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The Serbian Dinar

When it comes to the history of currencies, the Serbian dinar sticks out. Most currencies emerge as their country gains independence, and because of that, many countries have only had their central bank and independent currencies for less than a century. The Serbian dinar, however, has been around for centuries and has experienced quite a ride.

The first time the Serbian dinar is mentioned in history dates back to early 1200, during the reign of Stefan Nemanjic. Silver dinar coins were minted for approximately 250 years following that time. Like many coins in surrounding regions, the Serbian dinar mimicked the Venetian grosso, using similar latin symbols. Silver was an extremely precious metal at that time, rendering it one of the most exported coins of the time.

The popularity of the dinar in Serbia would be interrupted with the Ottoman conquest in the 19th century. With this new reign came a brand new mint, and the Ottomans took it upon themselves to create 42 new coins made from gold, silver, and copper. The financial state of Serbia during the early to mid 1800s was in shambles, as the many different coins circulated nationwide. When the last Ottoman troops were pulled from Serbia in 1867, there were multiple types of currency in circulation, creating mass confusion.

In 1868, Prince Mihailo Obrenovic III ordered a unified national currency, and the Yugoslav dinar was minted. The first bronze coins were introduced in increments of 1, 5, and 10. Several years later, silver  and gold coins were introduced. The first official banknotes came about in 1876 in increments of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 dinara.

The Serbian dinar was used at par with the Yugoslav dinar, but as World War I hit, the Serbian dinar would be allowed to stand alone. During World War II, Germany came to occupy Serbia, and the Serbian dinar was the lead currency. This change in currency lasted only four years until Germany left Serbia and the Yugoslav dinar was the currency of choice once again.

The currency remained that way until the new millenium, when the Serbian dinar took over the economy once more. The National Bank of Serbia was reestablished, and the current coins in circulation include 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 dinara coins. The scripts on all the Serbian dinar coins are identical, using Latin and Cyrillic script. Though the 10 and 20 dinara coins are accepted as valid forms of currency, they are more commonly used as banknotes than as coinage.