The National Bank of Poland have issued (18th July) a silver coin to highlight the region’s natural formations and national treasures. This year’s coin features the Prehistoric flint mine known as Opatowskie Silica. One of the most important monuments of material culture in Poland, it is the most prominent monument of the Stone Age (Neolithic) in Central Europe. It is testimony to the advanced technical culture of prehistoric communities living in the Vistula basin 5000 years ago when stone-age man did not have the production technology of bronze and iron-age man.
Opatowskie Silica is located on the north-eastern outskirts of the Holy Cross Mountains, near the town of Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski. The Jurassic lime stones which make up much of the landscape are covered with debris of Pleistocene (sedimentary deposits). In the extending area, there is a striped flint mine which was mined in Krzemionki Opatowskie and is considered as one of the best preserved and one of the most beautiful natural and prehistoric remnants in Europe.
Different mining methods, ranging from simple pits with a depth of about 2 meters (7 feet) to the most developed Neolithic mining methods offer a unique historical value of the mine and society of the time. The testimonies to their achievement of the era are windows dug through Pleistocene tracks and hollowed-out caverns below the current layer of limestone with a height of around 60 – 90 centimeters (2 – 3 feet), usually at a depth of about 5 to 8 meters (16 – 28 feet).
Struck at the Mint of Poland, the coin’s design with a face value of 20 Zlotych is the work of artist Ewa Tyc-Karpinska. The obverse depicts a stylized fragment compartment within the Neolithic flint mines together with an image of the mining pick antler. To the right of the primary design, an actual example of the striped flint still found in the region is included within an incused circular shape, the smooth surface flint is embedded into the coin’s own surface. Under the main motif is the text “KRZEMIONKI OPATO WSKIE”. The reverse image includes a corresponding design as found on the obverse along with the crowned eagle which is the emblem of the Polish Republic. Above the Eagle is the year of issue, 2012 and on the right side of the Eagle is the inscription: 20 ZL. At the bottom of the primary design is the text “RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA” in two lines. Just under the Eagle’s left claw is the mintmark MW.
Struck in sterling silver to proof quality, the coin weighs 28.2 grams and has a diameter of 38.6 mm. Authorized with a total mintage of 45,000 pieces, the coin is available through both the National Bank and the Mint of Poland’s retail service.
For more information, please visit the website of the Mint of Poland at: http://www.mennica.com.pl/produkty-i-uslugi/produkty-mennicze/monety-nbp/monety-kolekcjonerskie/produkt/zobacz/krzemionki-opatowskie-20-zl.html The information is currently only displayed in Polish.