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Mint of Poland, Warsaw, Poland

Name of the mint Mint of Poland
Name in the local language Mennica Polska
Place Warsaw, Poland
Dates of operation 1766-date
Official website https://en.mennica.com.pl/
See also Wikidata (Q4371256)

The Mint of Poland is currently a private company located in Warsaw that mainly produces coins for Poland, but also for foreign issuers and central banks, such as circulation coins for the Dominican Republic, Armenia and Ukraine, and collector coins for Armenia, Belarus, Ukraine and Cyprus. It is a joint-stock company listed at the Polish Stock Exchange since 7 April 1998. It is currently the only mint in the world that is publicly traded.

The Mint of Poland has a history spanning over a quarter of a century and it has operated almost continuously, with short interruptions between 1796–1810, 1907–1924, and during the Second World War.

Mint in Bielańska Street during the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1764–1796)

The beginnings of the Mint of Poland date back to the monetary reform of king Stanisław II August Poniatowski from 1766. On 7 September 1764, Stanisław August Poniatowski was elected king by the Convocation Sejm and mandated to carry out a monetary reform and establish a new mint for medals and orders, as well as for gold, silver and copper pieces. On 10 January 1765, the king established the Mint's Commission, and on 3 July he purchased a palace in Bielańska street for the location of the new mint. The mint was officially inaugurated on 10 February 1766. On the same day, a new monetary system was introduced in Poland, and to commemorate this event, a mint holiday (Dzień Mincerza) was established.

On 21 January 1766, Jan Filip Holzhaeusser, was brought from Dresden and, until 1792, he served as the court medallist and chief engraver of the Warsaw Mint.

In 1791, the Mint introduced its own mint mark on ducat coins, the letters MV for Monetaria Varsoviensis and MW for Mennica Warszawska.

In May 1794, during the Kościuszko Uprising against the Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia, the king's privilege to mint coins was revoked and the mint was taken over by the Tax Commission. On 9 January 1796, the mint was closed for 14 years as a result of the Third Partition of Poland, which divided the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth between Prussia, Austria and Russia. Shortly after the arrival of Prussian troops in the capital, the mint was transferred to the Treasury of Prussia.

Mint in Bielańska Street during the Duchy of Warsaw (1810–1815)

In 1807, Napoleon I established the Duchy of Warsaw, a Polish state formed from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held by one of Napoleon's allies, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony. During this period, the Mint in Warsaw started operating again on 9 June 1810, minting gold, silver and copper coins for the Duchy of Warsaw. About 64 million pieces were minted between 1810-1813.

Following Napoleon's failed invasion of Russia, the duchy of Warsaw was occupied by Prussian and Russian troops in 1813. The Duchy of Warsaw was dissolved and formerly partitioned between the two countries at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Until 9 June 1815 the mint continued to issue coins with the arms of the defunct Duchy of Warsaw, with a retrospective date of 1814.

Mint in Bielańska Street during the Russian Kingdom of Poland (1816–1868)

From 1 January 1816, Warsaw minted coins for the Kingdom of Poland under Russian rule. On 16 June 1817, a new building in Bielańska street was completed for the mint according to the design of Piotr Aigner. Starting in 1824, at the request of the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Mint of Warsaw received a monopoly on the production of official stamps and seals. During this period, the mint was subordinated to the Bank of Poland

During the November Uprising against the Russian Empire, the Warsaw Mint issued coins for the insurgents and operated as a weapons factory for the Polish rebels. On 25 January 1831, the tsar was dethroned and the mint began minting coins with national symbols.

On 15 October 1832, after the fall of the November Uprising, the Warsaw Mint was subordinated to the Ministry of Revenues and Treasury, by the tsar's ukase (decree). The mint started to issue bilingual Russian-Polish double face value coins, the first one being the 15 kopecks – 1 zloty.

