20 złoty

Characteristics of the 20 złoty banknote

Characteristics of the 20 złoty banknote

Description of modernised 20 złoty banknote

The 20 złoty banknote features a portrait of King Boleslaw I the Brave. On the left-hand side of the portrait there is a Romanesque portal, whereas to the right-hand side there is a treetop of a young oak taken from the Gniezno Doors, namely from the scene of St. Adalbert’s remains being laid in state.

On the reverse side there is a denarius – a silver coin struck under Boleslaw I the Brave depicting the silhouette of a bird and the inscription PRINCES POLONIE. On the left-hand side there is an image of St. Nicolas in Cieszyn, whereas on the right-hand side a fragment from the door of Gniezno Cathedral – a lion stretched against a rope.

Characteristic elements of the modernised banknote:

  • banknote size: 126 x 63 mm,
  • Watermark showing value numeral may be seen against the light in the field free from print (1),
  • Lilac-coloured iridescent strip (3),
  • In an oval – a crown, the complete image of which can be seen when the banknote is held against the light (4),
  • Face value, portrait of the sovereign, emblem of the Republic of Poland and the signatures of the NBP Governor and the NBP General Treasurer are in raised print that is easy to feel, also for the visually impaired.


When you examine the banknote against the light the watermark depicting the sovereign and the value numeral “20” can be seen.
The watermark field is free from print.

Security thread

When you hold a banknote against the light, a dark vertical line with the value numeral “20” and the currency abbreviation “ZŁ” is visible. Both features are legible in a mirror as well. The typeface of the microlettering has been modified. The security thread has been incorporated in the paper substrate.

Iridescent strip

On the reverse side of the banknote there is a lilac strip with the value numeral “20” and “ZŁ” symbol. The strip becomes visible depending on the angle at which the banknote is viewed.

See-through register (recto-verso)

When the banknote is held against the light, the elements of the graphic design printed on each side combine perfectly to form a complete image – a crown in an oval.

Latent image

A light or dark value numeral “20” appears in a single latent image when tilting the banknote– depending on the angle that the note is held at.


Tiny inscriptions made with high precision in offset or intaglio printing techniques. The smallest inscription on the banknote should be sharp and readable when magnified.

Banknote under UV-light

A square with value numeral “20” and symbol “ZŁ”, the banknote serial number and other selected elements appear under UV light.

Description of 20 złoty banknote (previous issuance)

Format: 126 × 63 mm

Paper: white

Security features:

  • watermark
    portrait of King Boleslaus I the Brave
  • security thread
    on left-hand side of note, with repeated inscription comprising denomination, “20 ZŁ”, and its mirror image
  • microlettering
    front: repeated vertical inscription, “RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA”, to right of watermark; repeated letters “RP” within separate field in background of number “20” on top right-hand side, with repeated inscription, “RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA”, above field
    back: repeated inscription, “NARODOWY BANK POLSKI”, above and below depiction of denar, in semicircles separated by lines, and repeated inscription, “RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA”, above lower field giving note’s denomination in numbers and words
  • fluorescence under UV light
    front: square with inscription, “20 ZŁ”, in top left-hand corner, and bricks crowning Romanesque portal and minor details within portal, printed in metallised ink to left of portrait (all in willow green); serial number in orange in bottom right-hand corner
    back: fragments of graphic design on left- and right-hand sides of note and initials “NBP” in bottom right-hand corner (all in light willow green)
  • see-through register (recto-verso)
    a crown in an oval next to the value numeral printed on both sides of the banknote as a combined image obtained when the banknotes are held against the light
  • latent image (angle effect)
    on the front side, at the bottom and on the right, depending on the angle that the note is held at, a light or dark value numeral “20” appears in a single latent image
  • metallised ink
    on front of note, grey colour of bricks over portal and of minor details in middle and lower sections of portal

Serial number:
two upper-case letters and seven digits printed horizontally on front of note, in black on lower left-hand side and in red on lower right-hand side

Predominant colours: violet, pink

Front design:
Portrait of King Boleslaus I the Brave in centre area, with inscription, “BOLESŁAW I CHROBRY”, in decorative medallion. Left of portrait – at top, inscription, “NARODOWY BANK POLSKI”; below that – depiction of eagle, emblem of Polish Republic; below that – inscription, “WARSZAWA 25 MARCA 1994 r.”; below that – inscription, “PREZES”, and signature; below that – inscription, “GŁÓWNY SKARBNIK”, and signature. In background of inscriptions and emblem – outline of Romanesque portal, with bricks above. On left-hand side of note, in area of watermark – composition of guilloche lines. In top left-hand corner, arranged vertically – number “20”, with line underneath and inscription below, “DWADZIEŚCIA ZŁOTYCH”. In bottom left-hand corner – marking for the visually impaired, consisting of circle with raised edge. Right-hand side of note contains two separate fields, upper and lower. Upper field bears number “20”, with drawing of crown in oval below and four “20”s around crown, and stylised drawing of oak underneath. Numerical denomination of note in top left-hand corner, line below that, marking for the visually impaired, and upper and lower right-hand fields are all filled with white ornamentation. Background of front of note consists of guilloche mesh with intersecting lines of light violet, light pink, orange, olive green and beige.

Back design:
Depiction of denar, silver coin from reign of Boleslaus I the Brave, in centre area. At top, against ribbon background – inscription, “NARODOWY BANK POLSKI”. Below denar – rectangular field of ornamentation bearing number “20” to left and inscription, “DWADZIEŚCIA ZŁOTYCH”, to right. To left of denar – drawing of rotunda, with crown in oval above and four “20”s around crown. To right of denar – drawing of lion rampant on floral osier, with legend below, “BANKNOTY EMITOWANE PRZEZ NARODOWY BANK POLSKI SĄ PRAWNYM ŚRODKIEM PŁATNICZYM W POLSCE”. In background of crown and rotunda, and also of lion and legend – composition of guilloche lines making up repeated number “20”. On right-hand side of note, at top, above guilloche ribbon – number “20” filled with white ornamentation. In bottom right-hand corner – initials “NBP”. In area of watermark – composition of guilloche lines.

See also