On January 1, 2023, Croatia will introduce the euro. To mark the occasion, the Croatian Mint came up with something very special for the last kuna commemorative issue: it will set a new record for the world’s smallest coin. The record coin is only available in a set, together with a commemorative issue for the Višnjan Observatory.
Swissmint just got its Guinness World Record entry as the manufacturer of the world’s smallest coin – and is already about to lose this title. The Croatian Mint shows off its skill by undercutting the Swiss record: with a weight of 0.05g and a diameter of 1.99mm, a Croatian issue is now the world’s smallest coin. The theme of the issue is more than fitting: the piece is dedicated to the world’s smallest city called Hum. It has a face value of one kuna.
The new record coin is both lighter and of a smaller diameter than the 2020 1/4 Swiss franc on Albert Einstein with a weight of 0.063g and a diameter of 2.96mm. The 1-kuna Hum coin also undercuts the Swiss mintage figure of 999 specimens. Only 199 pieces will be issued of the new “smallest” coin, which will exclusively be offered in a set with the 1000-kuna coin on the Višnjan Observatory.
The Smallest Coin for the Smallest City
The world’s new smallest coin has a wonderful topic: the world’s smallest city. This city is called Hum; Colmo in Italian, and Cholm in German. It is located on a hilltop in Istria. Its population consists of about two dozen inhabitants, perhaps a little more, perhaps a little less – even today people are born and die in Hum, which is why the number is constantly changing.
Despite its small population, Hum has the right to call itself a city, because it has everything that made for a city in the past: a city wall, a self-elected government, and its own laws.
Hum’s history dates back to the 11th century AD, when Count Ulric I, Margrave of Carniola and Istria, fortified the southern border of his territory with small castles. One of them was called Cholm. In 1102, it came under the control of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. The latter lost all its territories, including Hum, during the Venetian conquest in 1420. Hum then belonged to the Venetian maritime empire until it was dissolved by Napoleon in 1797. The 1815 Congress of Vienna put Istria, and with it Hum, under Austrian rule for one century. Then it became part of Italy, Yugoslavia, and today Croatia – an eventful history for such a small city.
Today, Hum and its completely preserved city walls are a favorite tourist destination. They love to stroll through the two streets and visit all the historical buildings that tell the rich history of the world’s smallest city.
The obverse depicts the world’s smallest city Hum from a bird’s eye view, above HUM 2022, below NAJMANJI GRAD NA SVIJETU (= the world’s smallest city). The coin’s reverse shows the head of an Istrian cattle with the long horns that are typical of this species. Above 1 KUNA and the Croatian coat of arms, below the word Hum in Glagolitic script.
The coin design was created by Ana Divković.
The Višnjan Observatory
The Višnjan Observatory, which is currently one of the most renowned institutions of its kind in the world, demonstrates how much of a difference a single person who lives their enthusiasm can still make today. The last 1000-kuna commemorative coin of Croatia of 2022 is dedicated to the institution.
The observatory was founded on November 13, 1992 by the Amateur Astronomical Society of Višnjan. The project was initiated by the Croatian teacher Korado Korlević. From the private observatory, amateur astronomers discovered an impressive 1,749 asteroids between 1995 and 2001! This makes Višnjan one of the world’s top five observatories when it comes to detecting near-Earth objects. The observation of near-Earth space is of utmost importance, especially because this is where asteroids are located that can be dangerous to our planet.
Besides the high number of discoveries, Višnjan takes special pride in the fact that many pupils visit the observatory every year and learn with a mentor how to observe the stars at night.
Unfortunately, light pollution in Višnjan got so bad around the turn of the millennium that the astronomers had to relocate. Their new observatory is located further inland on a hill near the small village of Tičan.
The obverse shows the old Višnjan Observatory under a starry sky, one part of the image is designed as a glance through a telescope; on the edge of the circular section the legend ZVJEZDARNICA VIŠNJAN (= Višnjan Observatory) and the technically accurate position 45º 17′ 26,9″ N 13º 44′ 56,6″ E. The reverse features an Istrian cattle with the long horns that are typical of this species, above, view of the Višnjan municipality, below a wall with the Croatian coat of arms. Above REPUBLIKA HRVATSKA VIŠNJAN.
The coin design was created by Nikola Vudrag.
Only Available as a Set
Both coins are only available as a set. The packaging was created by the Croatian design studio Izvorka Jurić. The gold coins are in a box that uses LED lights to recreate a night sky on which the two coins shine. The box contains a magnifying glass, which is much needed to properly admire the world’s smallest coin.
Since December 5, 2022, the coins can be purchased from the shop of the Croatian Mint at croatianmint.hr/en/trgovina. The price for the set is 22,906.93 kuna / 3,040.27 euros (about $3,185 USD; price subject to change).