika Sprska Dinar” circulated in territories with Serbian predominance.


In 1995, owing to rampant inflation in the country, the Konvertible Mark was agreed upon, under the Dayton Agreement to replace the existing currencies in circulation, viz. the Bosnia and Herzegovina Dinar, Croatian Kuna and Republika Srpska Dinar as the currency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Konvertible Mark was based on the German Mark, a currency to which the KM was pegged to at par.


In 1998, the “Konvertibil Marka” (Convertible Mark) , issued by the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, became legal tender in all the territories of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation and the Republika Srpska. The Konvertibil Marka was convertible into the Deutsche Mark and upon Germany joining the European Union, was convertible into the Euro.


 In 2002, the Bosnian KM was fixed to the Euro at the German Mark fixed exchange rate of 1 Euro to 1.95583 KM or BAM or 1 KM to 0.51129 Euro (the ISO 4217 code assigned to the Konvertibil Marka- KM).


Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina (or “Centralna banks Bosne i Hercegovine”):


The Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina was set up on 20.06.1997. Its primary function is to maintain monetary stability by issuing domestic currency and establishing, supervision and implementation of monetary policy. Its Head Office is located in Sarajevo, its main units are the Main Unit Sarejevo, the Main Bank of Republika Srpska CBBH Banja Luka and Main Unit Mostar. Its two branches are the CBBH Branch in Brcko and the Main Bank of Republika Srpska CBBH Branch in Pale.


Since 1998, the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina issues Banknotes with distinct designs for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska which are legal tender throughout the country.


Coinage of Bosnia and Herzegovina:


In 1998, in terms of the Dayton Agreement, coins were issued in the denominations of 10, 20 and 50 fenings. The coins have all been issued by the Royal Mint, London and released into circulation on 09.12.1998 except for the 5 fenings coin which was put into circulation from 05.01.2006.


In 2000, 1 and 2 Maraka coins were circulated.


In 2005, 5 Fenings and 5 Maraka coins were minted/issued.


On the obverse of the 5 Fenings coin is shown the map of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The name of the country is mentioned as “Bosna I Hercegovina” (meaning “Bosnia and Herzegovina”) both in Latin and Cyrillic scripts. The denomination of the coin “5” is mentioned as well as “feninga” (meaning “fenings”).


On the reverse of the 5 Fenings coin is shown the Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the name of the country “Bosna I Hercegovina”, and the year of minting.


The specifications of this coin are:

Diameter: 18 mm; Weight: 2.66 gms; Edge: reeded; Metal Composition: nickel-plated steel. This denomination was minted in 2005 and issued into circulation on 2006. 


On the obverse of the 10 Fenings coin is shown the map of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The name of the country is mentioned as “Bosna I Hercegovina” (meaning “Bosnia and Herzegovina”) in both Latin and Cyrillic scripts. The denomination of the coin “10” is mentioned as well as “feninga” (meaning “fenings”).


 On the reverse of the 10 Fenings coin is shown the Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the name of the country “Bosna I Hercegovina”, and the year of issue is mentioned as “1998” on this coin. This is one of the first few coins issued under this Series. This denomination was also minted in 2004. 
 


The specifications of this coin are:

Diameter: 20 mm; Weight: 3.90 gms; Edge: plain; Metal Composition: copper-plated steel. 





On the obverse of the 20 Fenings coin is shown the map of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The name of the country is mentioned as “Bosna I Hercegovina” (meaning “Bosnia and Herzegovina”). The denomination of the coin “20” is mentioned as well as “feninga” (meaning “fenings”).



On the reverse of the 20 Fenings coin is shown the Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the name of the country “Bosna I Hercegovina”, and the year of issue is mentioned as “2004” on this coin. This is one of the last few coins minted under this Series so far, in circulation. This denomination was first minted in 1998. 


The specifications of this coin are:

Diameter: 22 mm; Weight: 4.50 gms; Edge: reeded; Metal Composition: copper-plated steel.

                          

On the obverse of the 50 Fenings coin is shown the map of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The name of the country is mentioned as “Bosna I Hercegovina” (meaning “Bosnia and Herzegovina”). The denomination of the coin “50” is mentioned as well as “feninga” (meaning “fenings”).

