Swap those Benjamins for some Bolesławs: Here’s How Polish Currency Works

Polish moniesIn recent years, Poland has become a very consumer-driven, capitalistic society. It’s something I noticed on my recent trip there, and I will explore this topic in future posts. In this post, I will provide a basic overview of Polish currency for those who may not know what it looks like or what the denominations are.

Polish currency is called Złoty, which literally translates to “golden” in Polish. One Złoty subdivides into 100 Groszy, just like one Dollar subdivides into 100 cents.

There are six different denominations of Groszy coins:

  • 1 Groszy
  • 2 Groszy
  • 5 Groszy
  • 10 Groszy
  • 20 Groszy
  • 50 Groszy

100 Groszy is, naturally, equal to 1 Złoty. Unlike the Dollar, however, 1 Złoty is still a coin instead of a paper bill. In fact, there are still coins for 2 Złoty and 5 Złoty.

It’s only when you get to 10 Złoty that the paper bills start, and here is how that works:

  • The 10 Złoty bill has Poland’s first king, Mieszko I on the front and an illustration of a coin used during his reign on the back.

10 Złoty

  • The 20 Złoty bill has the image of King Bolesław the Brave on the front, and, similar to the 10 Złoty bill, an illustration of a  coin used from Kings Bolesław’s reign on the back.

20 Złoty

  • The 50 Złoty bill depicts King Casimir III The Great on the front and a white eagle with regalia on the back.

50 Złoty

  • The 100 Złoty bill contains King Władysław Jagiełło, victor of the Battle of Grunwald, on the front. On the back you’ll find a shield with a white eagle and the coat of arms of the Teutonic Knights, whom he defeated.

100 Złoty

  • The 200 Złoty bill depicts King Sigismund I The Old on the front. On the back there is an eagle mixed in with the letter “S” in a hexagon.

200 Złoty

Overall, Polish currency regularly uses more coins than American currency and goes one denomination higher (to 200 Złoty). Having shopped quite often during my stay in Poland, though, I can tell you that one Groszy is just about as worthless to Poles as one Penny is to Americans.

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2 thoughts on “Swap those Benjamins for some Bolesławs: Here’s How Polish Currency Works

  1. I’ve one small complaint: Mieszko I in fact was not the first king of Kingom of Poland. He was duke and his son Bolesław Chrobry (chrobry means brave, valiant in old Polish) was first king.

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