The złoty (pronounced [ˈzwɔtɨ] sign: zł; code: PLN) literally meaning "golden", is the currency of Poland. The modern złoty is subdivided into 100 groszy (singular: grosz, alternative plural forms: grosze; groszy). The recognized English form of the word is zloty, plural zloty or zlotys. The currency sign zł, is composed by U+007A z latin small letter z + U+0142 ł latin small letter l with stroke.
As a result of inflation in the early 1990s, the currency underwent redenomination. Thus, on 1 January 1995, 10,000 old złotych (PLZ) became one new złoty (PLN).
Kingdom of Poland and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The złoty (gulden) is a traditional Polish currency unit dating back to the Middle Ages. Initially, in the 14th and 15th centuries, the name was used for all kinds of foreign gold coins used in Poland, most notably Venetian and Hungarian ducats. In 1496 the Sejm approved the creation of a national currency, the złoty, and its value was set at 30 groszy, a coin minted since 1347 and modelled on the Prague groschen. The grosz was subdivided into 2 polgrosz or 3 solidi.
The name złoty (sometimes referred to as the florin) was used for a number of different coins, including the 30 groszy coin called the polski złoty, the czerwony złoty (Red gulden) and the złoty reński (the Rhine ducat), which were in circulation at the time. However, the value of the Polish złoty dropped over time relative to these foreign coins and it became a silver coin, with the foreign ducats eventually circulating at approximately 5 złotych.
Following the monetary reform carried out by King Stanisław August Poniatowski, the złoty became Poland's official currency and the exchange rate of 1 złoty to 30 groszy was confirmed. Until 1787, the złoty was tied to the Conventionsthaler of the Holy Roman Empire, with 8 złoty equal to one Conventionsthaler and, consequently, 4 groschen equal to the złoty. Two debasements of the currency occurred in the years before the final partition of Poland.
Duchy of Warsaw
The złoty remained in circulation after the Partitions of Poland and the Duchy of Warsaw issued coins denominated in grosz, złoty and talar (plurals talary and talarów), worth 6 złoty. Talar banknotes were also issued.
From 1816, the złoty currency was issued by the Russian controlled Congress Poland, with a fixed exchange rate between the Polish and Russian currencies of 1 kopeck = 2 grosze, or 15 kopeck = 1 złoty. The Warsaw mint issued grosz and złoty until 1832, when it began to issue coins denominated in both Polish and Russian currencies. From 1842, the Warsaw mint issued regular type Russian coins along with some coins denominated in both grosz and kopeck. In 1850, the last coins bearing Polish denominations were minted. Between 1835 and 1846, the Republic of Kraków also issued a currency, the Kraków złoty
Currencies of Congress Poland Ruble and Mark
From 1850, the only currency issued for use in Congress Poland was the rubel consisting of Russian currency and notes of the Bank Polski. The monetary system of Congress Poland was unified with the Russian Empire following the failed January Uprising in 1863. However, the gold coins remained in use until the early 20th century, much like other gold coins of the epoch, most notably gold roubles (dubbed świnka, or piggy) and sovereigns. Following occupation of the Congress Poland by Germans during World War I in 1917, the rubel was replaced by the marka (plurals marki and marek), a currency initially equivalent to the German Papiermark.
The złoty was reintroduced as Poland's currency by Władysław Grabski in 1924, following the hyperinflation and monetary chaos of the years after World War I. It replaced the marka at a rate of 1 złoty = 1,800,000 marek and was subdivided into 100 groszy. The złoty was pegged at 0.1687 grams pure gold. 1 1939 złoty = 8 2004 złoty.
On 15 December 1939, the new Bank Emisyjny was established by the General Government, itself set up by Nazi Germany. In May 1940, old banknotes of 1924-1939 were stamped by the new entity. The money exchange was limited per individual, the limits varied according to the status of the person (Pole, Jew, etc.). The fixed exchange rate 1 Reichsmark = 2 złote was established. A new issue of notes appeared in 1941. The General Government also issued coins using similar designs to earlier types but with cheaper metals.
