Banknotes in Autonomous Region of Korça 

On 25 January 1917, the Albanian administration of the Autonomous Region of Korça, issued (conform to the decision of the Council of the Autonomous Republic of Korça, January 1917) Albanian banknotes and coins to meet the market needs. They were to replace foreign banknotes, especially the Greek drachmas, which were introduced by the preceding Greek administration. In the absence of a bank, printing of banknotes and minting of coins were managed by the Finance Department in Korça, one of the main departments in the autonomous region’s administration”.

The banknote was called frang, after the French franc, the basic monetary unit in the Republic of France. The Korça frang was not covered by reserves in gold, but by financial revenues originating from direct and indirect taxes, postal stamps, licences and permits, etc. The first banknotes were printed on 17 March 1917 at the printing house of Arqimidh Evangjeli in Korça. On the one side, the 1-frangë denomination featured the description “Shqipërië Vetqeveritare” (self-governing Albania) together with the double-headed eagle. On the other side, it featured stylised decorations and the nominal value written in Albanian “1 frangë” and in French “Un franc”. Fifteen thousand 1-frangë banknotes were printed.  The same design featured on the 10 thousand half-frangë banknotes that were printed. For this issue as well, 10 thousand banknotes for each denomination were put in circulation. The third issue, with two denominations, dating 10 October 1917, differed from the first two issues because of the change in the status of the region. It bared the description “Republika Shqiptare” (The Albanian Republic), whereas symbols and decorations were the same as in the first two issues. Of this issue, 5000 one-frangë and 9000 half-frangë banknotes were put in circulation.


Four issues were put in circulation in 1918 (February, November, 1 December and 10 December), having another description. The description, however, was neither “Shqipërië Vetëqeveritare” (Self-governing Albania” nor “Republika Shqiptare” (Albanian Republic), but simply “Korça”. The change took place after that the French military authorities had abrogated the agreement of 10 December 1916 that recognised the autonomy of the region of Korça. Now Korça had only a local administration under the French military authority. The new banknote did not bear the double-headed eagle. Both denominations featured on one side the city’s panorama, a church and a mosque, and the name of the city; the reverse featured decorations.










* Above, collage of denominations 1/2 and 1 Frang, and a picture of Themistokli Gërmenjit with French officers in the Autonomous Region of Korça. Taken from the photos fund available at the General Directory of Archives. Below, French banknote, issued by the Finances Directory of the Autonomous Region of Korça, in 1917-1918.


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