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Did You Know That Poland Briefly Denominated its Currency in Marks (or Mareks)?

In the early stages of World War I, after Germany seized territory constituting what is today Poland, it began issuing occupation currency there and in some other occupied territories. Denominated in Marks (plural Mareks), and introduced in 1916, the currency was retained after the war and continued to be issued into the 1920s. Two remarkable gold patterns from this short-lived period of Polish monetary history will be offered in our catalog of the Taraszka Collection, featured in our January 2023 NYINC Auction.

The Polish Mark/Marek was not destined to last long. With no metallic backing and a challenging postwar political and economic environment, inflation was a serious issue, and the Polish Mark was replaced with the familiar Zloty in 1924. Pattern coins were produced during the Mark/Marek period, a small number of which are known in silver and gold.

Our January 2023 offering of the Taraszka Collection includes a 100-Marek dated 1922 and a 50-Marek dated 1923, both struck at the Warsaw Mint. The 100-Marek pattern features a left-facing portrait of Józef Piłsudski on its obverse, while its reverse includes the denomination encircled by a wreath with the Polish eagle above. The 50-Marek pattern’s obverse displays a left-facing profile of a peasant girl while its reverse depicts the Polish eagle and denomination and privy marks. Both patterns spent time in the Farouk Collection and appeared in the Swiss Banking Corporation Sale of 1987 and the Triton IV sale of 2000. Both patterns are exceptionally rare (just three of each are thought to exist) and very attractively preserved, making them a treasure for collectors of modern Polish coins.

Arguably best known for his research on early U.S. gold eagles, Anthony Taraszka’s holdings are varied, and this group of 16th to 20th century Polish gold coinage reflects the excellent portraiture for which Polish coins of the era are known. We had the pleasure of offering Taraszka’s complete die marriage collection of early gold eagles in 2019 and are excited to be offering his high-quality selection of Polish gold coins.

To view lot listings of these patterns and the other coins in the NYINC Taraszka Collection sale, visit our website at www.stacksbowers.com.

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