A polymer banknote and a silver coin to commemorate the 550th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus

On 9 February 2023, Narodowy Bank Polski will be putting into circulation a collector coin and a collector banknote “Nicolaus Copernicus”.

The coin with a face value of 50 złoty is made of silver, its diameter is 45 millimetres, it weighs 62.2 grams, it has a plain edge and high relief. The coin comes with an additional element – an amber insert. Its mintage is up to 7,000 pieces and it will be sold at the price of PLN 950.

The reverse of the coin features a fragment of the monument to Nicolaus Copernicus in Warsaw and a stylised image of sunrays. In addition to the regular elements such as the image of the Eagle established as the state emblem of the Republic of Poland, the face value and the notation of the year of issue, the obverse also features   an image of the solar system from Nicolaus Copernicus’s work “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium”.

The collector banknote “Nicolaus Copernicus” with a face value of 20 złoty was printed on polymer substrate (it is the second polymer collector banknote issued by NBP). The banknote, measuring 150 x 77 mm, will be issued in up to 100,000 pieces. It will be sold at the price of PLN 160. The banknote presents images relating to the life and work of Nicolaus Copernicus. The front side features the astronomer’s portrait, the so-called Toruń portrait. On the back side there are historical coins from Copernicus’s time, with an image of the Castle of the Warmian Cathedral Chapter in Olsztyn. The banknote has the world’s most advanced security feature. This optical security feature is placed in the bottom left corner, showing a motion effect and 3D image, presenting the heliocentric system.

The collector coin and the collector banknote will be issued to mark the 550th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus falling in 2023. This great Pole was an outstanding astronomer, the creator of the heliocentric theory, a physician and an economist – the author of one of the versions of the law governing the circulation of money (bad money always drives out good money), and a faithful subject of Polish kings – a defender of Olsztyn against the Teutonic Knights. Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Toruń on 19 February 1473 to the family of a wealthy merchant Nicolaus Copernicus and Barbara née Watzenrode. His father came from Silesia and his mother from one of Toruń’s patrician families. The future astronomer was first educated in Toruń, then probably in Chełmno. In 1491–1503, he studied in Kraków, Bologna and Padua. He completed his studies with a doctorate in canon law in Ferrara in 1503. In 1503 Copernicus returned to Poland and settled in Warmia, where his uncle and patron Łukasz Watzenrode was bishop. Before, in 1495, the astronomer had become a canon of Warmia. From 1503 to 1510, he lived with his uncle in Lidzbark Warmiński, and from 1510 onwards he basically stayed permanently in Frombork, and only in 1519-1521 in Olsztyn.

Copernicus’s most important work is “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” (“On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres”). Copernicus is believed to have started writing it in 1514 and to have finished it around 1530. He delayed its publication for a long time – it was published in 1543 thanks to the efforts of the German scholar Joachim Rheticus. It is uncertain whether the author saw his work before he died in May 1543.

The collector coin and the collector banknote “Nicolaus Copernicus” will be sold at NBP Regional Branches and in the online shop Kolekcjoner. The banknote and coin will be displayed during the World Copernican Congress. The Congress, to be held in Toruń on 19-21 February 2023, is the culmination of the celebrations of the 550th anniversary of Nicolaus Copernicus’s birth.

More information can be found in the booklet.

Video presentation of the banknote: Collector coin and collector banknote “Nicolaus Copernicus”.


Introduction by Ms Barbara Jaroszek, Director of the Cash and Issue Department, on the collector coin and collector banknote “Nicolaus Copernicus”.

NBP collector coins and banknotes are sold in commercial packaging with an attached certificate.  

The next issue is scheduled on 15 March 2023. On that date Narodowy Bank Polski will be putting into circulation a silver collector coin of the series “The Enduring Soldiers Accursed by the Communists” – “Józef Kuraś alias Ogień”, with a face value of 10 złoty.


Contact for collectors:
e-mail kolekcjoner@nbp.pl,
tel. +48 22 185 17 05

Contact for the media:
e-mail press@nbp.pl,
tel. +48 22 185 20 12

About NBP:

Narodowy Bank Polski holds the exclusive right to issue banknotes and coins in Poland. All currency issued by NBP – including collector banknotes and coins – is legal tender in Poland. Issuing collector items is an occasion to commemorate important historic figures and anniversaries, as well as to develop the interest of the public in Polish culture, science and tradition.