Stolen Croatian Euro Coin Design? Kuna Image Copies British Photographer

Daniela Rogulj

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Earlier this week, the Croatian Government presented the winning designs for the new Croatian euro coins. Various motifs were chosen – the coat of arms (šahovnica), a map of Croatia, a kuna (marten), Nikola Tesla, and the Glagolitic alphabet.


The kuna design, however, has caused a bit of controversy. Namely, the kuna on the euro coin looks oddly familiar to a photograph of a kuna published on the Internet. It didn’t take long to cause a social media storm, reports


Many comments mostly point out the similarities between the kuna on the coin and the outline of the kuna in the photograph, primarily noticing the similar pose, the branch, but also smaller details, such as the position of the tail or the white color found on the animal’s neck.

“Are you contacting me about stealing my photo?” contacted the author of the photograph, Iain H Leach, who has only briefly answered with a counter-question.

“Are you contacting me about the new coin stealing my photo?” said Leach. Judging by his statement, he did not seem to be aware that anyone was using his photograph for these purposes, and no one asked him for permission.

Leach also joined the discussion on Twitter.


“I hope the author of the Croatian euro coin design contacted you and paid you for the rights to the photo because the coin looks the same as your photo,” one person wrote on Twitter, and he responded quickly. “Thanks for letting me know. Not sure what I can do, maybe they’ll send me a free coin,” Leach said. Twitter users soon began advising him to file a lawsuit.

This photo can be found in the photographer’s kuna gallery on his website and around the Internet. This photograph is also provided by Google if “pine marten side view” is entered in the search engine. Pine marten is the English name for the kuna. 

The author of the design received HRK 70,000

Recall, the motif of the kuna will be on the 1 euro coin, and next to it will be the word “Croatia,” and the year they introduced the euro – 2023. The author of the best design for this coin is Stjepan Pranjković, Master of Applied Arts.

Pranjković received HRK 70,000 for his winning design. His other two solutions won second place, receiving HRK 35,000. In total, he received HRK 140,000. has sent a message to Pranjković through social media, but he has yet to answer. Should he reply, Index will publish the response. 

There are also posts on the Internet in which Pranjković asked for help in a group on Facebook on how to process a photo for a coin.

Screenshot_2022-02-06_at_09.15.30.png also contacted the Government to comment on this potentially embarrassing situation, but they have not yet responded.

By the way, 295 design proposals were accepted for the kuna coin. The Croatian Commission for the Selection of Artistic Design Proposals selected the nine most successful proposals and submitted them to the CNB. Finally, in the second round of the tender, the CNB’s Money Commission selected the three most successful design proposals.

How the design is explained on the CNB’s website

The CNB published a document in which they explained the awarded works. Among them, they explained the motif of the kuna that will adorn the 1 euro coin, which is identical to the British photographer’s image.

“The author of the award-winning work decided on a realistic depiction of the kuna animal. He very successfully graphically highlighted the figure of the kuna using a different surface texture, which contributed to the realistic depiction.

The author skillfully used the relationship between the given elements, so he uses straight and sharp chessboard lines as a frame of motifs and contrasts them with wavy lines in depicting the marten animal and the branch on which it stands. The position of the obligatory elements, which are placed along the edge of the inner part of the coin, additionally frames the motif and emphasizes its position,” explains the CNB.

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