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Polish Coin Celebrates Solidarity

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The 1990 Poland 100,000 Zloty honoring the Solidarity movement, which helped secure workers’ rights and chipped away at Communism. Courtesy of PCGS. Click image to enlarge.

The Independent-Self Governing Trade Union “Solidarity,” widely known as the Solidarity movement, was a labor movement in Poland that was officially formed on August 31, 1980, by striking shipyard workers. They forced the Polish government to recognize demands with a non-violent movement that was led by Lech Walesa. He had lost his job with the Gdansk Shipyard in 1976 due to leading organized protests against the government and recognizing 30 people that died in the protests against rising food prices in Poland and inflation in general. Had it not been for these protests, the Solidarity movement may never have formed. It is widely believed that these protests, which challenged the Communist leadership in Poland and beyond in the Eastern Bloc, helped bring an end to Communism in Eastern Europe by the early 1990s.

The silver 1990 Polish 100,000 Zloty coin showcases the word “Solidarnosc,” which translates to the word Solidarity, in an artsy font. The design right above the word “Solidarnosc” has three crosses with a ship’s anchor also displayed. These coins were issued in an envelope with two of the same coins with an information insert explaining the movement as such, “At present, Solidarnosc is taking on the burden of economic incorporation of Poland into the great family of countries with free market economy. Profits earned on the coin's distribution will be earmarked to create new, healthy economic structures in Poland.”

The cardboard packaging can react with these coins and produce marvelously toned examples like the one we have depicted. This example was sold at Stack’s Bowers for a little over $400 on June 25, 2021.

History World: Others

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