Polish Coin

The Polish coin, or currency as you like to call it, is currently the Polish zloty also known at home as the Polski zloty. “Zloty”, in fact, stands for “golden” as it indicates the value and preciousness of this object which is nowadays the current currency in Poland.

Polish coins
Polish coins

Introduction to Polish coins

As with many other European and non-European currencies, the zloty is divided into cents which allows a better management of the overall value of the currency.

Specifically the cents are defined “groszy” and have roughly the same value as the Euro cents. 100 groszy in fact are equivalent to 1 zloty often indicated with the acronym ZL, surely of much simpler and more immediate interpretation.

As far as groszy coins are concerned, there are currently several coin denominations available “on the market”.

For example, there are coins of 1 groszy, 2 groszy, 5 groszy, 10 groszy, 20 groszy and 50 groszy. As far as zlotys are concerned, there are 1 zloty, 2 zlote and 5 zlotych coins.

In addition to these, of course, there are also banknotes equivalent to 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 zloty.

As you can see the cuts are very similar to those of the european currency, being practically identical and presenting, as said, good or bad the same value.

Specific features of Polish Coin

After having analyzed in a general way what are the various denominations and names of Polish coins it is good to go and see specifically those that are characteristics and peculiarities that the current Polish currency presents.

Both in terms of size, weight and materials, in fact, the different Polish coins differ a lot from each other and present a completely different appearance.

Specific features of Polish Coin Groszy
Polish coin Grosz

1 grosz Polish coin

For example, the 1 grosz coin has a very solid structure made of steel and bronze. In this case we are talking about a very light coin with a weight of 1.64 grams and a diameter of 15.5 millimeters.

2 grosz Polish coin

The 2 grosz coin is instead slightly larger as to indicate the higher value it has. In this case in fact this Polish coin, also composed of bronze and steel, has a diameter of 17.5 mm and a weight of 2.13 grams.

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5 grosz Polish coin

Also the 5 grosz coin is made of bronze and steel and therefore looks very similar to other coins in poland. However, it must be said that what varies, once again, is weight and diameter. The first is in fact equal to 2.59 grams while the second is 19.5 mm.

10 grosz Polish coin

Things definitely start to change when you approach slightly higher cuts. Already starting with the 10 grosz coin in fact, the characteristics presented start to be different. The first thing that immediately catches your eye is the material used for this Polish coin. This coin in fact is made of cupronikel a material with very special and specific characteristics. The weight is 2.51 grams while the diameter is 16.5 mm.

20 grosz Polish coin

The 20 grosz coin appears slightly larger and more massive than the previous ones. Also in this case the material used for the realization is the cupronikel and the coin has a weight of 3.22 grams and a diameter of 18.5 mm.

50 grosz Polish coin

Finally as far as the groszy we have the 50 grosz coin. It too is made entirely of cupronikel and has dimensions that vary quite a bit compared to the others. In particular the weight is 3.94 grams while the diameter reaches 20.5 mm.

Now you can finally move on to the zlotys.

Specific features of Polish Coin
Some Polish Zloty Coins

These are the major coins that are no longer part of the “cents class” but can be counted among the category of the main Polish coins.

1 Zloty Polish coin

The 1 zloty coin is made of cupronikel and has a weight of 5 grams net with a diameter of 23 mm round.

2 Zloty Polish coin

As for the 2 zloty coin we are talking about a type of coin made of bimetal. This means that for its realization were used two metals melted together. Specifically we are talking about the cupronikel for what concerns the inner part, while the outside is made with an alloy that also includes bronze. The weight is 5.21 grams while the diameter is 21.5 millimeters.

5 Zloty Polish coin

Finally there is the 5 zloty coin which is the one with the highest nominal value. In this case we speak of a coin made once again in bimetal but with the colors (and therefore also the metals) totally reversed. The inside is in fact composed of an alloy which also includes bronze which gives a golden color while the outside is in cupronikel which gives a silver color to the coin. As far as the specifications are concerned, these coins weigh 6.54 grams and have a diameter of 24 millimeters.

A little curiosity about the 5 zloty Polish coin: at first glance it may remind the Italian 500 Lira bimetallic coin or be mistaken for a 2 euro coin.

History of Polish Currency

As said, the zloty is the traditional Polish coin and currency which over the years has witnessed a rather troubled history. As for all nations, in fact, there were many changes before the currency became the official one and recognized by all.

The zloty actually dates back to the Middle Ages in the period between the 14th and 15th century.

At that time the term zloty was used for practically any foreign gold currency used in Poland, in particular German and Romanian dukedoms. However, as it is clear, Poland did not have a real identity towards the currency and the situation was still too chaotic and confusing from this point of view.

It was precisely for this reason that in 1496 the Parliament finally approved the creation of a national currency, the value of which was placed at 30 groshen of Prague, later changed into grosz.

History of Polish Currency Zloty 1831
Polish Coin Zloty 1831

However, the zloty was not the only currency used in Poland and the name was used to define the 30 groszy coin called Polish gold (polski zloty) as opposed to Russian laurel (czerwony zloty) or Rhine gold (zloty renski) also in circulation in Poland at that time.

Following the monetary reform of King Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the zloty became the official currency of Poland and the exchange rate of 1 ZL per 30 grams was confirmed.

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From the Duchy of Warsaw until 1924

The zloty remained in circulation even after the Polish divisions. At that time the then Duchy of Warsaw began to issue grosz, zloty and talar coins, which was the equivalent and had the value of 6 zlotys. In addition, thaler coins were also issued in that period.

