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500 lei 1982, 1983 - 2050 years since the creation of the centralized and independent Dacian state
500 lei 1983 - 2050 years since the creation of the centralized and independent Dacian state 500 lei 1983 - 2050 years since the creation of the centralized and independent Dacian state
23 mm diameter, 7.2 grams, gold 90%, copper 10%, proof quality, flat edge with three rhombi and three waving lines engraved
Obverse: denomination 500 LEI, year 1983, REPUBLICA SOCIALISTA ROMÂNIA, Romanian coat of arms and the coin's title beneath it: 900/1000 FINE GOLD
Reverse: fight scene between the Dacians and the Romans extracted from Trajan's Column in Rome inside linear circle / Along the edge:

Issuing date: 5th of October 1982

Mintage in 1982: 508 coins

Issuing date: 23rd of August 1983

Mintage in 1983: 346 coins

Information on this series of coins were very limited in Romania before year 2000. The main source of information on these anniversary coins is article "Rumäniens Sonderausgaben von 1982 und 1983" [Romania's Special Issues from 1882 and 1883] published by Dan Ilie in 2005 inside the German numismatic review "Geldgeschichtliche Nachrichten" [Monetary History News] [1]. This article is accesible to readers as well via a Romanian and English translation in [2], under the titles of "Emisiunile din aur și argint 1982 și 1983” and "Gold and Silver Issuances in 1982 and 1983" [sic].

History of the Issue [1]

According to [1], for the first time in 1968 the idea appeared, inside the national bank, to have anniversary coins issued and sold on the numismatic market abroad. In 1978 the idea was reconsidered. However, at the time the State Mint did not have the capacity to strike coins at "proof" quality as the standard expectation on the international numismatic market was. (After the issue of anniversary coins restarted in 1995, the State Mint managed at the begining to strike only "like-proof" finish coins; the first "proof" coin was struck only in 1998 - that is 100 lei 1998 - Football World Cup in France). Romania conceded to the Franklin private mint in Philadelphia (United States of America) the right to issue a series of anniversary coins. Romania was to receive 30 coins of each model, as well as 30% of sales. 1980 had been nominated as the year to celebrate 2050 years since the creation of the centralized and independent Dacian state under king Burebista and this festive event was deemed fit for the first Romanian after war anniversary coins. A legislative delay [1] occurred, so that the decree to authorize the coins issue was released as late as autumn 1981, resulting in the first coin essays to be struck as late as 1982. Also in 1982 the first coins appeared on the market, that is 100 and 500 lei. Officially, these coins were legal tender and as such they could be bought in Romania by those who could legally pay in foreign currency. According to [2], not even a single coin was sold in Romania for lack of interested buyers.

As Mr C.C. from Germany informed us, these coins were struck only on pre-order, for major US distributors and likely for some in the Western Europe.

The effigy of Burebista was created by artists Marcel Aciocoiței and Ion Octavian Penda. A contest had been organized ad hoc at the Institute of Plastic Arts "Nicolae Grigorescu" in Bucharest [1]. Reference [2] presents a letter, as received from the Franklin Mint by the author in 1983, in which the engraver who created the 100 and 500 lei 1982 is stated to be Clifford Schule (1918 - 2000), American artist who collaborated with the American mint.

According to the coin leaflets found on the internet, the 1982 coins were put on sale on October 5, 1982, and the 1983 coins on August 23, 1983. Apparently, the success of these coins was less than expected, so that following 1983 they were no longer issued.

Essays of the coins in this set exists, all seated in the collection of the National Bank of Romania [2]. The dies of year 1982 were defaced and then sent to National Bank, whereas the 1983 ones were destroyed [1].

About the Masses of This Issue

According to [1], [2] and [3], the 50 lei piece weighs 15 g overall, that is 13.88 g of pure silver. The 100 de lei has double mass, 30 g, entailing 27.75 g of pure silver. The gold pieces of 500 and 1000 lei weigh respectively 8 and 16 g, that is respectively 7.2 and 14.4 g of pure gold. The silver of the coins has the fineness of 92.5%, also known as "sterling silver”. Gold coins have the fineness of 90%.

The wording on the original certificates of the coins available on the internet reads "27.75 GRAMS 925/1000 SILVER" and "7.2 GRAMS 900/1000 FINE GOLD" for the pieces of 1982. For the 1983 pieces we find "50 LEI SOLID STERLING SILVER / 13.88 GRAMS", "100 LEI SOLID STERLING SILVER / 27.75 GRAMS", "500 LEI 900 FINE GOLD / 7.2 GRAMS", "1000 LEI 900 FINE GOLD / 14.4 GRAMS" and "14.4 GRAMS 900/1000 FINE GOLD". As one may interpret, the leaflets do not specify the alloy amount (including pure noble metal and alloying elements). However, before weighing a coin on an actual scale, it will not be certain if, for instance, the 500 lei weighs 7.2 grams of 90% pure gold (as written on leaflet) or 7.2 grams of pure gold alone, hence further amounting to a total of 8 grams that include the alloying elements, the latter being the value found in literature.

As a consequence, the masses explicitly inscribed on the coin leaflets were used in the description above and so not the values given in [1], [2] and [3].

