Paper Money

NHL’s Jaromir Jagr gets special birthday note

The 50th birthday of Czech and NHL hockey legend Jaromir Jagr on Feb. 15 was celebrated with more than just cake.

As reported by numerous sports and Czech-oriented news sources, the Czech Republic’s official bank note printer, the State Printing Works of Securities, is printing 10,000 special non-legal tender notes featuring Jagr and paying tribute to what is known as the golden generation of Czech ice hockey of the 1990’s and early 2000’s.

The face of the note shows the head of Jagr wearing his hockey helmet and shirt, both with his number “68.” Jagr chose to wear this number for every team he played on as a patriotic gesture in honor of the “Prague Spring” reforms of 1968 and the failed uprising against the Russian and allied forces who invaded Czechoslovakia that August to crush it. He also wore it in memory of his grandfather, who died in prison that same year. He had been a staunch anti-communist whose lands were appropriated when the country was taken over in 1948.

Behind Jagr are the Czech lion and the Czech flag. The parts of the bank note that usually bear the denomination have the number 50.

On the back is a depiction the celebrations in Prague that welcomed home Jagr and the Czech ice hockey team after their most famous victory at the Winter Olympics in Nagano in 1998, where they shut out Russia 1-0 to win the gold medal. It also celebrates the “Golden Hat Trick” of 1999 to 2001, when the team won three World Championships in a row. Below the picture is the motto “Pride and honor is victory.”

The notes will be printed in May in four runs of 2,500 notes each. They were offered on the website www.50jagr.cz for 2,490 Czech Koruna each, or around $116.17 at current exchange rates, until sold out.

Regarding his being the subject of a note, Jagr told Radio Prague, “It looks lovely. It makes me look much better than what I look like right now; it’s probably from when I was around 35 and still had long hair.”

Other than the bank note, the hockey legend was not planning any other birthday celebrations, telling World News Today, “There are various collector’s cards for athletes, some of them also appear on stamps, they have their own commemorative coins, but having a banknote, which they last printed with a portrait of Václav Hlavl, is a real honor for me.” Laughing, he added, “I would just like to remind you that if it were a valid banknote, I would like to add three zeros to it.”

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