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The Centenary of the Formation of the Polish Legions

Collector banknote with Józef Piłsudski is the best in the world

Date: 18-05-2015

The banknote with the face value of 20 zł, entitled “Centenary of the formation of the Polish Legions”, featuring the image of Marshal Józef Piłsudski, is the best collector bank-note in the world – as decided at the international Currency Conference in Vancouver, Canada. This is another prestigious award granted to the first Polish polymer banknote.

The Currency Conference, organised by the International Association for Currency Affairs (IACA) in Canada, was attended by over 70 central banks and issuing institutions from all over the world. The award in the category of the best collector was granted ex-aequo to three banknotes: from Poland, Scotland and Nigeria. The note with the face value of 20 zł and bearing Marshal Józef Piłsudski’s image has been recognised for the second time. In March, at the European High Security Printing conference organised in Budapest, it was awarded for the graphics and high level of banknote security features.

The banknote “Centenary of the formation of the Polish Legions” is the sixth collector banknote issued by NBP and the first polymer one. It was designed by Andrzej Heidrich, based on his earlier project – a banknote with the face value of 5,000,000 zł, from the first half of the 1990s. Due to denomination that began on 1 January 1995, the note did not come into circulation. The combination of a classic graphic design with modern polymeric substrate makes the new bill, put into circulation in August 2014, unique.

The front of the banknote features the image of Marshal Józef Piłsudski, and on the back there is the legionary eagle and a badge of the First Brigade of the Polish Legions, as well as the Grand Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari awarded to the Marshal. A very precisely made hologram depicting Belvedere Palace, situated in the transparent area of the banknote, deserves particular attention. The banknote, commissioned by NBP, was manufactured by the Polish Security Printing Works (PWPW S.A.) and engraved by Krystian Michalczuk.

The formation commemorated by the latest NBP collector note was established on 16 August 1914 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was established on the foundation of the First Brigade which had been created on 3 August 1914 on the initiative of Józef Piłsudski. At the peak of their strength (1915), the Legions consisted of approximately 12,000 soldiers and officers echeloned in three brigades. They fought in 1914–1916 on the Austro-Russian front, fighting several battles which went down in history as evidence of the courage and power of the spirit of independence. The Polish Legions, despite their termination in 1917, have remained in the national consciousness.

At the Currency Conference prizes were awarded, among other, to the European Central Bank for its campaign introducing a new series of euro banknotes and Bank of Canada for its innovative approach to the quality control of banknotes.

In August of this year, another collector banknote will be put into circulation. This time it will be issued by NBP on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the birth of Jan Długosz.

2015 Excellence in Currency Awards.

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