The first release of 2016 from the Narodowy Bank Polski (NBP) is here and it’s a fine debut for the new year.  The NBP doesn’t really do flashy coins, rarely even going for colour or gilding, but it does produce some fine product for Poland, heaping much care on the design and quality of its coins, the Stanislaw August series being a good case in point. Like most national issuers of coins, the subjects tend to be quite specific to the country in question, but many times the design alone is enough to make that leap to international interest.

This could be one of those coins. Issued to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the First Drop of the Cichociemni Paratroopers, it has a very cool design featuring the emblem of the Polish Underground State on one side, and a parachutist mid-drop on the other. Microprinted in the background around the emblem are 316 tiny birds in flight, each one representing one of the 316 soldiers parachuted into Nazi-occupied Poland during the Second World War. All told, 103 of these men lost their lives, and a further 13 after the war to Stalins Soviet forces. ninety-one fought the Nazis in the Warsaw Uprising. It’s a well thought out tribute.

Struck in ½oz of sterling (0.925) silver, the coin is packaged in a good-looking box that holds the Certificate of Authenticity in its lid. It has a maximum mintage of 15,000 pieces and is available now. Great coin that I liked so much I bought one while writing this.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

First souvenir coin introduced in 2016 by the National Bank of Poland is devoted to the legendary paratroopers of the Polish Army in exile – the Cichociemni (the Silent Unseen). The formation was created during World War II in order to fight with the German invaders.

On February 2016, Poland celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the First Drop of the Cichociemni paratroopers – special operations partisan soldiers fighting during World War II with the German occupants. The jubilee is a wonderful opportunity to remind us of their heroic commitment.

The word ‘Cichociemni’ means ‘the quiet and the dark ones’, as the soldiers would always appear in silence and disappear in the darkness. The Cichociemni paratroopers were specially trained soldiers prepared to become leaders of the Polish underground domestic army. Their main objective was to establish and train the resistance movement, as well as to adopt irregular warfare approaches within the occupied territories. The Cichociemni were volunteers. Their first operation took place overnight on February 15, 1941. Till December 1944, 316 soldiers were secretly parachuted into Poland.

There were several outstanding personalities withing the organization, including a General of the Polish Army Leopold Okulicki, a notable leader of the Home Army Jan Pwinik, a journalist Jan Nowak-Jeziorański and a university professor Elżbieta Zawacka. The traditions of the Cichociemni are continued by the Polish Military Unit GROM.

REVERSE: In the central part of the coin – Parachuting Sign with the emblem of the Polish Underground State (relief). In the background – 316 birds symbolizing 316 soldiers secretly parachuted into German-occupied Poland (microprinting). Along the rim – decorative pattern alluding to the shape of an opened parachute canopy; name of the coin in Polish – 75. ROCZNICA PIERWSZEGO ZRZUTU CICHOCIEMNYCH (75th Anniversary of the First Drop of the Cichociemni Paratroopers); 3 birds symbolizing first 3 soldiers who in 1941 took part in the special parachute deployment.

OBVERSE: In the central part of the coin – image of a landing paratrooper. Along the rim – decorative pattern alluding to the shape of an opened parachute canopy. In the background, on a proof surface – radiantly spreading lines symbolizing the shroud lines of a parachute. Right-hand – image of the coat of arms eagle established as the national emblem of the Republic of Poland. Below the left talon of the eagle – mint mark: m/w. Along the rim – issuing country: RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA (the Republic of Poland), year of issue: 2016, face value: 10 ZŁ.

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SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
1O ZLOTY 0.925 SILVER 14.14 g 32.0 mm PROOF 15,000 YES / YES
NATIONAL BANK OF POLAND