On February 4, Total Croatia News shared the official announcement by the Government and the Croatian National Bank (CNB) regarding the four winners of the Croatian euro coin design proposal competition. In a government session that day, it was confirmed that the 2 euro coin would feature the geographical map of Croatia; the 1 euro coin would feature the kuna, the symbolic animal of Croatia; the 50, 20, and 10 cent coins would feature Nikola Tesla; and that the 5, 2 and 1 cent coins would feature the Glagolitic alphabet.
Stjepan Pranjković with Boris Vujčić, Croatian National Bank Governor. (Photo: Igor Kralj/PIXSELL)
The four winners were present at a symbolic event after the session, where each one offered more details about the creative process behind their Croatian euro coin design proposal and also received a special gift from the Croatian National Bank. It is also known that each of the winners would receive a prize of 70,000 kunas.
Public reaction was mixed. While some applauded the designs, some others criticized them. Many, for example, considered that choosing the map of Croatia was a very simple and easy idea, and others also called Nikola Tesla’s coin part of political propaganda about the debate on its origins.
However, the biggest controversy would come the next day when suspicions began to spread on social networks about an alleged case of plagiarism. Some people found the design of the one-euro coin quite familiar, specifically because of the kuna animal layout. Thus, several users began to find little coincidence in the resemblance between the design of the coin and the image of the British wildlife photographer Iain H Leach of a pine marten, the name by which the animal is known in English.
Shortly after, they managed to make contact with Leach, who in turn expressed his ignorance of what happened and, in addition, criticized that his permission was not requested to use an image that in the end would win a prize of at least 9,300 euros. Some users even shared a screenshot in a public Facebook group called Bring Your Own Laptop Online, where Pranjković would have asked for help to transform the photo into editing software, by adding special lighting effects to give it a metallic look.
Finally, after several days of intense criticism, Telegram.hr reports that Pranjković sent a letter to the Croatian National Bank in order to withdraw his proposal and also apologize for the unpleasant atmosphere created by the controversy.
“It was a great honor for me to participate in the process of selecting the national side of the Croatian euro coin. However, motivated by the unpleasant atmosphere created in the media and social networks, as well as the pressures I was exposed to regarding my design of the reverse of the one euro coin with a kuna motif, I decided to withdraw my design proposal for this motif and waive any rights to on the basis of participation in the competition for the motif of a one-euro coin”, said Pranjković.
“I made this decision so as not to aggravate this situation or contribute to further possible uncertainties. I am sorry that there have been controversies regarding my work that could harm this important process for the Republic of Croatia. I did not intend to hurt anyone’s feelings, so I apologize to everyone, especially to the Croatian National Bank, the Government and the Croatian public “, concluded Pranjković.
The CNB’s Money Commission announces that it will hold an emergency session today and will comment on Pranjković’s letter. By the way, after the media suspected that Pranjković used someone else’s photo for his design, the CNB’s Commission reported yesterday that they had launched an urgent inspection of his design.
Speculation regarding the possible alternatives has been present on social networks, with some proposing that the original photographer be credited, that another design be used that also has the kuna as a motif, and others also propose that an entirely different motif be used. However, the outcome of the Croatian euro coin design proposal is uncertain pending the CNB investigation.
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