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Where's Poland?
March 05, 2009

Where Are Polish Coins in the Mid to Late 19th Century?

The other day I had a call from a long time coin dealer who specializes in North American coins. This fellow, like most coin dealers, sometimes handles other areas and this day he had run across a question while working in the Polish listings of the Standard Catalog of World Coins 1801-1900. He wondered what happened to Polish coinage in the period between 1841 and 1917.

That's a good question. If you look in our catalogs you will see listings for Polish coins up to 1841 in the 19th Century book and listings begining with 1917 in the 20th Century catalog. That's a big gap, but history provides us the answer and history can also be found in the catalogs in the form of our country introductions. The introductions for Poland explain that invasions, partitions and occupations have plagued Poland from 1772 until 1945, leaving this countries territory divided, fractured and at some points missing from the map entirely.

In the time period from 1841 until 1917, Poland was split and dominated primarily by Russia, Prussia and Austria, so primary coinage was pretty well displaced.

But our Where to Find it segments usually give some direction as to where coins for your collecting interest can be located, so here's a current tip. The upcoming Kuenker Auction 150 of Russian coins, medals and paper money, also offers a nice selection of Kingdom of Poland coinage under Russian possession. In fact, in this sale will be offered one of the rarest silver crowns from this distinct period in history, the 1827 10 Zlotych fetauring Alexander I as Czar of Russia and King of Poland and struck for use in the Kingdom of Poland. There are two varieties of this type, one with mintmaster initial IB for Jakub Benik and one with initials FH for Friedrich Hunger, both of the Warsaw Mint, where this coin and similar types in other, more common, denominations were struck.

The 1827FH 10 Zlotych in the Kuenker Auction 150 is a lovely example and should garner great interest. It's presale estimate is 20,000 Euro and the coin grades Xf to near mint.

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About the Author
Tom Michael has been Krause Publications primary market analyst on more than 80 world and United States coin catalogs produced over the last 20 years. He came to KP in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree in history, a master of arts degree in economics and a history of coin collecting stretching back to the 1960s. He began collecting world coins as a child by asking friends and relatives to bring coins back from overseas trips, visiting flea markets and having his mother watch for foreign coins in her register at the local grocery store. Today he works with a dedicated base of over 200 contributors to provide accurate market values for the five-volume Standard Catalog of World Coins series, as well as many specialty catalogs, including Coins & Currency of the Middle East and the fifth edition of Unusual World Coins.

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