Monday, January 24, 2011


I heard on the radio earlier this month that Estonia has trashed its currency and opted to join the euro zone. I don't quite follow the thinking that went into that, but in any case the Estonia kroon (pronounced "crone," according to the radio) is gone.

Naturally that sent me to my stash of increasingly obsolete foreign coins to see if I had any. All I could find were two 20 Estonian senti pieces, a fifth of a kroon, both dated 1992. That must have been all we had left when we exited the country, which was unusual, because usually we didn't quite spend down our currency quite so completely.

One side (not sure if this is the obverse or reverse):

The other side:

The three lions have long been associated with Estonia. According to the Estonia Institute, that country's equivalent of Germany's Goethe Institut or Spain's Instituto Cervantes, "the heraldic lions of the coat of arms are the most ancient of Estonia's symbols. They have been used since the 13th century, when they served as the big coat of arms for the capital city, Tallinn.

"Tallinn got these slim blue lions from the King of Denmark, Waldemar the Second; Denmark was the ruling power in northern Estonia at that time... Various other foreign powers came and went, but the three lions remained to become the coat of arms for most of the Estonian territory.

"The State Assembly of the independent Republic of Estonia adopted the three lions officially by resolution on June 19, 1925. The current large coat of arms is a golden shield charged with three blue lions passant guardant with golden oak branches on both sides of the shield. The small coat of arms is identical, except there are not any oak branches."

The lions are interesting, but feature I liked best about the kroon is its international code: EEK.

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