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Nicolaus Copernicus Commemorated on Coins, Medals and Banknotes

Nicolaus Copernicus Commemorated on Coins, Medals and Banknotes

“… he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the solar system.”

– A Study In Scarlet (STUD)

Watson was amazed that Holmes did not know or care that the earth revolved around the sun.  Holmes went on to comment that  ‘you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a penny-worth of difference to me or to my work.’ This is one of the few times the Master was wrong.  In The Musgrave Ritual,  this information would be relative to knowing the location of the sun and the shadows in the ritual…

Nicolaus Copernicus (February 19, 1473 – May 24,1543) was born is what is now known as Poland. A Renaissance mathematician and astronomer, his book On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres is considered a momentous event in the scientific community.  This work declared that the Sun, rather than the Earth, was at the center the Universe.

In addition to mathematics and astronomy, Copernicus was a lawyer, a physician, translator, economist and a diplomat.

In 1517, he published On the Value of Coin which proposed a quantity theory of money (the connection between increased money supply and inflation) – a key concept in economics – and, in 1519, formulated a version of what later became known as Gresham’s law, “bad money drives out good.”

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Poland honored Copernicus from 1959 – 1965 by featuring him on the circulating 10 Zlotych coin. This is only the second instance of a person (non head of state) being mentioned in the Canon and being on a circulating coin – the other was Sarasate by Spain.

NC 73 100 Zloty

Copernicus was honored on this .625 silver 100 Zlotych coin in 1973 in honor of his 500th birthday.

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Poland again honored Copernicus in 1979, this time on the .900 gold 2000 Zlotych coin.

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East Germany issued this .625 silver 5 Mark coin in 1973 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Copernicus’s birth. The edge is inscribed IN MEDIO OMNIUM RESIDENT SOL.

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The Cook Islands (another South Pacific Island that will strike coins for sale to collectors on any occasion, ala Tuvalu) issued these two coins in 2008.  Cook Islands struck 138 different coin in 2008!

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Wojciech Jastrzebowski designed this frosted silver medal that was struck in 1943 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Copernicus’s death.

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The Polish Academy of Science commissioned the Warsaw Mint to strike this medal featuring Copernicus in 1948.

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The noted German satirical medalist, Karl Goetz, designed this 36mm medal featuring Copernicus in 1934.This medal can be found in silver and bronze.

copernicus 1000z note 1965

Copernicus has also been featured on banknotes by the National Bank of Poland.  This 1000 Zlotych note circulated in the early 1960’s.

copernicus 1000z note 1982Another 1000 Zlotych banknote from the Polish National Bank that circulated in the early 1980’s.

This is just scratching the surface of the numismatic items that honor Nicolaus Copernicus. There are over 100 medal that feature the astronomer.


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