Lithuanian and Polish central banks issue collector coins dedicated to the Constitution of 1791
Today, commemorating the 230th anniversary of the Constitution of 1791 – the magnum opus of the Polish‑Lithuanian Commonwealth – the national banks of Lithuania and Poland issue collector coins dedicated to this historic date. This is a joint issue of the two central banks: the coins, depicting common motifs of the coat of arms of the Polish‑Lithuanian Commonwealth as well as inscriptions on their edges, are issued on the same day in both countries.
“The Constitution of May 3 is the first written constitution in Europe and the second one in the world, thus it is definitely worth being commemorated on collector coins. The common history that we are proud of inspires us and contributes to the current close cooperation between the Bank of Lithuania and the National Bank of Poland. Together with our Polish colleagues, we are working on the EU‑funded Twinning projects and jointly provide technical assistance to the National Bank of Ukraine. Moreover, we organise biennial economic research conferences that attract considerable domestic and international attention,” said Deivis Stankevičius, Director of the Cash Department of the Bank of Lithuania and Chairman of the Coin Creation Commission.
“The joint issue of collector coins commemorating the 230th anniversary of the Constitution of 3 May is yet another evidence of fruitful cooperation between Lietuvos bankas and Narodowy Bank Polski. Due to this cooperation, coins issued by both banks share common iconographic elements and the date of issue of the coins. We are glad to be jointly issuing coins commemorating such an important anniversary,” said Barbara Jaroszek, Director of the Cash and Issue Department of the National Bank of Poland.
In the brochure dedicated to this coin, Prof. Dr. Alfredas Bumblauskas points out that “this was the first political and legal document of this kind, since up until then there were only religious and fiction texts available in the Lithuanian language. The Constitution of 3 May solemnly reads: “With the highest dignity in our hearts, we are enacting this Constitution for the establishment of freedom as well as protection of our homeland and its borders”.
The Bank of Lithuania issues a €20 silver coin dedicated to the 230th anniversary of the Constitution of 3 May and Mutual Pledge of the Commonwealth of the Two Nations. The obverse of the coin features the quartered coat of arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, i.e. the coat of arms depicted on the thaler – a circulation coin of Stanisław August Poniatowski’s period, surrounded by the inscriptions ABIEJŲ TAUTŲ RESPUBLIKOS GEGUŽĖS 3-IOSIOS KONSTITUCIJA IR TARPUSAVIO ĮŽADO AKTAS (THE CONSTITUTION OF 3 MAY AND MUTUAL PLEDGE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE TWO NATIONS) and 230. The reverse of the coin features a fragment from the Constitution’s preamble as well as a stylised motif from Jan Matejko’s painting “Adoption of the Constitution”. The edge of the coin bears the inscription 1791.
The mintage of the silver coin, designed by Giedrius Paulauskis, is 2,500 pcs. The coins were minted at the Lithuanian Mint. All collector coins allocated for sale at the Bank of Lithuania e-shop were sold out during the pre-sale.
The National Bank of Poland issues a 100 zł gold and a 50 zł silver coins with a mintage of up to 1,200 and 6,000 pcs respectively. More information on the Polish coins can be found here.