On 3 October 1841, the mint of Warsaw minted the first Russian coin, followed by a 1 rouble coin the next year. By tsarist ukase, the Russian currency replaced the Polish one in the Kingdom of Poland. Soon after, starting in 1842, the Mint of Warsaw went through a liquidation process. In 1850, it changed its mint mark from “MW” to the Cyrillic “ВМ”. In 1851, the Main Assay Room was opened at the Warsaw Mint. In 1865 the production was stopped, and finally, on 1 January 1868, the mint was closed down by tsarist authorities. By that time, from 1816, over 300 million pieces had been minted. The production equipment was transferred to the mint in Saint Petersburg. In 1907, the building in Bielańska street was demolished to make room for the square of the Russian State Bank.

The Polish State Mint in Markowska Street during the Second Polish Republic (1924–1939)

Coin production was resumed in Warsaw on 14 April, 1924. A new building for the Polish State Mint was officially opened in Markowska Street by President Stanisław Wojciechowski and Minister of Treasury Wladyslaw Grabski. In 1937, the Polish State Mint was a founding member of the Federation Internationale de la Medaille (FIDEM).

Mint in Markowska Street during the German Occupation (1940–1945)

At the beginning of the Second World War, the buildings of the Polish State Mint were occupied by German authorities, the workshops were destroyed, the precious metals were confiscated, and the numismatic collection of the Numismatic Cabinet was seized by the authorities of the Third Reich.

Between 1941 and 1944, zinc coins for the occupied Polish territory were minted in Warsaw. However, the occupation authorities did not control the production of the dies, so the coins issued in this period bear the Polish eagle and no swastika. During the retreat from the city, the Germans blew up the buildings of the Mint on 12 September 1944.

The Polish State Mint in Ceglana Street (1945–1972)

In 1945, the Polish State Mint resumed its operation in a restored building in Markowska street.

In 1950, the government decided to establish a new currency, the Polish zloty, equal to 100 groszy, but the first 2 billion coins were minted outside Poland. In 1952, the Polish State Mint was relocated to its new headquarters in Ceglana street, in the district of Wola (modern-day Pereca street). In 1953, the first post-war coins were minted here, with a face value of 1 and 2 groszys, but dated 1949. The inscription on the coins was “the Republic of Poland” until 1957, when the constitutional name of the country, “the Polish People's Republic” was introduced on the coins.

In 1965, the “m” over “w” mint mark was reintroduced on the obverse of coins, under the eagle's left foot. The Ministry of Finance modernises the Polish State Mint and purchases new presses in 1966. The mint started to issue commemorative coins in 1971 and proof coins in 1972.

The Polish State Mint in Żelazna Street (1991–)

According to the Act of 29 December, 1989, coins started to bear the new name of the country, “the Republic of Poland”, and its coat of arms, a crowned eagle. In 1991, the construction of a new building for the mint was started in Żelazna street.

In 1991, a commemorative coin celebrating the 225th anniversary of the foundation of the mint, was the first bi-metallic coin issued by the mint.

On 1 April 1994, the Polish State Mint became a joint stock company owned by the State Treasury under the name "Mennica Państwowa S.A.". From 6 February 1998, securities started to be publicly traded by the Polish Stock Exchange. On 18 May 2005, the name was changed to “Mennica Polska S.A.”

On 26 September 1994, the new building in Żelazna street 56 was officially opened by president Lech Wałęsa.

In 1995, the first Polish gold bullion coins, called "Orzeł Bielik" and based on standard Troy ounces were minted at the new facilities. In 2001, multi-material coins were first minted.

On February 5, 2009, at the World Money Fair in Berlin, a partnership between the Polish Mint and the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) was announced. PCGS established a submission centre at the Mint’s headquarters and started to grade the mint's new commemorative coins.

Until 2014, the Mint of Poland was the only producer of Polish circulation coins. In 2014, it lost the production of 1, 2 and 5 groszy coins to the British Mint. It is still the only producer of collector coins of the National Bank of Poland.


Sources:
Władysław Terlecki; 1970. Mennica Warszawska, 1765-1965. Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, Wrocław, Poland.
History of the Mint of Poland retrieved 24 July 2020 from the official website of the Mint of Poland.
Mennica Polska, retrieved 24 July 2020 from Wikipedia.

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