Polish King Ladislaus I (1261-1333), known as Ladislaus the Elbow due to his diminutive height, ruled Poland from 1306-1333. It is believed that coinage bearing his image first appeared in 1330. The coinage of Ladislaus departed from the thin, single-sided bracteates that preceded them, and demonstrated several stylistic and technical features that foretold the coming of the penny era of European coinage. One of the most notable aspects of this coinage was the use of gold for the Polish florin. It would take two hundred years before the appearance of another Polish coin struck in the valuable metal.
Specialists in the field of Polish numismatics believe that several thousand of these gold coins were struck. Only one example survives to this day. That important coin was the highlight of the Emeryk Hutten-Czapski Collection and is currently on display at the National Museum of Kraków. To celebrate this remarkable numismatic treasure, the Mint of Poland has issued a limited-edition silver 20 Złoty commemorative coin.
Two depictions of the medieval king Ladislaus I. One based on the surviving example of the gold Polish florin located at the National Museum of Kraków, the other based on a royal seal. Both depict Ladislaus I sitting on the throne, holding a lily scepter in his right and and a reign apple in his left. On the primitive coin, the following inscription appears: WLADISLAVS D[e]I G[ratia] REX (Lasdislaus, by the Grace of God, the King). Wrapping around the rim of the commemorative coin is the following text, written in Polish: FLOREN WŁADYSŁAWA ŁOKIETKA (florin of Ladislaus the Elbow).
The reverse features three portraits. To the left is a representation of a 14th-century coin wherein stands a full-figured representation of a bishop. A halo surrounds his head. In his left hand is a crosier. His right hand is raised to perform a blessing. The circular inscription reads: S[anctus] STANISLAVS POL[oni]E (holy Stanislaus of Poland). To the bottom right is a small representation of the reverse of a modern Polish coin. Central to the design is the Polish eagle. The circular legend reads: RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA · 2015. The coin’s denomination is depicted beneath the eagle and reds: 20 Zł. Above the denomination is the “W” mintmark of the Warsaw Mint. To the right of the two depictions of Polish coins is the sarcophagus figure of Ladislaus I, which resides in the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków.
Designer(s): Dominika Karpińska-Kopiec is an sculptor/engraver and designer of coins for the Mint of Poland (View Designer’s Profile).
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