Poland: Design series of 1995

Started by <k>, January 01, 2013, 10:21:08 PM

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<k>

In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the USSR, and within a few years the winds of change were blowing through Central and Eastern Europe. If Hitler started World War 2, it could be said that Gorbachev ended it, as the hectic year of 1989 saw the post-war communist regimes collapse one after another, climaxing with the shooting of Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife by firing squad on Xmas day. Throughout 1990 and 1991 the great political changes continued, ending with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The first half of the 1990s were a gift to numismatists, as the new republics gradually issued their independence coinages, with new designs. Though Poland had become democratic in December 1990, when Solidarity's Lech Walensa assumed the presidency, we had to wait until 1995 to see Poland's new coinage. Apparently it had been in production since 1990, and some of the new coins bore that date, but its release had been delayed until 1995, to coincide with the redenomination of the zloty.

Some of the new republics had produced bold new designs for their coins. What were Poland's like? Well, the Poles had retained their splendid eagle on the obverse of all the coins, simply adding a crown to its head, despite the fact that Poland remained a republic, albeit no longer a "people's republic".
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<k>

The reverses of the coins were delicately decorated with foliage – a rather disappointing choice, given the stirring and tumultuous events of Poland's recent history, and one that gave the new coins rather an old-fashioned look. To add interest to the rather dull theme, the designers had used the old trick of relating the design to the denomination. Here on the 1, 2, and 5 grozy coins you see one, two and five oak leaves.
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<k>

The 10, 20 and 50 groszy, along with the 1 zloty, also showed leaves, but overlaid on one another this time, forming a pattern. Perhaps you could imagine there were ten, twenty and fifty and one hundred leaves respectively, but since the leaves merge into one another, it  is hard to discern any distinct number. If you start something, you should finish it properly, I feel, but at this point the unity of the designs seems to falter.
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<k>

The design theme picks up again when you see that the 2 and 5 zloty depict two and five stylised leaves respectively. However, shouldn't this mean that the 1 zloty coin should sport only a single leaf, rather than a wreath? So once again the unity of the theme falters. I felt rather cheated that I had waited so many years to see Poland's new designs, when they seemed stylistically very timid and, in concept and execution, poorly thought out and a let-down.
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<k>

This design series still circulates in Poland, but apparently the country's politicians want to join the euro. While it would be sad to see the Polish economy eaten up and torn apart inside the black hole of the euro zone, at least they could hardly get any worse designs than those they already have. There is talk of putting the Polish eagle, Pope John Paul II and the Solidarity logo on any potential euro coins. Perhaps a kinder solution would be simply to partition Poland and share it out between Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Germany.
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chrisild

Quote from: <k> on January 01, 2013, 10:21:08 PM
Well, the Poles had retained their splendid eagle on the obverse of all the coins, simply adding a crown to its head, despite the fact that Poland remained a republic, albeit no longer a "people's republic".

Looks somewhat strange indeed, but until WW2 the eagle of the Polish Republic had a crown too. So it made some sense to add it again ... The first coins with that "new" eagle were actually issued in 1990, a 50 zł and a 100 zł coin which were added to the existing range of denominations.

As for all that anti-euro vitriol in your last post, oh well. As long as the UK stays out, instead of once again joining some union where it only acts like a Trojan Horse, I'm happy. 8) Not that I care much about which country might join the currency union at what time, but I don't think Poland is waiting in line. See Figleaf's comment here ...

Christian

chrisild

Yep, those were the additional pieces. So for a few years they used coins which had the "old eagle" and the old country name (People's Republic), and those new denominations, with the crowned eagle and the new country name (Republic). Guess that, since the emblem change was not a radical one, the Polish government did not bother in the few years between the introduction of the new name/CoA and the redenomination. :)

Agreed about the "break" as far as the designs are concerned. Another thing that I find strange is that the regular 2 zł coin (which I find interesting) is so different, in terms of size and composition, from the 2 zł commems that can be had at face ...

Christian


<k>

Here you see the coins all together. There is still no higher denomination than the 5 zloty coin.

And still this republic shows a crowned eagle on its coins, even though only monarchies have crowns.
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chrisild

Quote from: <k> on July 21, 2021, 05:47:46 PM
And still this republic shows a crowned eagle on its coins, even though only monarchies have crowns.

Basically right, except that mural crowns have been used by some "non-monarchies" too. ;)

But I agree, the Polish eagle does not have a mural crown. My explanation, which may not be "complete", is that in 1990 the government wanted to reintroduce the very same eagle that had, with minor design changes, been in use between 1919 and and 1955 (except for the nazi occupation years of course). And that Polish Republic did use a crowned eagle!

Between the mid-1950s and the end of the People's Republic in 1990, the Polish eagle had no crown. Now the communist regime could have done what pretty much every other Eastern Bloc regime did – use some totally different CoA, or maybe replace the crown by a star. In such a case, introducing a "crown-less" and also star-less" eagle might have been an option. But that had not happened, and thus ... 8)

Christian

<k>

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MCz

I'm Polish so I will write something in this topic.

The coat of arms of Poland is a white, crowned eagle with a golden beak and talons, on a red background. The white eagle with crown was our cost of arms since 800 years with two breaks: in XIX century Russia-depended country called "Polish Kingdom" has Russian Black eagle and during the comunist era 1944-1990 we have the white eagle without crown... So in February 1990 we change back to the Coat of arms from before WWII with crown.
Could be right that crowns are used only by monarchies but this was always the element of our coat od arms except of periods that we prefer forgot, I guess.

For the current series of circulation coins: the series was issued in 1995 when we denominized currrency (old Polish Zloty was replaced by Polish New złoty -> 10.000 PLZ = 1 PLN) however production of coins started already in 1990.
The Polish law is that the date on coin can be only the year of real production of coins so no case that 2022 coins are avaliable already in October 2021 like in Australia or UK.

The coins were modified three times, in 2014 (1,2,5 gr), in 2017 (1-50gr and 1zl) and in 2020 (10-50 gr and 1zl). Details here:
https://www.nbp.pl/homen.aspx?f=/en/banknoty/monety.htm



<k>

Thank you for bringing the topic up to date.

I still think that a republic should not show a crown on its coat of arms.

The designs are not at all exciting - unlike the marvellous Polish collector coins. However, I am English, and our UK circulation designs are not all exciting either.  :-[
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MCz

Yes, it's true. Design is not exciting at all.

Figleaf

In heraldics, crowns are not reserved for royalty and other feudals (cities and popes can have crowns) and objects, even if they once were symbolic or relevant may continue to be used after their symbolic value is lost. Many cities once surrounded by woods have a jumping deer or tree in their arms, protestant cities have saints and cities with a silted port may have a ship in their arms. A particularly example with crowns is the city of Amsterdam. In 1489, the Austrian emperor Maximilian visited Amsterdam (the two disliked each other) and gave Amsterdam the right to deck its arms with an imperial crown. Max is long dead, his empire is gone, his crown is in a museum but the arms of Amsterdam are still decked with the crown.

On the Polish coins, the objective is symbolic. By reverting to the pre-Soviet heraldry, the country signals that what happened during the Soviet domination was an aberration and it doesn't count. Whether it's the Warsaw uprising, Katyn woods, UB/SB right through Jaruzelski, they have reason enough to act this way and it should be respected.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.