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Stamps and Coins: Croatia in Eurozone

Author: Emil Drkusic
Date: 10/05/2023

On January 1, 2023, Croatia became the 20th member of the Euro area. Today, we’ll take a look at what led to this, from 1991 until 2023.

Breakup of Yugoslavia

The breakup of (Socialist Federal Republic of) Yugoslavia started in 1990, and continued through following few years. Most of the breakup wasn’t peaceful and resulted in wars in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia. The result of this breakup was new states and some self-proclaimed territories – Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, (North) Macedonia, Kosovo (Serbia), Republic of Serbian Krajina (Croatia), Republika Srpska (Bosnia), Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia (Bosnia), and the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia (Bosnia). Serbia and Montenegro were also in federal union also called (Federal Republic of) Yugoslavia, and later Serbia and Montenegro.

From the collector’s perspective, a number of stamps and coins (banknotes) were issued. Of course, there were many overprints, especially when new countries were founded.

Zagreb-Dubrovnik Airmail Route - first Croatian stamp 1991

Zagreb-Dubrovnik Airmail Route

The first Croatian stamp

Croatia – 1991/09/09

1 HRD (Croatian Dinar)

Croatian Dinar (1991-1993)

Croatia used Croatian dinar (HRD) as a currency from 1991 to 1993. This was not a coincidence. The currency of Yugoslavia was Yugoslav dinar.

Note: Dinar as a currency was and is still in use in many countries, from Umayyad Caliphate to the Kingdom of Serbia in the past. More recent users were Croatia (Croatian dinar), Bosnia (Bosnian dinar). Dinar is still a currency in Serbia, (North Macedonia), Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Tunisia, and a subunit of Iranian rail.

Croatian dinar had no subunits and no coins. Banknotes with face value 1 to 1000 were issued on 1991/10/08.

1 Croatian dinar front

1 Croatian dinar (HRD) - front

Croatia – 1991/10/08

Motif: Ruđer Bošković - physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat

1 Croatian dinar back

1 Croatian dinar (HRD) - rear

Croatia – 1991/10/08

Motif: Zagreb Cathedral

On 1992/01/15, banknotes with face values 2000, 5000, and 10000 HRD were printed. On 1993/05/30, two more banknotes were added – one having the face value of 50000 and another one having the face value of 100000 HRD.

100000 Croatian dinars front

100000 Croatian dinars (HRD) – front

Croatia – 1991/10/08

Motif: Ruđer Bošković – physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat

100000 Croatian dinars back

100000 Croatian Dinar (HRD) – rear

Croatia – 1991/10/08

Motif: Sculpture History of the Croats by Ivan Meštrović

Croatian Kuna (1994-2023)

Croatia replaced Croatian dinar in 1994 with Croatian kuna (marten). Lipa (linden tree) was a subunit.

Croatian Kuna (marten) and Lipa (linden tree) coins

Croatian Kuna (marten) and Lipa (linden tree) coins

In use from 1993 to 2023

All kuna coins had an animal as a motif - nightingale (1kn), tuna (2kn), brown bear (5kn).

All lipa coins had a plant as a motif - corn (1 lp), vine (2 lp), Lucerne oak (5 lp), tobacco (10 lp), olive (20 lp), Velebit Degenia (50 lp).

Croatian Kuna (marten) and Lipa (linden tree) coins

Croatian Kuna (marten) and Lipa (linden tree) coins

In use from 1993 to 2023

Kuna was introduced during the war in Croatia which lasted from 1991 to 1995. Due to strong nationalism, kuna had been chosen as a currency.

Note: In history kuna appeared for the first time as a currency in Croatia in 1939 in Banovina of Croatia (part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia). The problematic part is that kuna was a currency of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), which was a puppet nazi state known for some of the most brutal concentration camps. In NDH, 1 kuna has 100 banica as subunits. In 1994 in Croatia, nationalists wanted to have kuna and banica again, but the agreement was that it wouldn’t look to good to the international community.

Nikola Tesla Crypto Stamp - Croatia 2022

Nikola Tesla Crypto Stamp

The last Croatian stamp denominated in kuna

Croatia – 2022/12/20

50 Croatian kuna (HRK)

Modern Architecture and Design Posters: Radovan Tommaseo - Croatia 2022

Modern Architecture and Design Posters: Radovan Tommaseo

The last Croatian (non-crypto) stamp before Euro

Croatia – 2022/11/29

Denomination: A

Euro in Croatia (2023-)

You can also notice that Nikola Tesla appeared on Croatian postal stamps and also is a motif on a Croatian Euro cent coin.

If you want to fire up a disagreement between Serbs and Croats, you can simply ask: “Was Nikola Tesla Serb or Croat?” Of course, there is no right answer to that one. The truth is that Nikola Tesla is A Serb, born in Croatia, while it was part of Austria-Hungarian Empire. And he moved to the USA and did most of his work there. You can read more about Nikola Tesla, and see some stamps related to Tesla, in this article.

Croatia’s Adoption of the Euro - Stamp - Croatia 2023

Croatia’s Adoption of the Euro

The first Croatian stamp denominated in Euro

Croatia – 2023/01/25

1.14 €

Euro coins are pretty specific because each country can have its’ motifs on the coins. Croatia decided to go with the following motifs - Map of Croatia, marten (in memory of the Croatian kuna), Nikola Tesla, Glagolitic script (old script that was used in Croatia).

Croatian Euro cons 2023

Croatian Euro cons

Motifs: Map of Croatia, marten, Nikola Tesla, Glagolitic script


Today we had a quick overview of Croatian currency from 1991 to 2023, and we’ve also seen some stamps from the transition period. If you would like to read more about stamps and coins, feel free to check Philately Meets Numismatics: Coins on Stamps.

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