                       

On the reverse of the 50 Fenings coin is shown the Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the name of the country “Bosna I Hercegovina”, and the year of issue is mentioned as “1998” on this coin. 


The specifications of this coin are:


Diameter: 24 mm; Weight: 5.15 gms; Edge: reeded; Metal Composition: copper-plated steel. 




On the obverse of the 1 Marka coin is shown the name of the country mentioned as “Bosna I Hercegovina” (meaning “Bosnia and Herzegovina”). The denomination of the coin “1 KM” is mentioned on this face. There is an inverted triangle both on the top and bottom peripheries which are meant as identification assists for the visually challenged persons.



On the reverse of the 1 Marka coin is shown the Coat of Arms/Emblem of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the name of the country “Bosna I Hercegovina”, and the year of issue is mentioned as “2000” on this coin. This denomination was also issued in 2003 and 2006. 


The specifications of this coin are:


Diameter: 23.25 mm; Weight: 4.95 gms; Edge: milled and smooth; Metal Composition: nickel-plated steel. 



On the obverse of the 2 Maraka coin is shown the name of the country mentioned as “Bosna I Hercegovina” (meaning “Bosnia and Herzegovina”). The denomination of the coin “2 KM” is mentioned on this face. There are two inverted triangles both on the top and bottom peripheries which are meant as identification assists for the visually challenged persons.



On the reverse of the 2 Maraka coin is shown the Dove of peace, the name of the country “Bosna I Hercegovina”, and the year of issue is mentioned as “2003” on this coin. This denomination was also issued in 2000 and 2002. 


The specifications of this coin are:


Diameter: 25.75 mm; Weight: 6.90 gms; Edge: milled and smooth; Metal Composition: copper-nickel (inner ring), nickel-brass (outer ring). 


On the obverse of the 5 Maraka coin is shown the name of the country mentioned as “Bosna I Hercegovina” (meaning “Bosnia and Herzegovina”). The denomination of the coin “5 KM” is mentioned on this face. There are five inverted triangles both on the top and bottom peripheries which are meant as identification assists for the visually challenged persons. 


On the reverse of the 5 Maraka coin is shown the Dove of peace, the name of the country “Bosna I Hercegovina”, and the year of issue is mentioned as “2005” on this coin.


The specifications of this coin are:


Diameter: 30.00 mm; Weight: 10.35 gms; Edge: milled; Metal Composition: nickel brass (inner ring), copper-nickel (outer ring).


Banknotes of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska:


In 1998, Banknotes in the denominations of 50 fenings, 1 Marka, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Marakas were circulated.

In 2002, 200 Maraka Banknotes were circulated.

On 31.03.2003, circulation of 50 Fenings Banknotes was withdrawn due to inflation.

Recently withdrawn Currency/Banknotes:


On 31.03.2009, 1 Marka Banknotes were withdrawn from circulation due to rampant inflation.



The Front of the 1 Konvertibil Marka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes showed the portrait of writer Ivan Franjo Jukic.


(Ivan Franjo Jukic (08.07.1818-20.05.1857): He was a writer from Bosnia and Herzegovina and wrote under the pseudonym “Slavoljub Basnjak”. His life and cultural and political works have left an indelible mark on the cultural history of Bosnia and Herzegovina and he is remembered as one of the founders of Bosnian modernism. He advocated insurgencies against the decadent Ottoman Empire for bringing about modernity, National liberation and civic order.  He was the Founder-editor of the first literary magazine in Bosnia and Herzegovina called “Bosanski prijatelj” (Bosnian Friend). He advocated religion-independent cultural identity and universal civic education, not tied to any religious affiliation. In 1850, he put forward his famous “Zelje i molbe kristjanah u Bosni i Hercegovini, koje ponizno prikazuju mjegovom velicanstvu sretnovladajucem sultanu Abdul-Medzidu”, which was the first draft of a European inspired civic constitution in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the consideration of the government of the Ottoman Empire through which he demanded that all residents of occupied territories of the Ottoman Empire be treated as proper citizens and not as second class citizens).



The Back of the 1 Marka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes showed a fragment from the “Stecak Stolak” (tombstone).

