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Poland celebrates independence

A number of significant events occurred on Nov. 11 one hundred years ago. One that may have flown under many peoples’ radar was the assumption of power in Poland by Marshal Józef Piłsudski.

Three days earlier, Piłsudski had been released from a German prison and dispatched, like Lenin, in a private sealed train back to his country of origin.

A simple graphic decorates the reverse of Poland’s bimetallic 5 zlotych marking the centenary of the country’s restoration as a sovereign state in the aftermath of World War I. (Image courtesy Narodowy Bank Polski)

For Poles, Nov. 11 has become their independence day. To mark this year’s centenary, Narodowy Bank Polski [National Bank of Poland] has released a 24 mm, 6.54 gram, bimetallic 5 zlotych. The core is aluminum-bronze alloy; the rim, cupronickel. Mintage is 38,424,000.

Upon his arrival in Warsaw, Piłsudski was appointed Commander in Chief of Polish forces by the Regency Council and charged with creating a national government.

On Nov. 11, he declared Poland to be once again an independent country as it had been 123 years earlier. Throughout the time since, it had been ruled by Russia, Germany or Austria.

Its new independence would last just 21 years. On Sept. 1, 1939, Hitler’s troops would roll across the border to fire the opening shots of World War II.

One result is that Poland would not again celebrate its Nov. 11 Independence Day until the country’s emergence from communism in 1989.


This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.


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