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CNB launches exhibition to mark 100 years of koruna

31 Jan 2019

The Czech National Bank will today ceremonially launch an exhibition called “100 Years of the Koruna”, which is being held in the Imperial Stables at Prague Castle to mark a major anniversary of our currency. The exhibition will open to the public one day later, on 1 February 2019. The symbol of the celebrations of 100 years of the koruna, and the main attraction at the exhibition, is a unique heavyweight gold coin, which will be on display at the exhibition until 28 April 2019.

The coin, which is made of pure gold and weighs 130 kilograms and was produced for this occasion using the CNB’s gold reserves, is issued today. It is 535 mm in diameter and 48 mm thick. This makes it the largest gold coin in Europe and the second largest in the world. However, the amount of gold used to make it is less than that needed to produce a single issue of gold coins, which the CNB issues two to three times a year.

The coin was designed by the sculptor Vladimír Oppl. The relief on the obverse side commemorates the birth of the Czechoslovak currency with a stamp dating from 1919, while the present is represented by the CNB logo. The reverse side of the design is dominated by a monumental Czech lion and the motif of the best-known Czechoslovak one-koruna coin dating from 1922.

The gold coin was produced for the CNB by the Czech Mint and its subcontractors. A semi-finished version of the coin was minted by Swiss company Metalor, which used 999.9 purity gold to make it. The “gold cake” prepared for the relief engraving was double the current weight (about 260 kg) and slightly larger in diameter than the milled coin. The coin relief was milled by the Vienna Mint and polished into its final form by the Czech Mint in Jablonec nad Nisou.

The first commemorative banknote in the history of the Czech Republic, titled The establishment of the Czechoslovak koruna, is also being issued today. It features a portrait of the leading economist Alois Rašín, who separated the Czechoslovak currency from the Austro-Hungarian monetary system in 1919.

The commemorative banknote, designed by the painter Eva Hašková, is issued in 20,000 pieces. It can be ordered from the CNB’s contractual partners for the sale of numismatic material.

The heavyweight gold coin with a nominal value of CZK 100 million is a unique, but by no means the only, exhibit of value at the exhibition, which the CNB is organising jointly with the Office of the President of the Czech Republic and the Prague Castle Administration. Visitors can view other extraordinary artefacts, such as the first treasury notes dating from 1919 and replicas of the crowns of the countries of the former Austria-Hungary: the Saint Wenceslas Crown of the Czech lands, the Crown of Austria and the Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen.

The exhibition presents many of the notes and coins used in the Czechoslovak state and later the Czech Republic over the last 100 years. Never before will items from the Czech National Bank’s stores have been exhibited to the public on such a scale. The exhibits include banknote designs created by Alfons Mucha in 1918 and 1919 and the works of other luminaries of Czech and Slovak graphic design, such as Max Švabinský, Cyril Bouda, Karel Svolinský, Albín Brunovský and Oldřich Kulhánek.

The exhibition will be open in the Imperial Stables at Prague Castle from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. every day from 1 February to 28 April 2019. More information is available on the CNB website.

Entry costs CZK 100 for adults, CZK 50 for children aged 6–16, students and the over 65s, and CZK 200 for families. Entry for school groups is CZK 20 per person. Groups can book in advance using the reservation system.

The Czech National Bank would like to inform visitors that the exhibition hall has a capacity of 60 persons. It therefore asks visitors to be patient if they have to wait to get in. The capacity of the exhibition cannot be exceeded for security reasons.

Information about other events being held to mark the 100th anniversary of the koruna can be found in a special section of the CNB website.

Markéta Fišerová
Director of the Communications Division and CNB Spokesperson