(A brief about tombstones is placed at the end of this post).

Again, on 31.03.2010, 5 Maraka Banknotes were withdrawn from circulation, making the 10 Maraka Banknotes the lowest denomination of Banknote, presently, in circulation.



The Front of the Five Maraka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes showed the portrait of writer Mehmed “Mesa” Selimovic.


(Mehmed “Mesa” Selimovic (26.04.1910-11.07.1982): was a Yugoslavian writer. His first novel “Dervis i smrt” (“Death and the Dervish” is one of the most important literary works in post-World War II Yugoslavia. Some of the main themes in his writings were the relations between individuality and authority, life and death and existential issues. He was a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. His first book which was a collection of short stories “Prva ceta” (The first Company) was published in 1950. His other works include “Tisine” (Silences), “Tuda zemlja” (Foreign Land), “Magla I mjesecina” (Mist and Moonlight), “Tvrdava” (The Fortress), “Ostrvo” (The Island), “Krug” (The Circle) and his autobiography “Sjecanja” (Remembering).



The Back of the Five Maraka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes.


(A brief about tombstones is placed at the end of this post).

Presently circulating Currency/Banknotes:


Since 1998, the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina issues Banknotes with distinct designs for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska which are legal tender throughout the country.

The issuer of all these Banknotes is “Centralna Banka Bosne I Hercegovine” (meaning the “Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina”). The printer of these Banknotes is Francois – Charles Oberhtur, Fiduciare Paris, except for the 200 Konvertibil Banknotes which was printed by the Oestereichishe Banknoten und Sicherheitsdruck GmBH (OeBS) in Vienna. These Banknotes honour important contributors to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska’s historic and cultural development as well as important heritage sites.

Banknotes issued for Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation:




The Front of the 10 Konvertibil Maraka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes shows the portrait of poet and writer Mehmedalija Mak Dizdar. The size of this Banknote is 130 mm x 65 mm. The colour of this Banknote is orange and light grey. This Banknote was first issued on 22.06.1998 and later in 2008 and 2012. 

(Mehmedalija Mak Dizdar (17.10.1917-14.07.1971): was a Bosnian and Yugoslav poet. During World War II, he supported the Communist partisans. After the war he became a prominent personality in the cultural society of Bosnia and Herzegovina working as Editor-in-Chief of the daily “Oslobodenje” (meaning “Liberation”) and also served in prominent positions in State sponsored publishing houses. He also held the position of President of the Writer’s Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina. His two poetry collections and series of long poems “Kameni spavac” (Stone Sleeper) and Modra Rijeka (Blue river) are considered to be classics. His works were influenced through several different religious thoughts including the pre-Ottoman Bosnian Christian culture, the sayings of the heterodox Islamic visionary mystics and the medieval Bosnian vernacular linguistic idiom).



The Back of the 10 Konvertibil Maraka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes shows a fragment the Radimlja Tombstone.

(A brief about tombstones is placed at the end of this post).



The Front of the 20 Konvertibil Maraka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes shows the portrait of writer Antun Branko Simic. The size of this Banknote is 138 mm x 68 mm. The colour of this Banknote is brown. This Banknote was first issued on 27.07.1998 and later in 2008 and 2012. 

(Antun Branko Simic (18.10.1898-02.05.1925): He was a writer and a poet. Starting his works as a Traditionalist, he wrote with unrestrained expression and expressionist spirit. His topics/poetry relates to mankind, pain, poverty, stars, his country Herzegovina, the poor as well as life and death (as if he had a premonition that he was “just passing by” on Earth. As he passed away at an early age of 26 years, he could not leave behind a large volume of literary work. Nevertheless, some of his poems are anthological like “Pjesnici” (Poets), “Vece I ja” (The evening and I), “Opomena” (Warning), “Rucak siromaha” (The Poor Man’s Dinner), “Zene pred uredima” (Women in front offices), “Smrt I ja” (Death and I), “Pjesma jednom brijegu” (Poem to a Mountain), “Preobrazenja” (metamorphosis) etc). 



The Back of the 20 Konvertibil Maraka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes shows a fragment the Radimlja Tombstone.

(A brief about tombstones is placed at the end of this post).

