World Coins

Poland honors historic currency with 20-zloty coin

Poland celebrates the half-grosz issued under King Ladislas Jagiello during the early 15th century on a 2015 silver 20 zloty coin.

Image courtesy of the National Bank of Poland.

Poland’s latest collector coin highlights a historic coin from the 15th century.

The National Bank of Poland on Dec. 3 issued the eighth coin in a series depicting classic currency.

The Proof .925 fine 20-zloty coin recalls the half-grosz issued under Ladislas Jagiello (1386 to 1434).

Jagiello was not a great reformer of money in Poland, according to the National Bank of Poland. However, he made significant adaptations to the system introduced by Casimir the Great. Jagiello stopped striking the largest unit, the grosz (groat), and made the basis of the system the half-grosz, known originally as the large kwartnik.

He also struck small kwartniks, which had the value of a quarter of a grosz and were also called trzeciaks (or ternars). The low value denarius was the most common coin, but it no longer contained much silver.

This system based on the half-grosz lasted in Poland for a whole century, and so the historic half-grosz was chosen for representation on this collector coin. 

A crown appears on the half-grosz obverse. An inscription along the half-grosz rim, +MONE*WLADISLAI, continues on the reverse, +REGIS*POLONIE, and together translates to “coin of Ladislas King of Poland.”

The Mint marks were placed under the crown to signify the name of the mint masters who ran the mint in Kraków. In this case the letter N is the initial of the name Nicolaus or Mikolaj Bochner. 

Additional motifs of the 2015 coin are borrowed from the tombstone of Ladislas Jagiello in Wawel Cathedral.

On the obverse, next to the obverse of the half-grosz with the crown, there is a portrait of the king wearing a crown. 

On the reverse, the eagle of the half-grosz correlates well with the eagle represented on the shield of the king’s tombstone.

The 20-zloty coin weighs 28.28 grams and measures 38.61 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 20,000 pieces. 

This coin, the eighth in the series, closes the two first parts of the series History of Polish Coin. The first coin in the third part of the series is due for release in June 2016, celebrating the gold ducat of Sigismund the Elder. 

Collectors interested in this coin will have to search the secondary market. 

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