World Coins

Poland honors Krakow church anniversary with two new coins

Poland celebrates Saint Mary’s Basilica in Krakow with two new coins, including the circulating 5-zloty piece shown here.

Images courtesy of the National Bank of Poland

Poland commemorates the 700th anniversary of a famous church in Kraków with two new coins.

2020 marks the 700th anniversary of the consecration of the Gothic St. Mary’s Basilica in Kraków, and a circulating commemorative 5-zloty and a silver 50-zloty coin mark the event.

The history of the church goes back to the 1220s.

According to researcher Jan Długosz, the first parochial church was founded at the site in 1221 to 1222 by the Bishop of Kraków.

The bishop established the parish by transferring it from the Church of the Holy Trinity, allocated to the Dominican friars when they arrived in Kraków. That structure was destroyed during the Mongol invasion of Poland.

A new church, at the current site, was erected from 1290 to 1300, and consecrated in 1320, the anniversary now being honored.

Various iterations and renovations were achieved at the church over the intervening centuries, with additions of altarpieces (in 1487 to 1489) perhaps the most notable event, until extensive restoration of the temple in the late 19th century.

The most recent thorough renovation of the church interior was carried out at the turn of the 21st century.

Coin details

The circulating coin is a ringed-bimetallic piece, with a manganese ring and a copper-aluminum-nickel center.

The coin weighs 6.54 grams, measures 24 millimeters in diameter, and has a mintage up to 1.2 million pieces.

The obverse carries the standard Polish eagle design and the reverse shows the church’s two towers.

The Proof .999 fine silver 50-zloty coin weighs 62.2 grams, measures 45 millimeters in diameter, and has a mintage limit of 6,000 pieces.

The silver coin’s obverse features a portion of a presbytery window from the church in late-Gothic style floral patterns, with an inset of colorful stained glass representing imagery from the Veit Stoss Altarpiece and its predella (platform).

The reverse of the coin features an image of St. Mary’s Basilica in Kraków on the right and the colorful stained-glass window at the left.

There is no U.S.-based distributor for Polish coins, so interested collectors will have to search the secondary market to obtain examples.

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