The Front of the 50 Konvertibil Maraka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes shows the portrait of writer Musa Cazim Catic. The size of this Banknote is 146 mm x 71 mm. The colour of this Banknote is violet red and violet brown. This Banknote was first issued on 27.07.1998 and later in 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012. 

(Musa Cazim Catic (12.03.1878-06.04.1915): He was a prominent Bosniak poet of the Bosnian Renaissance. He poetically experienced and imaginatively sublimated everything he came into contact with. His poetry dwelt on eroticism as well as mysticism. He developed his own style, representing a phase of advancement and development in modern Bosnian poetry, which won him praise from several literary followers. Some of his popular works are “Pjesme od godine”, “Izovrna poezija” and “izovorna I prevedena proza” etc).His gravestone bears the following obituary “ Here lies a poet of excellent gift, who did not seek honour nor profit but lived bohemian and sang grand, until death escorted him to this grave”. Many schools in Bosnia are named after him).

The Back of the 50 Konvertibil Maraka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes shows a theme from the “Zgosca Tombstone”.

(A brief about this tombstone is placed at the end of this post).

The Front of the 100 Konvertibil Maraka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes shows the portrait of writer Nikola Sop. The size of this Banknote is 154 mm x 74 mm. The colour of this Banknote is brown. This Banknote was first issued on 27.07.1998 and later in 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2012. 

The Back of the 100 Konvertibil Maraka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes shows a theme from the “Zgosca Tombstone”.

(A brief about this tombstone is placed at the end of this post).

The Front of the 200 Konvertibil Maraka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes shows the portrait of writer Ivo Andric. The size of this Banknote is 156 mm x 76 mm. The colour of this Banknote is blue. This Banknote was issued on 15.05.2002. 

(Ivo Andric (09.10.1892-13.03.1975): He was a Yugoslav novelist, short story writer and he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1961. His writings dealt with mainly the life in Bosnia under the Ottoman Empire. He lived in Visegrad on the river Drina in Eastern Bosnia, where he saw the 16th century Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge which became famous through his novel “Na Drini cuprija” (“The Bridge on the Drina”). He started his literary career as a poet. He was one of the first contributors to “Hrvatska mlada lirika” (“Young Croatians Lyrics”). He became a career diplomat in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In this capacity, he worked at the Hoy see, consulates in Bucharest, Trieste and Graz, Paris and Marseilles, Madrid etc and as Ambassador to Germany and returned at the outbreak of World War II. During World War II, he penned his three famous novels (known as “the Bosnian trilogy”) in Belgrade published in 1945 including “The Bridge on the Drina”, “Bosnian Chronicle” and “The Woman from Sarejevo”. Later he held some posts in the Communist Government and on winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961, donated the prize money for the improvement of libraries in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some of his other interesting works were : “Ex Ponto”, “Unrest”, “The Journey of Alija Derzelez”, “The Vizier’s Elephant”, The Damned Yard” etc.

The Back of the 200 Konvertibil Maraka Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation Banknotes shows a theme of the Bridge on the River Drina in honour of Ivo Andric.

Only one version of this Banknote was released which is unique for the entire territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Banknotes issued for Republika Srpska:


The Front of the 10 Konvertibil Maraka Republika Srpska Banknotes shows the portrait of poet Aleksa Santic. The size of this Banknote is 130 mm x 65 mm. The colour of this Banknote is orange and light gray. This Banknote was first issued on 22.06.1998 and later in 2008 and 2012. 

(Aleksa Santic (27.05.1868-02.02.1924): He was a Bosnian Serb Poet and Editor-in Chief of the review “Zora”. He was one of the founders of a cultural newspaper “Dawn” as the President of the Serbian Singing society “Gusle” (named after a musical instrument). He wrote six volumes of poetry published from 1891 to 1913, some of which are very popular viz: Pod Maglom (In the Fog -1907), Hasan Aginica (1911) etc. He translated several German works, including “Wilhelm Tell”, (“William Tell” was also published as a Classic Illustrated Comic in English, which I have in my collection of all-time Classics).

The Back of the 10 Konvertibil Maraka Republika Srpska Banknotes shows a theme of a Loaf of Bread.



