POLAND 20 zlotych 1.3.1940


POLAND, GERMAN OCCUPATION, 20 zlotych, 1.3.1940, Face: gray-blue on blue and red, statue of women and children on left, Countess Emilia Broel-Plater on right, Back: gray-blue on blue and red, castle flanked by allegorical figures, P95, Unc

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Poland started making banknotes at the end of the 18th century. There was a bit of paper during the Russian period. Then the Germans of World War I set up an occupation government and paid people to go back to work. The government was fond of the conveniences of paper money, and has wanted a lot of it out there, so it could be, when necessary, depreciated.

Aside from China, other governments started using circulating “banknotes” starting in the 17th century AD. The practice became general in the 19th century. In the 20th century value of paper money in circulation far surpassed the value of coinage. In the 21st century paper money is fading and credit transactions are growing.

Paper money, meaning the promise of a government to pay a set amount, and the paper promise allowed to circulate at will, was probably first used in China in the 12th century AD. At that time the merchants and governments of Europe were just writing letters to each other about what they owed.