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250 lei 1941 TOTUL PENTRU TARA
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30 mm diameter, 12 g, silver 83.5%,
copper 16.5%, flat edge
denomination "250 LEI", Romanian coat of arms and year 1941, wreath made from grapevine with leaves and clusters and wheat ears
Incuse on the edge: TOTUL PENTRU TARA
inscription "MIHAI I REGELE ROMANILOR" meaning "KING OF THE ROMANIANS", MIHAI I head facing left.
Under the neck lies H. IONESCU, the engraver's name.

Mintage: 2.250.000 coins

About 250 lei 19#40 - TOTUL PENTRU TARA

The 250 lei coins struck under Mihai featuring TOTUL PENTRU TARA on the edge and 19#40 on the obverse were never released, being melted. They were struck starting with December 18th 1940. In fact, the dividing ensign inside the year's digits was the very reason that brought doom to the issue. It was the emblem of the Legionary Movement, here replaced by one #, to which it resembles to a certain extent (it lacks the cross inside the middle of the sharp). The rebellion of 21st - 23rd January 1941, smothered by marshall Ion Antonescu with the help of the army, led to an abrupt ending to the Movement and to the almost complete destruction of these coins. (The Legionary Movement was a far right movement that assumed political power for a few months in 1940 and 1941 but was disavowed during the uprising by Germany that had not deemed the legionaries trustworthy despite their orientation.)

The order of melting the entire batch was issued before the release, yet - as usual - some survived to make up a special challenge for the Romanian coin collectors.

The coin picture at left is present on Romanian Coins through the kind permission of Mr. J. Ardelean.

The piece above has digit 1 stamped above the year. One legend says that in 1945 Haralamb Ionescu, the coin engraver, struck a second batch of only 10 or 12, that he numbered.

Another legend, not contradicting the first, puts it that in 1998 a batch of such coins was struck with the original dies. These fakes would have the inscription on the edge poorly impressed, as the original ring used for the sentence on the edge was no longer to be found. The legionary ensign on the edge was made with a sharp pick afterwards. The rim of the batch is straight, while the rim of the originals is slightly chamfered. A few pieces of such a batch hit the market the last years. (information received from Mr Cristian Ciuplea)

About 250 lei 1941 - TOTUL PENTRU TARA

These coins should have been struck, conformingly to a royal decree from March 1st 1941, in 14.800.000 pieces. The coins were released into circulation after March 19th, and withdrawn in May and June. It seems that about 94% of the coins that entered the market were withdrawn. Most probably the withdrawal was caused by the edge inscription. This issue was replaced by a new one, with NIHIL SINE DEO on the edge. [Liliana-Nicoleta Hanganu, Mărci poștale, proiecte de monede și probe de bancnote din perioada statului național-legionar (septembrie 1940 - ianuarie 1941), Cercetări numismatice VIII, 2002 - Stamps, coin projects and banknote essays from the period of national-legionary state (September 1940 - January 1941), Numismatic Researches]

The 250 lei coins struck under Mihai differ by the inscriptions they have on the edge. The ones featuring NIHIL SINE DEO (NOTHING WITHOUT GOD in Latin) as well as the ones with TOTUL PENTRU TARA (meaning ALL FOR THE HOMELAND) that entered circulation were struck in 1941. As a second distinction besides the edge engraving, inscription 1941 on the value bearing face is not guarded by two wavy lines on the TOTUL PENTRU TARA coin and thusly unlike to the NIHIL SINE DEO variant (previous page).

The pictures of the incuse inscription (see above) show that three identical signs were used to separate the words. Clearly, the sign is the emblem of the Legionary Movement. The coins bearing this emblem on one side of theirs were melted. Why were these coins released to circulation? It is very hard to believe that nobody knew about the sign on the edge. In monograph Monede și bancnote românești the coin is described in full detail, but the sign on the edge is mistakenly considered to be a square. In the table with separating signs on the edge this ensign is missing completely.

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