The Front of the 20 Konvertibil Maraka Republika Srpska Banknote shows the portrait of Folk Song Narrator Filip Visnjic (1765 – 1835). The size of this Banknote is 138 mm x 68 mm. The colour of this Banknote is brown. This Banknote was first issued on 27.07.1998 and later in 2008 and 2012. 

(Filip Visnjic (1765-1835): He was a popular Serbian epic poet and “guslar” (“gusle” player – Gusle is a musical instrument). to in his time and which became a valued part of Serbian epic poetry. He is considered to be the best ballad writer and singer of his time. Often described as the “Serbian Homer”, because he was blind and for his poetic gift, he composed poems about historic events of Serbian history which he was witness to. During the first Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Rule, not able to join the fight because of his physical inability, he boosted the morale of his comrades by composing many songs documenting the battles as epic chronicles. His poems also describe the psychological portraits of the participants who went to battle the Turks. Some of his works “Pocetak bune protiv dahija” (The beginning of the Revolt against Dahijas), “Boj na Cokesini” (Battle of Cokesina) “Boj na Misaru” (Battle of Misar), “Knez Ivo Knezevic” et al are all time classics. Every year in November, his home village Gornja Trnova hosts a cultural programme called “Visnjicevi dani” (Visnjic’s days) at a site where his house once stood in which renowned writers, theoreticians and poets eulogise his contributions in prose and in verse).



The Back of the 20 Konvertibil Maraka Republika Srpska Banknotes shows a Gusle (a musical instrument) in honour of Filip Visnjic.

The Front of the 50 Konvertibil Maraka Republika Srpska Banknotes shows the portrait of writer Jovan Ducic. The size of this Banknote is 146 mm x 71 mm. The colour of this Banknote is violet red and violet brown. This Banknote was first issued on 27.07.1998 and later in 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012.

(Jovan Ducic (17.02.1871-07.04.1943): He was a Bosnian Serb poet, writer and diplomat. He founded a literary magazine “Zora” (meaning “Dawn”) with writer Svetozar Corovic and poet Aleksa Santic. He published his first book of poetry in Mostar in 1901 and his second in Belgrade in 1912. He wrote prose as well with several essays and studies about writers, “Blago cara Radovana” (“Tsar Radovana’s treasure”) and poetry letters from foreign countries. He had a distinguished diplomatic career as an Ambassador, serving in Istanbul, Sofia, Rome, Athens, Cairo, Madrid and Lisbon. His Acta Diplomatica (Diplomatic Letters was published posthumously. He has several popular writings and poems to his credit).

The Back of the 50 Konvertibil Maraka Republika Srpska Banknotes shows a theme of a pen, eyeglasses and book in honour of Jovan Ducic.

The Front of the 100 Konvertibil Maraka Republika Srpska Banknotes shows the portrait of writer Petar Kocic. The size of this Banknote is 154 mm x 74 mm. The colour of this Banknote is brown. This Banknote was first issued on 27.07.1998 and later in 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2012. 

(Petar Kocic (29.06.1877-27.08.1916): He was a Bosnian Serb writer. Initially, he was a member of a Literary Circle called the “Mlada Bosna” (Bosnian Youth) and contributed to the first Bosnian literary cultural journal “Bosanska vila” (The Bosnian Muse). Later, he founded a magazine “Otadzbina” (Fatherland) and formed a political group which urged Bosnians to overthrow the Austro-Hungarian occupation which made him an enemy of Austria. He even served as an elected member of “Bosanski sabor” (Bosnian Parliament in Sarejevo. He is regarded as one of the best story tellers in Serbian literature. His literary works narrate about Krajina snowstorms and hardships, evoke the dreams and achievements of Bosnian people, despite the occupation of Ottoman Turks and later the Austrians and their aspirations and struggles to be free/liberated people. Two popular collections of tales are simply marvellous – “From the top and bottom of a mountain”, “Howls from Zmijanje”, as well as his two short stories – “Badger on Tribunal” and “Trials” which are satires on the political and social life of the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina).

The Back of the 100 Konvertibil Maraka Republika Srpska Banknotes shows a theme of a pen, eyeglasses and book in honour of Petar Kocic.



Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina: 
 


Coat of Arms of Bosnia and Herzegovina:


One of the earliest Coat of Arms of Bosnia, the Fojnica Arms dates back to 1340.



The above is an image of the Fojnica Coat of Arms.



The above is an image of a gold coin of Tvrtko bearing the Fojnica arms. Tvrtko was a prominent King of Bosnia from the Kotromanic Dynasty.

From 1992 to 1998, the following Coat of Arms was displayed.



This Coat of Arms used by Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1998, was similar to that of the Kotromanic Dynasty who ruled Bosnia-Herzegovina and Dalmatia from 1377 to 1463. This Coat consisted of a blue background divided diagonally by a white line which symbolizes the sword of Tvrtko and his might as a ruler. The blue shield also has six gold fleur de lys (symbolizing “Lilium bosniacum” – a variety of lilies found in Bosnia-Herzegovina) in a division of three each on either side of the white line.

This Coat of Arms came in for a lot of criticism from the Bosnian Serbs, as it represented only the Bosniaks.

Accordingly, on 18.08.1998 the following revised Coat of Arms was adopted by Bosnia and Herzegovina.



This Coat of Arms purported to represent the interests of all ethnicities at the macro-level. 

It consists of the typical straight top, oval sides and spiked bottom. The Coat has two background colours – dark blue and gold, both of which are taken from the earlier Coat of Arms. The three pointed shield symbolizes the three major ethnic groups of Bosnia. The top right hand corner forms a yellow triangle symbolizing the shape of Bosnia and Herzegovina, representing the land, sky, rivers and lakes and other natural resources. 

The six stars were adopted to replace the “fleur de lys” of the earlier Arms. The present Coat does not directly relate with Bosnian-Herzegovinian history.  

The Escutcheon (shield with armorial bearings) is described as “per bend enhanced Or (gold or yellow in heraldry) and azure (blue), a bend of mullets (stars) palewise argent (silver)”. 

A Brief about “Stecak” (singular) “Stecci” (plural) – Bosnian Monumental Medieval Tombstones:


These are monumental medieval tombstones found across Bosnia and Herzegovina and are the country’s most legendary symbols. These are tombstones of people who lived between the 11th and 15th centuries and did not have allegiance to any kingdom but their own. 

The tombstone’s most remarkable feature is their decorative motifs, many of which are still enigmatic. They depict knights in armour, hunters on a hunt, farmers in fields, warriors competing in tournaments, rearing horses, dancers, ladies in dresses, flowers, wolves, bears, wild boars, dogs etc. The ornaments show the crescent moon, stars, cross and swastika. The images celebrate life, joy, physical strength and merriment. Questions regarding the inevitability of death appear on some of the inscriptions but are absent from the carved images. In all, about 80 primary and 320 secondary motifs have been identified on about 7500 Stecci. There are around 69356 known Stecci in existence at 3162 locations.

The Stecci are grouped in “Nekropola” (“Necropolises”) located on hills overlooking the surrounding countryside.

The Stecci stone slabs are sometimes as heavy as 30000 kilograms and vary in shape. Sometimes they take the shape of a roofed sarcophagus, a high pillar, flat slab, chest shaped as an elongated cube with flat surfaces or an irregularly hewn monolith. They are about two metres long and one metre wide. The slates are between 30 and 50 cm high and the sarcophagi and tombs are 1.5 metres in height. The height of the pillars is between two to three metres.

The most famous and decorated stecak is from Zgosca near Kakanj in Bosnia and Herzegovina dating back to the 15th century AD. Since it has no engraved writing and was immaculately decorated, it is believed that it is the tomb of King Stjepan II Kotromanic and the Radimilja tombstones.



The above is an obelisk at Kralja, placed near the tomb of Tvrtko who was a prominent King of Bosnia from the Kotromanic Dynasty.











The above are image of the designs on the Radimilja tombstones.







The above are images of the designs on the Zgosca tombstones believed to be the tomb of King Stjepan II Kotromanic.















The above are images of Stecak motifs.









 (The above coins and Banknotes are from the collection of Ajit George. Coins and Banknotes scanned and article researched and written by Rajeev Prasad).         

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