Three Polish Coins Honor Boleslaw Prus

The National Bank of Poland have issued (20th September) a set of three coins which mark the 100th year of the death of Boleslaw Prus (1847 – 1912) one of the world’s most profound writers of Polish literature & poetry and a noted contributor to the national awakening of Polish identity.

Prus was born as Aleksander Glowacki, in the town of Hrubieszow, (present-day southeastern Poland) then in the Russian sector of partitioned Poland. As a 15 year old student, Prus participated in the January Uprising, a protest of young Poles opposing conscription into the Russian army which began in January 1863 and lasted until 1865. Prus took part in a demonstration which saw him hospitalized and eventually arrested & imprisoned for four months as a result. During the years when Polish lands were partitioned between the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Prus was at his most creative and at the height of his notoriety. Such works during this period included Placowka, 1886 (The Outpost) Lalka, 1889 (The Doll) Emancypantki, 1893 (The New Woman) and Faraon, 1895, (Pharaoh) – his only historically-based novel. An independent Polish State re-emerged as the Second Republic after the defeat of the Central Powers during the First World War in 1918, but Prus did not live to see this achievement.

The three coins – one gold, one silver, and a base metal coin – are all struck by the Mint of Poland, Warsaw and are designed by Roussanka Nowakowska. They highlight the life of Prus and include memorable images of him during his lifetime.

200 Zlotych: The obverse design includes a sculpted and detailed image of a bust of Boleslaw Prus positioned on the left half. On the right, starting from the top to the bottom, in a semicircle is the inscription “BOLESLAW PRUS” and, starting from the bottom to the top, the years “1847-1912” The reverse depicts a stylized image of the figure of Prus walking down a street. On the right side, in the lower part of the coin, is the image of the crowned eagle, the State Emblem of the Polish Republic. In the upper part of the coin and in the background, you can see an outline of a hansom cab. At the top, is a semi-circular inscription “RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA” with the year of issue “2012” is seen just under the text. The coins face value of “200 ZL” is placed to the lower half. Struck in .900 fine gold and to proof quality, the coin has a weight of 15.5 grams and a diameter of 27 mm. A mintage of 3000 pieces has been authorized.

10 Zlotych: The obverse depicts a detailed three-quarter front-facing portrait of Boleslaw Prus positioned towards the right half.. On the left side, just over the shoulder of Prus, is the image of a lady in 19th century dress with parasol against a backdrop from the old town of Warsaw. Above the portrait, is the text “BOLESLAW  PRUS” seen in two lines. Under the portrait, the years “1847 – 1912”. The reverse shows a standing figure of Prus with walking stick positioned towards the left half of the coin. To the right half, a depiction of Warsaw’s old town along with the crowned eagle, Poland’s national emblem. The text “RZECZPOSPOLITA” and “2012” is seen in a vertical direction to the left of Prus. Under the primary design is the remaining text “POLSKA” and to the lower left of the eagle, is the coin’s face value of 10 Zlotych. The coin is struck in sterling silver to proof quality with a weight of 14.4 grams and a diameter of 32 mm. 30,000 pieces have been authorized.

2 Zlotych: The obverse includes a charming profile portrait in detail with Prus wearing a casual-style hat and facing to the left. Towards the top on the left side, is a semicircular inscription which reads “BOLESLAW PRUS” The lower text reads “1847-1912” The reverse depicts the Polish national crest, the crowned eagle along with the coin’s face value of 2 Zlotych and the year of issue. Struck in aluminum-zinc or “nordic gold” to an FDC – circulation quality, the coin weighs 8.1 grams with a diameter of 27 mm.

A 10 Zlotych circulation type coin issued from the National Bank which included the portrait of Prus which was in use from 1975 to 1984.

For more information on these and other coins issued from the National Bank of Poland, please visit their website at: Overseas orders can be fulfilled with registration at their retail section at:


  1. Logologist says

    Prus did not “take part in a demonstration which saw him hospitalized…” On 1 September 1863, twelve days after his sixteenth birthday, he took part in a battle against Russian forces at a village called Białka, four kilometers south of Siedlce. He suffered contusions to the neck and gunpowder injuries to his eyes, and was captured unconscious on the battlefield and taken to hospital in Siedlce.[

  2. M Alexander says

    Thank you for the correction, I’m pleased that we have knowledgeable readers who are catching any errors or who can add the the story, many of the coins listed here do have an historical background, they mark anniversaries and tell a story of the countries which they are issued from.

    I try when possible to share some of this information as I also find much of it fascinating as I hope our readers do, I think it adds to the allure of the coin itself and hopefully enhances our much-loved activity!

    M Alexander : )

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