Poland: 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Bank of Poland is Commemorated on New Silver Proof Coins

The National Bank of Poland have launched new silver proof coins in honour of the centenary anniversary of the establishment of the Bank of Poland.

by Michael Alexander | Published on April 19, 2024

Precursor to today’s National Bank, the Bank of Poland was founded after the re-establishment of Polish independence as a result of the First World War. This anniversary is especially important in modern Polish history as it is the first institution that issued the Zloty currency, still in use in Poland and which also turns 100 years old this year. The Bank Polski Spółka Akcyjna (Bank of Poland Joint-stock company) was organised to oversee currency reform and the consolidation of public finances, which were both conducted by the government of Władysław Grabski from December 1923 to the spring of 1924. The revisionary programme was aimed at achieving budget stabilisation, a balanced money market and a stable exchange rate of the-then Polish mark, which was later replaced by the złoty, Poland’s new currency. Bank Polski SA became a bank of issue, which replaced the Polish Loan Bank, a remnant of Imperial German occupation in 1916. The legal mandate of the bank was signed into law by Polish President Stanisław Wojciechowski who formalised the statute of the Bank Polski as a joint stock company on the 20th January 1924. The Bank was then granted the exclusive right to issue the złoty as national currency until the 31st December 1944. Stanisław Karpiński was appointed the bank’s first president and the bank commenced its activities on the 28th April 1924. On that day, Prime Minister Władysław Grabski unveiled a plaque inside the building originally built in 1911 for use as the Russian State Bank with the following inscription –

‘The Polish State, by establishing Bank Polski in 1924 as the mainstay of monetary order in the country and as an expression of the current link with the age-old institution of that name, expresses its gratitude to the numerous citizens who spared no sacrifice to the National Treasury’

The activity of the Bank Polski was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. Concerned that the Bank of Poland’s bullion assets would be looted by advancing invading armies of the Third Reich, the evacuation of 75 tons of gold from the premises of the Bank of Poland was planned. It was organised and carried out by Ignacy Matuszewski head of the Ministry of Treasury along with the Polish diplomat Henryk Floyar-Rajchman in September 1939. The country’s wealth on gold travelled through Romania, Turkey and Syria until it eventually found its way to vaults in the United States, Great Britain and Canada. Meanwhile, soldiers of the Home Army and members of the Bank’s own staff heroically defended the site for almost a month, preventing the German attack on the Old Town during that time. The Bank of Poland’s building sustained significant damage during the Second World War and much of the structure was later partially demolished. The institution’s management was forced to evacuate to Paris, and later to London, where it continued its activity, however scaling down its operations. At the end of the Second World War in 1946, by the decision of the management board the Bank of Poland, the seat of its authority was moved back to Warsaw from London. However, the new provisional government had established the Narodowy (National) Bank Polski SA by a decree of the State National Council in January 1945. As a result of this change, the Bank of Poland was deprived of its issuing rights and thus, that of a functioning central bank. The Bank was ordered liquidated in 1951 and completed one year later. The stock of gold and property which backed the value of the banknotes of the Bank of Poland was distributed by the communist authorities for budget expenditure in the years 1946–1958. A portion of the gold and its value was allocated as compensation for citizens of foreign countries whose property was expropriated as a result of the Act on the Nationalization of Industry. Today, the Senator Office complex occupies much of the location where the Bank once stood. Remnants of the surviving historic elements of the walls and foundations, primarily the right half on Bielańska Street in Warsaw are preserved and entered into Poland’s register of monuments.

The silver proof coins are produced by the Mint of Poland at their facilities in Warsaw on behalf of the National Bank and designed by Dominika Karpińska-Kopiec. The reverse of the coin features the pre-war façade of the building of the Bank Polski. The building was built between 1907 and 1911 and originally used as a branch of the State Bank of the Russian Empire. Above the primary design is the text RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA 2024 along the upper rim. Poland’s national symbol, the crowned Eagle is placed below the text and the denomination 10 ZŁ. is placed just to the lower right of the crest. The obverse side depicts an image of the Bank of Poland’s first president Stanisław Karpiński against the background of an ornate portal above the entrance to the bank’s main operations hall. The commemorative inscription along the upper rim reads 100. ROCZNICA UTWORZENIA BANKU POLSKIEGO SA with STANISŁAW KARPIŃSKI placed below his likeness.

DenominationMetalWeightDiameterQualityMaximum Mintage
 10 Zlotych.999 Silver31.1 g.32 mm.Proof11,000

Available from the 25th April, each silver proof quality coin is encapsulated and presented in a heavy-gauge lined card case, accompanied with a certificate of authenticity. For additional information on these and other coins issued from the National Bank of Poland, please visit their online retail webpage.

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Author: Michael Alexander

Michael Alexander image Michael’s background in both numismatics and banknotes spans more than three decades and whose activities have varied from being a dedicated world coin collector to coin & medal design, marketing, theme concept and production. His additional interests include banknote research and in 1997, he founded the London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre to further these interests and activities. The company continues to offer monthly currency bulletins to both online and printed publications which includes information about the latest banknote news and releases from Central Banks and Monetary Authorities around the world. Michael has been a contributor to COIN NEWS magazine based in the UK since 1998 where many of his in-depth interviews, articles and bulletins have been published.

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