New złoty banknotes were introduced after 22 July 1944 by the Narodowy Bank Polski. They circulated until 1950.
In 1950, a new złoty (PLZ) was introduced, replacing all earlier issues at a rate of one hundred to one. The new banknotes were dated 1948, whilst the new coins were dated 1949. From 1 January 1990 it was a convertible currency.
Between 1950 and 1990, a unit known as the złoty dewizowy (which can be roughly translated as the foreign exchange złoty) was used as an artificial currency for calculation purposes only. It existed because at the time the złoty was not convertible and its official rate of exchange was set by the Government, and there existed several exchange rates depending on the purpose of the transaction and who was exchanging, i.e. given amount in złoty could be exchanged for say US dollars at one of several official exchange rates depending on what was to be bought for the hard currency and the company that was buying foreign exchange; it worked similarly when a company had some earnings in Western currency and wanted (or had) to convert them into złotych. The exchange rate did not depend on the amount being converted. Visitors from countries outside of the Soviet Bloc were offered a particularly poor exchange rate. Concurrently, the private black-market exchange rate contrasted sharply with the official government exchange rate until the end of Communist rule in 1989 when official rates were tied to market rates.
The new Polish złoty (PLN) is the unofficial name of the current currency of Poland, introduced on 1 January 1995 as a result of the redenomination of the old currency. The official name of the Polish currency did not change since the Polish currency law of 1950 (DZ.U nr 50. poz. 459 with later changes), which defines the official currency as the złoty,up to 1 million denominated notes remains in effect. The redenomination rate was 10,000 old Polish złoty to 1 new Polish złoty. The issuing bank is the Narodowy Bank Polski.
Conditions of Poland's accession to the European Union (in May 2004) oblige the country to eventually adopt the euro, though not at any specific date and only after Poland would be able to meet the necessary stability criteria. On 10 September 2008, speaking at the launch of an economic forum in the Polish resort Krynica-Zdrój, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced the ruling government's objective to join the Eurozone in 2012, by holding a referendum in 2010 and being approved by the European Central Bank in 2011. However, article 227 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland will need to be amended first and since Poland will have to join the ERM II before second quarter 2009, this target date is still very demanding.
First złoty coins
In the late eighteenth century, coins were issued in denominations of ⅓, ½, 1, 3, 6, 7½, 10 and 15 groszy, 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8 złotych. The ⅓ and ½ grosz were denominated as the solidus and polgrosz, whilst the 7½ and 15 groszy (copper) were denominated as 1 and 2 silver groschen. Coins up to 3 grosz were minted in copper, those between 6 and 15 grosz were billon whilst the denominations from 1 złoty upward were in silver.
The Duchy of Warsaw issued copper 1 and 3 grosze, billon 5 and 10 groszy and silver 1⁄6, ⅓ and 1 talar. After 1816, the Congress Poland issued copper 1 and 3 grosze, billon 5 and 10 groszy, silver 1, 2, 5 and 10 złotych, and gold 25 and 50 złotych. During the insurrection of 1831, coins were minted for 3 and 10 groszy, 2 and 5 złotych.
Between 1832 and 1834, coins denominated in both Polish and Russian currencies were issued, for 1 złoty (15 kopeck), 2 złote (30 kopeck), 5 złotych (¾ ruble), 10 złotych (1½ ruble) and 20 złotych (3 ruble). These were issued, along with the copper and billon coins, until 1841. In 1842, Russian coins were introduced, supplemented by 40 groszy (20 kopeck) and 50 groszy (25 kopeck) coins. These two coins were issued until 1850.
Second złoty coins
In 1924, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 groszy, 1 and 2 złote. The lowest three denominations were first minted in brass, then in bronze. The 10, 20 and 50 groszy were in nickel, with the higher denominations in silver. Gold 10 and 20 złotych coins were minted in 1925. Silver 5 złotych coins were introduced in 1928. The size of the silver coins was reduced in 1932, a move accompanied by the introduction of silver 10 złotych coins. During the German occupation of World War II, 1, 5, 10 and 20 groszy coins were issued (dated 1923) in zinc and 50 groszy (dated 1938) in nickel plated iron or iron.