From the Duchy of Warsaw until 1924 Talar Coin
Polish coin Talar Duchy of Warsaw

The Warsaw Mint minted zloty coins until 1841. In that year a fixed exchange rate between Polish and Russian currencies was established. Specifically 0.15 rubles for 1 zloty.

However, the Polish monetary system was totally banned by the Russians after the failed revolt in January.

Polish coins remained in circulation until the beginning of the 20th century, when the Republic of Krakow began printing the Krakow zloty.

In 1917, however, it was replaced by the Polish Mark.

From 1924 to the end of the Second World War

The zloty was reintroduced as national currency by Wladyslaw Grabski in 1924 during the Second Republic of Poland. All this in the period that followed the monetary chaos generated by the First World War. This last Polish currency definitively replaced the Polish Mark at the exchange rate of 1 zloty / 1,800,000 Marks.

Polish Coin 1 Zloty 1925
Polish Coin 1 Zloty 1925

On December 15, 1939 the new Emisyjni Bank was founded by the General Governorate established by Nazi Germany.

Poland at that time was completely under German rule which also and above all regulated the production and exchange of currency in the country. In May 1940 the old banknotes of the period 1924-1939 were reprinted and a policy of control against the exchange of money from person to person was implemented.

The General Governorate also minted new coins very similar to those of the previous period but using less noble metals.

Polish coin from 1950 onwards

In 1950 a completely new zloty was introduced which replaced the old currencies at the exchange rate of 1 new zloty for 100 old zlotys.

Polish Coins 1 Zotly 1949
Polish Coins 1 Zotly 1949

The year of production and the date of the banknotes was 1948 while for the coins it was 1949.

The initial denominations for the coins were 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 groszy and 1 zloty followed by 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 zlotych. For banknotes, however, the denominations were 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 zlotych to which were added 200 and 2,000 zlotych in the seventies, 5,000 zlotych in 1982 and in the eighties and nineties those of 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000, 500,000, 1,000,000 and 2,000,000 zloty.

On January 1, 1995 a new currency called New Polish Zloty was officially introduced. The devaluation led to the exchange rate of 10,000 Polish Zloty for 1 New Polish Zloty.

Poland and the Euro

One question that comes naturally after analyzing the specific characteristics and history of the Polish currency is whether the Euro is actually present in Poland and if not why.

Let us start by saying that Poland is officially a member of the European Union since January 1st 2004. Despite this, however, the currency that it continues to keep is, as we have seen, the zloty as it is still considered a national currency / banknote.

But why?

The reasons behind this decision are to be found in purely political matters.

The Constitution of Poland in fact, according to its laws, would effectively block what is the spread of the new single currency, the Euro. In order for Poland to start using the single currency it would be necessary to make changes to the Constitution.

Of course, it is easy to understand that a process of this magnitude requires a really important technical time which has led Poland to use its currency again today.

This issue has often been the subject of discussion and, at present, is not aware of new information about the progress of the procedures. What is certain is that Poland has stated that it cannot introduce the Euro before 2019 and it is not even certain that after that date the single currency can actually be put into circulation.

Particulars and Rare Coins of Poland

Approaching Numismatics, it is also good to go and analyze what can be the value of various types of Polish coins over the years.

Before taking what has been said as absolute truth it is necessary to underline that the value of a coin varies in a particular way also according to its State of Conservation.

This differs between coins in the state of Brilliant Uncirculated, that is to say, those practically perfect up to those of inferior quality. Therefore before evaluating a coin it is good to make an analysis to an expert in Numismatics that can attest the actual state of conservation.

That said, let’s look at some of the rare Polish coins:

2 Zlote 1933

In this case we are talking about a Polish 2 Zlote coin dating back to 1933 made entirely in silver.

The obverse represents Hedwig of Poland also known as “Jadiwga” in his mother tongue. On the reverse side you can see the year of minting and the value of the coin together with the symbol of the Republic.

2 Zlote 1933 rare coin poland
2 Zlote 1933

The current value of this coin from Poland is around €8.

5 Zlotych 1933

Another coin minted in poland in 1933 as the writing on the reverse clearly indicates. In this case, however, we speak of a 5 Zlotych coin also made entirely of silver. Also in this case the obverse represents Hedwig of Poland and the reverse is the symbol of the Republic.

A 5 Zlotych 1933 rare 
coin from Poland
A 5 Zlotych 1933 coin from Poland

The value of this coin is €10.

5 Zlotych 1934

We are talking about a coin worth 5 Zlotych minted this time in 1934. The appearance is practically identical to the previous one even if on the back you can clearly see the year of minting, the value of the coin and the symbol of the Republic.

Looking at the obverse side clearly shows Hedwig of Poland crowned by a golden aura. The value of this coin is €15.

10 Zlotych 1936

In this case the reference piece is a 10 Zlotych coin made in 1936. The coin is made entirely of silver and on the obverse depicts the profile face of Jozef Pilsudski, leader of the Polish armed forces in the Second Republic of Poland.

10 Zlotych 1936 rare polish coin
10 Zlotych 1936

On the reverse side is represented as always the symbol of the Republic with the added value of the piece.

The current value for this Polish coin is €25.

10.000 Zlotych 1987

Finally, we propose a 10,000 Zlotych coin dating back to 1987. In this case we are talking about a piece completely in silver representing the figure of John Paul II with the inscription on the side of the Pontiff.

10.000 Zlotych 1987 rare polish coin
10.000 Zlotych 1987

On the back the symbol of the Republic and together with the value and the year of production of the coin.

The value of this polish coin is currently €30.


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Autore dell'articolo

Marco Salvatori

I don't like to call myself a Numismatic but rather a passionate collector of italian lira, modern and even ancient coins. I love studying the history of our country through coins and each piece tells me its story.

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