National Bank of Poland’s new 20-zloty bank note commemorates event honoring religious icon

Note celebrates 300th anniversary of the coronation of the Icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 08/25/17
Text Size

A 20-zloty bank note commemorating the 300th anniversary of the coronation of the Icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa was issued by the National Bank of Poland (Narodowy Bank Polski) on Aug. 21. Its issue price was 60 złotych with a printing limit of 55,000 notes. The note measures 150 by 77 millimeters, was designed by Justyna Kopecka, and was printed by the Polish Security Printing Works.

The Virgin Mary has long has a special status with the Polish people, so much so that both Polish rulers and commoners prayed before her legendary icon, a 4-foot-high painting in the Jasna Góra Monastery in Czestochowa. In 1655, during the long war with Sweden, the icon was said to have changed the course of the conflict, when, for 40 days, the monastery’s 70 monks and 180 volunteers defended Jasna Góra from an army of 4,000 Swedes.

On April 1, 1656, King John Casimir swore an oath to Mary in a ceremony in the Lvov cathedral. He put his kingdom under her protection and declared her Queen of the Polish Crown. The Swedes were defeated the next year, as were their Russian allies in 1661.


1808-quarter-eagle-1793-chain-cent-leadDesign failures, desirable rarities, or both: Inside Coin World Other topics include how to value unique collectibles, and an outline of the history of what "paper money" is printed on, from mulberry bark to plastics.


The Lvov Oath was followed by the coronation of the icon, also known as The Black Madonna of Częstochowa, on September 8, 1717. It was the first coronation of a Holy Virgin painting in Poland and the first Papal coronation of any painting of Mary outside Italy. The crowns (stolen in 1909), were given by Pope Clement XI. The picture was crowned on behalf of the pope by Bishop Szembek and the Pauline monks, with almost 200,000 pilgrims in attendance. 

The note’s face shows the crowns given by the pope. The crown of the Virgin Mary, topped by stars, is positioned above Jesus’ crown. Both are supported by pairs of angels. A Marian monogram in a see-through register under the crown of Jesus is one of the security features. The watermark is the coat of arms of the Pauline Fathers — a raven with bread in its beak over two lions supporting a palm tree.

The back has a drawing first published in Rome in 1717 that shows the coronation event. To the left of it is a drawing of the Jasna Góra Monastery. A floral motif from the icon’s frame is on the right side above the watermark.

Connect with Coin World:  

Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

This is Poland’s ninth collectible bank note. The first was issued in 2006 to commemorate Pope John Paul II of Poland.

You are signed in as:null
No comments yet