Third złoty coins
In 1950, coins were issued for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 groszy and 1 złoty. All denominations were minted in aluminium, with the 5 groszy also minted in bronze and the denominations above 5 groszy also minted in cupro-nickel. From 1957, aluminium coins for 5, 10, 20 and 50 groszy and 1 złoty were issued, with aluminium 2 and 5 złotych introduced in 1958. Cupro-nickel 10 and 20 złotych followed in 1959 and 1973, respectively. Brass 2 and 5 złotych were introduced in 1975, reverting to aluminium in 1989. In 1990, 50 and 100 złotych coins were issued, although they saw little circulation due to the high inflation occurring at that time.
Fourth złoty coins
Coins were introduced in 1995 (dated from 1990) in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 groszy, 1 (colloquially called złotówka), 2 and 5 złotych (colloquially called piątka). The 1, 2, and 5 groszy are minted in brass, and the 10, 20 and 50 groszy and 1 złoty in cupro-nickel, whilst the 2 and 5 złotych are bimetallic. 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 złotych coins also exist and are legal tender, but are not in normal circulation.
First złoty banknotes
In 1794, treasury notes were issued in denominations of 5 and 10 groszy, 1, 4, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 złotych. The Duchy of Warsaw issued notes for 1, 2 and 5 talarów.
In 1824, the Bank Kassowy Królestwa Polskiego issued notes for 10, 50 and 100 złotych. The Bank Polski issued notes dated 1830 and 1831 in denominations of 1, 5, 50 and 100 złotych, whilst assignats for 200 and 500 złotych were issued during the insurrection of 1831. From 1841, the Bank Polski issued notes denominated in rubel.
Second złoty banknotes
In 1924, along with provisional notes (overprints on old, bisected notes) for 1 and 5 groszy, the Ministry of Finance issued notes for 10, 20 and 50 groszy, whilst the Bank Polski introduced 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 złotych. From 1925, the Ministry of Finance issued 2 and 5 złotych notes, before they were replaced by silver coins, and the Bank Polski issued 5, 10, 20 and 50 złotych notes, with 100 złotych only reintroduced in 1932. In 1936, the Bank Polski issued 2 złote notes, followed in 1938 by Ministry of Finance notes for 1 złoty.
In 1939, the General Government overprinted 100 złotych notes for use before, in 1940, the Bank Emisyjny w Polsce was set up and issued notes for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 złotych. After liberation, notes (dated 1944) were introduced by the Narodowy Bank Polski for 50 groszy, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 złotych, with 1000 złotych notes added in 1945.
Third złoty banknotes
In 1950, new notes (dated 1948), were introduced for 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 złotych. 1000 złotych notes were added in 1962. 200 and 2000 złotych notes were added in 1976 and 1977, followed by 5000 złotych notes in 1982. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw high inflation in Poland and led to the introduction of notes in denominations of 10,000 (in 1987), 20,000 (1989), 50,000 (1989), 100,000 (1990), 200,000 (1989), 500,000 (1990), 1,000,000 (1991) and 2,000,000 złotych (1992). These notes (and coins of course) were valid (with the exception of the 200,000 one) until the end of 1996. Currently they are no longer a legal tender and can be exchanged only at the National Bank of Poland (and some banks obligated to it by the NBP) until December 31, 2010.
Fourth złoty banknotes
In 1995, notes (dated 1994) were introduced in denominations of 10 (colloquially called dycha), 20, 50 (two varieties, one of which was issued for collectors), 100 (colloquially called stówa or bańka) and 200 złotych. 10,000 Third złotych = 1 Fourth "new" złoty. Oft used notes: 10, 20, 50 and 100 PLN. Rarely used note: 200 PLN. The New Polish Zloty (PLN) is a fully convertible currency well known to travelers and investors from all around the world.
The text on this page has been made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License and Creative Commons Licenses