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Coins and Banknotes | Numismatics | History of Money in Serbia

History of Money in Serbia

The tradition of the use of money in Serbia dates back as far as 6-5 century B.C. The earliest coinage from this period was struck in Greek towns, testifying to the first contacts of Balkan inhabitants with the developed ancient world. Coin minting became customary at the time of Macedonian rulers Philip II and Alexander the Great, and in Adriatic towns – Apollonia and Dyrrhachium. The Celts who lived in present-day Srem and Belgrade minted special silver coins. The long-lasting and strong domination of the Roman Empire in 1-5 century A.D. created the conditions for the opening of two important mints of Roman coins in the territory of present-day Serbia – in Sirmium (present-day Sremska Mitrovica) and Viminacium (present-day Kostolac). The name of the Serbian currency dinar originates from the name of the Roman currency denarius – dinars were first coined in medieval Serbia and later in the liberated, 19 century-Serbia.  The period prior to the establishment of the independent Serbian state in the Middle Ages was marked by the use of coins struck by barbarian tribes, and later by the powerful Byzantium.

Kovani novac Kovani novac
Coin of Roman Emperor Gordian III struck in Viminacium (Kostolac) in 242 A.D.
Coin of Serbian Emperor Dušan struck in 1346 on the occasion of his coronation

The “Serbian dinar” is mentioned for the first time in documents written by the end of 1214, at the time of Stefan the First Crowned. However, according to the research carried out so far, the first Serbian ruler to mint coins was king Radoslav (1227-1234). Coinage was minted in Serbia until the fall of the Serbian Despotate to the Ottomans in 1459. Mints were located near numerous silver mines such as: Brskovo, Rudnik, Novo Brdo, Srebrenica, Trepča, etc. The new currency dinar represented one of the most important signs of independence and sovereignty of the Serbian medieval state. During the reign of king Dušan (1331-1346) and later Emperor Dušan (1346-1355), the volume of monetary production surpassed the one in neighboring countries. The beauty, diversity and quantity of these coins attested to pinnacle of glory of the Serbian medieval state. 

In the period from the 15th century (loss of independence of the Serbian state) until the mid-19th century, a great number of foreign currencies was in use. During the Turkish rule, only few mints were active in Serbia (Novo Brdo, Kučajna and Belgrade). The name of the Turkish silver coin – para has been preserved as the name for the hundredth part of the Serbian dinar.