“The Republic of Macedonia is introducing its own currency, which will be called the Denar, and I look forward to seeing how this currency will be printed.” This is how the country’s first prime minister, Nikola Kljusev, introduced the Macedonian Denar as the national currency. The new currency was officially introduced on April 26, 1992 (Easter).
Vouchers instead Dinars prior Denar
The Parliament then passed a package of laws that made the country financially independent. First, vouchers were introduced, which replaced the Yugoslav Dinars of the time at a ratio of 1:1. The exchange began on April 27, 1992 and lasted three days. Yugoslav banknotes were no longer valid from April 29. However, the 1, 2 and 5 Yugoslav dinar coins remained in circulation for another year.
The vouchers for 25, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 had the same design and differed only in color. However, the name of the new national currency has not yet found its way onto the notes. Macedonia was the main motif on the obverse and tobacco pickers on the reverse.
The Macedonian currency is named after the eponymous ancient Roman currency (Latin denarius) that was used in the area in the past. The name was given by academician Petar Ilievski. “Macedonian dinar” and “lav” (lion) were seen as other suggestions during this period.
The first Denars came into circulation in 1993, which included a series of banknotes in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 Denar. Then in 1996 banknotes in denominations of 1,000 and 5,000 Denar were introduced.
In 2016 banknotes of 200 and 2,000 Denars were introduced. At the same time, the MKD 5,000 denomination banknotes were withdrawn from circulation due to their insignificant use in day-to-day business and reduced demand from banks.
In 2018, the National Bank, which has the right to issue banknotes and coins, replaced the 10- and 50-Denar banknotes with new polymer banknotes.
From 1996, the NBRM also issued commemorative coins for collectors.
Today, 10, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 and 2,000 Denar banknotes and 1, 2, 5, 10 and 50 Denar metal coins are used as means of payment in the country.
Alexander the Great on Macedonian Denar banknote as a proposal
When it was announced in 2016, or in the run-up to it, that new Denar bills would be put into circulation (the 200 and 2000 bills mentioned above), there were quite a few Macedonians who favored a motif with Alexander the Great.
Some creations found their way into the public domain, but were never implemented.
“Look at the new provocation of the people in Skopje”, headlined the Greek portal “Newsbomb” at the time, which reported extensively on the 200 Macedonian Denar banknote.
The portal further explained to its readers that the banknote shows Alexander the Great on Bukephalos and is worth 200 Denar, which is about 3.5 euros.
“They issued a new banknote with Alexander the Great. In a recent poll, the Skopians (note: pejorative for Macedonians was used in Greece as a synonym Skopians instead of Macedonians) said they would not accept a name change,” the portal commented in the style of a fake news machine. Because the banknote was not issued in this design.
Makedonka, Stater, Peon instead of Denar
But there are more stories before the Denar got its final name.
Since we already mentioned Alexander the Great, we will stay with the most famous Macedonian king for a moment. He made it onto a bill that was proposed, with the name “Makedonka” (literally translated, Macedonian women). This was one of the many name suggestions when independent Macedonia was looking for its own currency.
However, the first proposal for the new money came out on January 24, 1991, when the “Peon” proposal came from an unknown author. After the name of the ancient people of the Paionians who lived in this area.
A little later, the printing house “11. October” in Prilep on his own initiative printed a prototype of Macedonian money called “Stater”. A name known by the ancient Macedonian rulers.
The proposal was accidentally published in a newspaper. Very few such banknotes with this name were printed and were immediately withdrawn. However, a very few copies made it into circulation. Today, this banknote with the name Stater is even traded on the world markets for up to 5,000 euros.
Source: Macedonia News in German