The Polish central bank, Narodowy Bank Polski, is issuing a legal
tender commemorative 20-zloty note on April 12 for the 1,050th
anniversary of the Baptism of Poland. The event is considered one of
the seminal ones in the nation’s history.
The baptism in 966 of the pagan ruler at the time, Prince Mieszko I,
is considered by Poles to mark the creation of the Polish state. By
receiving baptism Mieszko established Poland’s place as a member of
Christian Europe. He protected it from forced Christianization and
unified the state. The Catholic Church calls the event more than the
baptism of a man, but also of the nation, in that Poland became part
of a new world with new cultures, institutions and laws that affected
all aspects of life — political, economic and cultural.
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The face of the note has side by side busts of Mieszko I and his
wife, the Czech princess Dobrawa, whom he married in 965. It is based
on drawings in the National Museum in Wroclaw.
The back shows images of the Gniezno Cathedral and the chalice from
Trzemeszno. The temple was first built by Mieszko and became the
coronation site for a number of Polish kings. The chalice, dating to
the 10th century, is considered one of Poland’s most precious
liturgical objects. The 144- by 77-millimeter note has the full range
of contemporary security devices: watermarks, microprinting, hologram,
see-through register, embossing for the visually impaired, ultraviolet
visible images and a security thread.
The designer is Krystian Michalczuk, who also engraved it along with
Przemysław Krajewski. The issue limit is 35,000 pieces.