Paper Money

Poland to issue note commemorating historic baptism

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 Przemyslaw Krajewski. The issue limit is 35,000 pieces.

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