Money in Montenegro in the Past and Nowadays



It is assumed that the first money in the region of today’s Montenegro was Greek stater with the image of the God Zeus – it is related to the 4th century before the common era.


Material evidence shows that in these regions, in the mint in Risan, three types of money were coined in the 2nd century before the common era - one with the image of the Goddess Artemide, the second with the image of King Belies and the third, the money of Belies successors – Illyrian money.

Pictures of Illyrian money


With the close of the Risan mint until the 13th  century, when the mint in Brskovo started operating, Roman, Byzantine and Venetian money was mainly in circulation on the area of today’s Montenegro.


Roman money circulated in the province of Prevalis in the 3rd  century A.D. Archeological finds  dating from that period are located in Onogošt (Nikšić), Duklja (Podgorica), Budva and Ulcinj.

Photographs of Roman money


Byzantine money circulated in these regions from 5th  to 13th century. These gold coins were shaped as a bowl and copper follis.

Photograph of Byzantine money


The money of the Venetian Republic had crucial influence on the development of money in Adriatic coastal towns.


Grossi de Brescoa – Raska dominated over Zeta in this period and Kings Uros I, Dragutin and Milutin coined money in Brskovo.  This mint (13-14th  centuries) was the first independent mint in the south Slav region.


Towns on the Adriatic coast – Kotor, Bar, Ulcinj and Svac coined their own money for their needs. There are no reliable dates when the money was coined, but it circulated at the time of Czar Uros I, during the rule of Balsic and in one period of time of the Venetian rule.


Money of Ulcinj

Gypsum Money of Svac

Money of Kotor


Balsic, Zeta rulers  (1372 – 1421), coined eleven types of money. At that time Zeta was the stronger state and extended itself to the borders of former Duklja. Five types of coins minted by Djuradj I Balsic have Cyrillic inscriptions and it is thought that they were coined in Prizren. At the end of 14th century, the mint was moved to Bar and Ulcinj. The money was coined out of silver, with a slight admixture of gold. Coins display Balsic's coat of arms (except on the money that was first coined).


Dynasty of Crnojevici (1426-1514) – did not coin money.


Period of Turkish domination was marked with the use of different currencies:

16 – 17th century – Turkish aspra (small silver coins; one golden coin comprised of 50 of these silver coins). The name aspra was also used later as an expression for money in general. Turkish money, mainly arslanija – »Turkish coin« circulated on the territory of Montenegro liberated after the »Great War«. This coin entered the region through Kotor, and was used for large payments. The actual currency on the Coast, dinar, was less often used in continental areas.

Turkish money from 16th century

Turkish gold coins from Pljevlja


Period of fight for liberation against Turkish domination


The end of 17th and 18th century


Crowning of the founder of the dynasty Petrovic-Njegos, Danilo hapenned at the time when Russia became the European power under the rule of Peter the Great who tried to use the Balkan nations in the fight for liberation of the Balkans from Turkish domination. Material domination of Russia enabled it to provide assistance – trade was performed in rubles as well.

Russian metal coins from

Russian paper notes from

18th - 19th centuries

18th - 19th centuries


Austrian currency prevailed in Montenegro after the end of the Venetian Republic (1797). Kotor fell under Austrian domination – the economy was cost oriented.

Venetian money 17th - 18th centuries


19th century


The basic currency of this period was the Austrian florin, consisting of 100 kreuzers. Circulation of the Austrian florin was introduced in 1857.


Having met Carl Rothschild, banker and financial magnate, Njegos planned minting of Montenegrin money in 1851 – minting of perun was in preparations. Njegos’s early death prevented the complete realization of this effort. Red wax prints are all we have today.  

20th century


Florins were still in use. In 1901, circulation of Austrian currency was replaced with circulation of the crown on golden backing. Other currencies besides florin were also circulating in Montenegro: napoleon, madzarija, Turkish madzarija (in gold), Russian ruble (in gold), German mark (in gold). The exchange rate of these currencies to florin was set by the Ministry of Finance.


In 1906, Prince Nikola issued a Decree on minting of the first Montenegrin money – perper. This was one way to confirm state sovereignty and to meet growing economic needs. Four issues of metal money were made during the Principality: two in nickel and copper, one in silver and one in gold.


From August 28, 1910, when Montenegro became a kingdom, until the end of the independent Montenegrin state, four series of metal money were issued.

Photograph of perper and Principality and Kingdom money


Lack of money caused by the Balkan Wars and the First World War led to the issue of treasury orders – coupons. Three series of the orders were issued. This was the time of the adoption of the legal acts and of laying foundations of the monetary system of Montenegro.


During the First World War, Austria occupied Montenegro. In June 1916, occupying authorities stopped the minting of metal perper  (silver and golden money was taken out of Montenegro). During 1917, Austria printed orders that on the front side had text written in German, and on the back side the text in local and Albanian languages.


The money of the Kingdom of the Serbs, the Croats and the Slovenians, i.e., Kingdom of Yugoslavia, circulated in Montenegro from 1918 to 1941. That is the period of circulation of: Austria-Hungarian money, State-issued paper money, dinar-crown and crown-dinar bank notes, coined money issued by the State,  bank notes of the National Bank of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, and bank notes of the National Bank of Yugoslavia - dinars.


Legally issued stamped dinar bank notes were used during the Italian occupation in the Second World War – the entire property and valuable things of the Zeta region ruled over by the so-called ban “were placed under sequester”. Lira was introduced.


During the German occupation and after the Italian capitulation, German marks were introduced and together with the lira were the legal means of payment.


The dinar was in use from 1944 to 1999 as legal means of payment in Democratic Federative, Federative Peoples, Socialist Federative and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It was issued by the National Bank of Yugoslavia. A dinar consisted of 100 paras.

Photographs of dinar 


The years of disintegration of SFRY, years of sanctions and years of hyperinflation (roughly 1990-2000) made the Government of Montenegro introduce German marks as the parallel means of payment and the currency of reserves. The dual currency system was introduced in 1999 – dinar/mark, and in 2000, the German mark became the only means of payment in Montenegro.


With the adoption of the Law on the Central Bank in March 2001, the German mark was the only legal means of payment until the introduction of the euro.  

Photographs of mark


In January 2002, countries of Euroland introduced the euro as the legal means of payment. Montenegro introduced it as well. Dual currency system in Euroland lasted until the end of February, and in Montenegro until the end of March 2002.


Euro is our money.