About the Mintages of These Issues

According to [1], the contract with Franklin Mint stipulated that each coin be struck in a maximum mintage of 7500 pieces during each year of issue. 1000 pieces of each value were to be numbered on the edge and sold as coin sets. According to [3], the mintages of each coin is 7000 regular pieces plus 1000 edge numbered pieces. In [2] the mintages are mentioned as follows:

- 100 lei 1982 - 928 coins;

- 500 lei 1982 - 508 coins;

- 50 lei 1983 - 591 coins;

- 100 lei 1983 - 595 coins;

- 500 lei 1983 - 346 coins;

- 1000 lei 1983 - 342 coins.

[1] informs that 372 coins sets existed comprising the two coins issued in 1982. Out of the coins that were struck 180 (that is 30 out of the 6 variants struck overall in 1982 and 1983) were sent to Romania. The Franklin Mint kept a number of 88 pieces. Other 7 coins were lost in transport [1]. Internet images indicate that several packaging variants existed, sets included. The certificates of authenticity bear the signatures of Vasile Răuță, governor of the National Bank of the Socialist Republic of Romania and of Charles L. Andes, president of the Franklin Mint.

On the Franklin Mint in Philadelphia

Franklin Mint is a private company founded in 1964 in Wawa (Pennsylvania) by American entrepreneur Joseph Myron Segel (1931 – 2019). Along the years this mint produced, among others, anniversary coins and circulation coins for multiple countries, tokens as well. In the Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia English inside article on the American entrepreneur [4] it is stated that the Franklin Mint produced and sold items meant for collectors and delivered them through mail. Therefore, it is possible for at least some of the Romanian coins struck there to have been sold in this manner.

In [2] the Franklin Mint is erroneously described as Philadelphia Mint. The Mint in Philadelphia was founded in 1792 by president George Washington, being the first mint in the United States. Presently its coins bear the ensign PH.

Decree no. 344/1981 of State Council

Decree no. 344/1981 on the of gold and silver anniversary coin issue of the Socialist Republic of Romania was published in the Official Gazette no. 97 on November 30, 1981. The text of the decree is as follows:

"The State Council of the Socialist Republic of Romania decrees:

Through State Council Decree no. 344 on November 1981 the National Bank of the Socialist Republic of Romania was authorized to issue gold and silver coins for the anniversary of 2050 years since the creation of the centralized and independent Dacian state.

The gold coins will have the nominal values of 1000 lei and 500 lei, and the silver coins the nominal values of 100 lei and 50 lei.

The coins are legal tender on the territory of the Socialist Republic of Romania according to legal disposals.

The gold and silver anniversary coins will be sold on the international market. They can be bought, for numismatic purpose, on the territory of the Socialist Republic of Romania as well, by natural and juridical persons who legally own [strong foreign] currency."

This set includes the first Romanian gold coins minted after almost 40 years, since the Ardealul Nostru "medal-coin" of 1944.

The gold pieces of the set have at the left (heraldic positioning) of the coat of arms an interesting ensign that looks somewhat like stylized F - obviously standing for the issuing Fraklin mint. If we accept that the middle bar of the letter F is actually a stylized M, then the logo can be read F M, meaning Franklin Mint.

These four distinctive homage coins are not the only having Dacia and the Dacians as subject. In 2001 Romania struck a large gold coin of 1000 lei to mark 1900 years since the first war between the Romans and the Dacians started (101 -102 A.D.) in the times of king Decebal. Click here to see it.

The 2050 years since the creation of the centralized and independent Dacian state were also celebrated through philatelic issues. Here is one picturing its leader, great king Burebista.

The beginning of the leadership of king Burebista (also spelled Buerebista, pictured above) is placed in 70 B.C. Historian Strabo wrote "Buerebista, the Geta, assuming leadership of his people, raised these enraged in endless battles men and straightened them through abstinence and sobriety and command obedience so that, in a few years, he established a great mastership and submitted to the Getae almost all neighbours; moreover, he posed great threat to the Romans, because he crossed recklessly to anyone Danube and preyed Thrace over to Macedonia and Illyria, and the Celts that mingled with Thracians and Illyrians he wasted altogether and the Boi that pursued king Critasiros as well as the Teuriscs he wiped from the face of the earth". (Geta and Getae was another name for Dacian and Dacians.)

Burebista was considered by his contemporaries as "the first and the greatest among the kings in Thrace". He mastered "all counties from thither and hither of Danube", as an inscription in Greek found at Dionysopolis (today Balcic, Bulgaria) informs us.

During his reign the Dacian state reached its climax, being feared even by the Romans. Burebista waged many wars, all victorious. His state stretched from the Black Sea and river Bug over to nowadays Bohemia and from Haemus - Balkan Mountains over to the Woody Carpathians.

In 44 B.C. Burebista was murdered and his state divided among the conspirators. There is an opinion according to which one of those was Koson, the one striking the famous gold coins bearing his name.


1. Dan Ilie, Rumäniens Sonderausgaben von 1982 und 1983. GN - Geldgeschichtliche Nachrichten, an 40, Nr. 224, septembrie 2005.

2. Schäffer E., Stambuliu B., România. Proiecte, probe monetare și catalogul monedelor emise. Galeria numismatică. București, 2009.

3. Cuhaj G. (ed.), 2011 Standard Catalog of World Coins, 38th Edition. Krause Publications, 2010.

4. ***, Joseph Segel, Wikipedia, accesat octombrie 2023.

The silver coin pictures above are present on Romanian coins through the kind permission of an anonymous donor.