World Coins

Poland issues three coins to honor Pope John Paul II

The National Bank of Poland has issued three coins to celebrate the birth centennial of Pope John Paul II, including this 10-zloty coin with an application of color.

Image courtesy of the National Bank of Poland.

Poland’s favorite son, Pope John Paul II, is being honored with three new coins to mark the centennial of his birth.

Karol Józef Wojtyła, known to the world better as Pope John Paul II, was born May 18, 1920, in Wadowice. Those were particularly hard times in Polish history.

His youth was marked by World War II and the German occupation of the country.

He wrote: “I was spared a lot of suffering in this huge and terrible theatre of the Second World War. This is because any day I could have been snatched from the street, from the quarry or from the factory and transported to the camp. Sometimes I even asked myself, so many of my peers were killed, why not me? Today, I know it was not a coincidence.”

In 1946 Karol Wojtyła was ordained as a priest, in 1958 he was appointed bishop, in 1964  he became archbishop of Cracow, and in 1967 he was named a cardinal. On Oct. 16, 1978, he was elected to the See of Peter.

According to Rev. Professor Waldemar Chrostowski, the Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski University in Warsaw, writing for the National Bank of Poland, said, “The Pontificate of John Paul II was one of the longest and most prolific. In a crisis of values and moral confusion, he tirelessly taught that the shaken ethical, social and political order can only be restored by bringing together justice and forgiveness, which are pillars of true peace.”

Pope John Paul II died on April 2, 2005. On May 1, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI beatified him, and on 27 April 2014, Pope Francis, by the act of canonization, included him among the saints of the Catholic Church.

Three coins for the centennial

The National Bank of Poland has released three coins to mark the centennial of his birth: two Proof silver 10-zloty coins and a Proof gold 500-zloty coin.

All of the coins feature designs by Urszula Walerzak.

The first 10-zloty coin is struck from .925 fine silver and features an application of color. 

The obverse depicts a fragment of Jerzy Kossak’s painting “Miracle on the Vistula”, whereas the reverse shows Saint John Paul II and an image of the baptismal font in the Basilica of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Wadowice.

This coin weighs 14.14 grams and measures 32 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 16,000 pieces.

The second silver coin is struck in high relief from .999 fine silver. The obverse shows the façade of the Basilica of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Wadowice and the sundial located on the wall of the church in Wadowice with the inscription translating to “Time flies, eternity waits.” The reverse depicts Saint John Paul II with a pastoral staff.

This coin weighs 31.1 grams, measures 32 millimeters in diameter, and has a mintage limit of 12,000 pieces.

The 500-zloty coin is struck from .9999 fine gold. The obverse depicts a fragment of Jerzy Kossak’s painting Miracle on the Vistula, whereas the reverse shows Saint John Paul II praying at the baptismal font in the Basilica of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Wadowice.

The coin weighs 62.2 grams and measures 40 millimeters square. It has a mintage limited to 966 pieces.

There is no official distributor for these in the United States, so collectors will have to search the secondary market.

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