Exhibition on Slovenia’s first currency opens in central bank

Ljubljana – An exhibition on Slovenia’s first currency, the tolar, was launched in Ljubljana on Tuesday as one of the events marking the 30th anniversary of the central bank. Visitors will be able to learn about the process of the planning and design of the currency, and see original portraits of figures featured on tolar banknotes.

Addressing the opening of the Story about Tolar exhibition, Banka Slovenije Governor Boštjan Vasle said that the “national identity at the time was not created only by the language, culture, art and science, but also significantly by the tolar.”

Back then, the tolar “did not become only a national symbol of merit, as it also had an important, spiritual component, with the creators being able to connect the value of our money with great names from our history”, he added.

Vladimir Vidmar, the co-author of the exhibition on display in the central bank until 17 November, said the goal was to present a “phenomenon that would be equally interesting both for political and economic history and for art history.”

Visitors will be able to see a timeline explaining the historical and political context of the time of the creation of the tolar, and see original portraits of figures featured on banknotes and video clips of interviews with the creators.

Tolar banknotes were designed by Miljenko Licul and Zvone Kosovelj, with portraits painted by Rudi Španzel, while coins were modelled by sculptor Janez Boljka.

“The question is how the designers and all others who participated in this process managed to create such an exceptional product at the time – when we were in a hurry and the present-day technology was not available,” said Vidmar.

The tolar was the currency of Slovenia from 8 October 1991 until the introduction of the euro on 1 January 2007.

Temporary vouchers were issued at first and the first banknotes entered circulation in September 1992 and the first coins in January 1993, says the website of the central bank.