Money in Montenegro

Though the Principality of Montenegro (Crna Gora) had been independent since the Congress of Berlin in 1878, it acquired its own money only at the beginning of the 20th century. Up till then foreign money circulated on its territory – in the 19th century, of various states, and at the end of the 19th century and beginning of 20th century – mainly Austrian. In the mid 19th century, Bishop Prince Petar Petrovic Njegos had planned to issue money and the law the foundations of a Montenegrin monetary system, but this project got no further than trial minting.
The first coins of nickel and copper were struck on the order of Prince Nicholas (Knjaz Nikola) issued on April 11. 1906, the Law of Money not being passed until December 1910. This officially linked the Montenegrin perper with the “crown course”. The minting of Montenegrin coins according to the crown course, and not according to the rules of the Latin Union may have been a consequence of Montenegro’s orientation towards Austria at this time, and perhaps also of the prince’s personal wish. The mentioned law confirmed the perper as the Montenegrin monetary unit and placed it on the gold standard.
Montenegro acquired paper money in 1912. It should be added at once that Montenegro never had banknotes but only bills of payment. However, these were accepted and exchanged just as if they were banknotes. As was the case with the first issue of Serbian paper money, in Montenegro it was first printed to cover the costs of a war with Turkey. These bills were not issued by the Bank but by the Ministry of Finance and Building.
In the World War I, as in Serbia, the occupation authorities ordered Montenegrin paper money to be over stamped. This was done on 1914 notes, both issues. There is a well known example of a 1912 one perper note that was also over stamped, but this was obviously a slip by the person doing the stamping, since the issue was no longer valid by then.


Serbian Money during the World War I

The outbreak of the First World War caused a disturbance in money circulation in the Kingdom of Serbia. A shortage of small coins, particularly silver, was immediately felt. The bank put in circulation almost all its reserves of silver money, but since this was not sufficient, at the beginning of 1915, silver coins of 2, 1 and 0.5 dinars, to the value of fifteen million dinars were ordered in France.
Later on, nickel coins of 20, 10 and 5 paras to the value of ten million dinars were ordered. The date of issue stamped on these nickel coins is 1917. Very few of these issues were put in circulation.
Certain curiosities among these coins have appeared: 5, 10 and 20 paras coins struck in gold. A gold coin of 20 dinars was also in circulation in 1917. Where and on whose orders they were struck, and the fact that owners brought them from Salonica in 1918 have not yet been explained.
During the early war years the National Bank of Serbia more or less exhausted its monetary reserves. Taking precautions in case that the ordered banknotes from France should be delivered late, in 1915 the National Bank of Serbia altered the 20 dinar note issued in 1905 which was redeemable in gold, keeping the same denomination but making it redeemable in silver. The alteration rounded corners. In the meantime, a 50 dinar note was issued, redeemable in silver, designed by the artist Beta Vukanovic.
As the Serbian army retreated southward, is was accompanied by a large number of refugees who suffered great hardship. In the town of Prizren, a Local Committee for Aid to the Needy was set up, which in October 1915 issued 0.50 dinar banknotes payable in silver. These were distributed among the refugees so that they could purchase essentials.
While it was in Greece, the Government ordered a 5 dinar note, redeemable in silver, in France. Printing began on September 1, 1916, according to the French system, which means that the notes bore the date of the day on which they were actually printed. The last day of printing of this issue was 18.9.1918.
In occupied Serbia, occupation money was mainly in circulation: crowns, marks and levs. To establish how much Serbian money was in the country, and prevent the possible import of new banknotes, the occupation authorities in Serbia ordered the stamping of notes. This was done with an overall stamp with the text: “K.U.K. MILITAR GENERAL GOUVERMENT IN SERBIEN. KREISKOMMNDO”. Along the lower edge was the name of the place where the stamping was performed. The stamp imprint was placed on both sides of the notes. Stamping is known to have been carried out in twelve places.