Croatia scraps euro coin design over plagiarism controversy

Croatia’s national bank announced a new tender for the country’s one-euro coin design after a plagiarism scandal led to the withdrawal of an earlier submission.

Croatia is preparing to adopt the euro currency in 2023 and last week unveiled the winners of a contest whose designs were set to be struck into the Balkan country’s new coins.

The controversy centred around a logo featuring a marten standing on a branch that was strikingly similar to a picture taken by British photographer Iain H Leach, drawing accusations of plagiarism.

The image was intended as an ode to Croatia’s current currency the kuna – which derives its name from a weasel-like carnivore whose fur was used as currency in the middle ages.

After the uproar, the contest’s winner withdrew his proposed design on Monday, citing an “unpleasant atmosphere created in media and on social networks”.

Horas después, Croatia’s national bank said it would issue a fresh call for new designs in the coming days.

Leach hailed the designer’s decision to withdraw his submission.

“I’m not intending to sue anyone. A right decision was made and for me this is the end of the story,” he told a Croatian broadcaster.

The other winning designs included coins featuring the map of Croatia, the renowned inventor Nikola Tesla, and the Glagolitic script – the oldest known Slavic alphabet.

Out of the 27 EU member states, 19 are now using the euro as their currency.

A Eurobarometer survey in 2021 showed that 61% of Croatians support the switch to the euro, despite fears that the adoption of the currency may lead to inflation.

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