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During the 11th century the currency of Poland was the Polish mark or grzywna and a kopa. The grzywna was equal to approximately 210g of silver. The currency changed to the Krakow grzywna during the 14th century and this was equal to approximately 198g of silver. Following this was the grosz and a kopa.
The zloty which means golden became the currency of Poland during the 14th and 15th century. Initially it was the name given to all kinds of gold foreign coins that were exchanged in Poland. At the beginning one zloty was equal to 12-14 groszy but over time the silver content of the groszy reduced so when the zloty became the national currency in 1347 it was valued at 1 zloty to 30 groszy. During the 16th century the value of the groszy continued to diminish as the proportion of silver in this coin reduced. At the start of the 16th century one zloty was equal to 32 groszy but by the middle of the same century it was valued at 50 groszy.
The polish zloty became a silver coin and the value dropped. During the mid/late 18th century under King Stanislaw August Poniatowski reign the zloty became Poland’s official currency with a value of 1 zloty equal to 30 groszy. Until 1787 when two devaluations took place before Poland’s final partition.
When Poland became part of Russia, Russian banknotes and coins replaced the zloty. Prussia introduced the mark. However everything was not as clear cut as the Russians had hoped! On the 8th June 1794 the Polish Supreme Council decided to make new zloty banknotes and coins which was released to the general public on the 13th August 1794. More than 6.65 million Zloty were given out by the rebels in Poland. The Russians declared this new money as invalid and replaced them with Russian banknotes and coins. Interestingly the zloty and the grosze remained on the new currency that was issued. The reason for this seemed to be that although the Polish monetary system was in deep crisis things weren’t much better in Russia and because Poland had the silver standard for coins it made this currency more stable than the Russian currency. The zloty continued to go through many alterations to its value and subdivisions.
During the 19th century Russian rubles became the currency of Poland until the Zloty returned as the home currency.
Shortly after World War I a new zloty was introduced to help curb hyperinflation in Poland and bring stability to the Polish economy.
In 1995 a new zloty replaced the old Polish zloty at a rate of 1 new zloty being equal to 10,000 old zloty.
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From the end of World War II until the later 1980’s the Polish zloty was valued differently against other currencies depending on the type of transaction.
It became very expensive for Western tourists to exchange their currency into zlotys whereas foreign importers benefitted from competitively priced products in polish zlotys. This rather elaborate exchange rate system created by the Polish government was abolished by 1990.
The Polish Zloty is the official currency of Poland. The ISO 4217 currency code for the Polish Zloty is PLN.