A new set of coins depicting wildlife has been minted by the National Bank of Poland. The fresh mint consists of a silver twenty zloty coin and a two zloty coin, both depicting the peregrine falcon, a bird which is slowly coming back to Poland after a prolonged absence…
John Beauchamp reports
Queues outside the National Bank of Poland snaked around the square yesterday, as many Poles were eager to get their hands on one of the most coveted coins to be minted in the “world animals” series presented by the Bank.
“The coin of the Peregrine Falcon was very popular, as I know all these coins were sold yesterday. The first day, and the coin was introduced into circulation on the 16th January. We didn’t expect that it will be so popular but from the other hand we are happy to see so many people interested in this coin.”
Dariusz Rostkowski of the National Bank of Poland explained that the coin set, which is the 15th in the series since the Bank started issuing such collectables in 1993, was not expected to be produced on such a large scale:
“It was 107 thousand, about 25% more than we estimated six months ago, but we didn’t expect that it will be not enough. I read some agency news today from all the cities in Poland. In most of them the situation was relatively quiet, for example in Szczecin.”
In Warsaw the situation was anything but quiet, with over two and a half thousand people queueing for the coin for extraordinary lengths of time. For instance, these coin enthusiasts told us:
“Well, I joined the queue at two. I waited eight and a half hours for the coins…
I left home at a quarter to five, and I got here half an hour later…
I got here at eight o’clock in the evening the day before, and there were already fifty people waiting in line to the Bank…”
Queues were so long that the National Bank didn’t shut its doors on time. Dariusz Rostkowski told me more:
“In Warsaw the last coins were sold at 8pm, so it was about five or six hours more than it works usually.”
Not everyone standing in line to the Bank was actually a collector though. Some people were queueing for other people as a cash service, quite literally, and others were purely speculative buyers:
“I didn’t go to school, but that’s life…
It was worth it, I got seventy zlotys for queueing. We’ve been here for three, four hours, so it’s not a bad sum...’
I’ve got six hundred zlotys in my pocket here, so it’s not all that bad! It’s normal, just like at the border, you wait in line. If you don’t want to queue, you have to pay someone else to. We’re making some cash out of it, so it’s all good…”
The silver coin, whose reverse shows the peregrine falcon was designed by Roussanka Nowakowska, retailed at 91 zlotys, even though the nominal value of the coin is set at twenty zlotys.
Internet auctions and numismatologists (coin collectors) are also cashing in on the new coin.
“Well, now it’s estimated be around four hundred zlotys a piece, the silver one, that’s how it’s been estimated. The price is rapidly changing because of the auctions just running at the moment,” Zbigniew Warakowski of e-monety.pl, a numismatic portal
A quick look at Polish internet auction sites confirms that the new silver coin is causing a stir indeed. Dariusz Rostkowski from the National Bank of Poland is not surprised:
“We consider that some of them are not just simply interested in coins, but in some speculation. But as I know it’s normal in all of Europe. In every country the situation is the same as we have seen that in the last months the price of gold and silver is growing up and because of that so many people are interested in buying the coins.”
The coin sets showing the peregrine falcon have been sold out at the Bank, and from many of the numismatic stores too:
“Yes, we do have it, and well, it’s already sold out actually, so it’s impossible to buy it in retail now. We sold all the sets last September I would say,” Zbigniew Warakowski says.
For people wanting to get hold of the much-coveted coin should get onto the Polish internet auction sites right away. Another silver coin with an amber inset issued by the National Bank of Poland in 2001, is now worth up to three thousand zlotys…
Will the peregrine falcon also soar in price?