21 November 2020 was the day of the premiere of an exceptional Polish 0 Euro banknote commemorating the centenary of the birth of St. John Paul II, born as Karol Wojtyła on May 18th 1920 in Wadowice. Featuring an image of the young future Pope, the banknote is unique on a global scale. Until now, there have been no such representation either on banknotes or coins. Even this year, a year so exceptional for the centenary of the birth of Karol Wojtyła, countries issuing numismatic values have been depicting him always in papal robes, whereas no one comes into the world holding office… It will be the fifth Polish 0 Euro banknote premiering in 2020. Due to the pandemic, the launch of the banknote was held online. The issuer is the Town Museum of Wadowice in partnership with Banknoty Pamiątkowe.
The History of Polish 0-Euro Banknotes
The first Polish banknote with this unusual denomination premiered at the end of November 2019 and was dedicated to the city of Warsaw. Its obverse features the view of the Castle Square with the Sigismund’s III Vasa Column, the façade of the Royal Castle and several nearby tenement houses. The issue of 5,000 copies sold out in just one day. Another three commemorative banknotes were issued in August 2020 and were dedicated to RKS Radomsko football team (9 August), the centenary of the 1920 Battle of Warsaw (15 August) and the Piast Castle in Legnica (29 August). Next was the Museum of Coins and Medals of Pope John Paul II in Częstochowa on October 11th. On November 21st, the collection of Polish 0 Euro banknotes will be enriched by the one commemorating the centenary of the birth of Karol Wojtyła – Pope John Paul II (1978-2005 in office). All 2020 issues were designed by Małgorzata Pławecka-Jasek.
2,000 Pieces Featuring the Anniversary Mark 2020
As 2020 marks the fifth anniversary of the inauguration of the “0 Euro” project, each issue is printed both in the standard version and in the jubilee one which accounts for 20% of the total number of commemorative banknotes. The upcoming Polish issue will have the total print run of 10,000, of which 8,000 will be the standard version, and 2,000 – the jubilee, characterized by the mark “ANNIVERSARY 2020” in the watermark field, printed with yellow fluorescent paint.
The issuer of the banknote is the Town Museum of Wadowice, part of the Marcin Wadowita Cultural Center of Wadowice, located near the Wadowice Basilica and the family home of John Paul II. From the day one of its existence, the museum has the goal to collect objects related to the history of this Małopolska town and its vicinity. The collections are based on the exhibits collected by the Historical Collection of the Wadowice Region (museum established in 1996) as well as purchases and donations. The museum holds 3,000 exhibits, including paintings, graphics, archival documents, photographs, postcards and maps related to the history of the region.
Young Karol Wojtyła on a 0 Euro Banknote
Issued by the Town Museum of Wadowice, the 0 Euro banknote commemorating the centenary of the birth of St. John Paul II is subtitled “Wadowice – here it all began” and features young Karol Wojtyła. It is unprecedented to put on a collector’s item (coin, medal, banknote, post stamp) paying tribute to John Paul II, an image of a young man wearing an ordinary jacket, instead of a priest in papal robes. The everyday outfit, the pre-war panorama of the town set in the background, with the baroque dome and tower of the Basilica of the Offering of the Blessed Virgin Mary protruding above the rooftops, as well as the contemporary coat of arms of Wadowice, refer to the hometown of Karol Wojtyła and the times when he was a young man – a child and a student. All these elements illustrate the slogan “Wadowice – here it all began”. The designer surprised us with the image of Karol Wojtyła wearing civilian clothes, instead of a typical portrait of the Pope. This original representation increases the attractiveness of the topic. This banknote will stand out among dozens of others from around the world paying tribute to John Paul II.
Here you can watch the video for the launch of the banknote.
And this is the website of the Town Museum of Wadowice.
In 2020, the Mint of Poland also released a commemorate coin featuring Pope John Paul II.
Poland issued numerous commemorative coins and banknotes dedicated to Pope John Paul II. Here you can find out more about the relationship between the Poles and their Pope.