POLAND, SOSNOWIEC, 5 kopeki, (c. 1915)


POLAND, SOSNOWIEC, Municipal Council, 5 kopeki, no date (c. 1915), Face: black on dull pink, 83x42mm, VG

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Sosnowiec is near Katowice in southern Poland.

During the formative years of the Republic some Polish towns decided they liked the notgeld that was being made in Germany and made some of their own. Local notes with all Polish legends are uncommon.

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.

For organizational purposes, banknote collectors tend to make a distinction between national issues and local issues. The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money has a volume dedicated to “specialized” issues, where about 20,000 items are listed. A “complete” catalog would likely have at least 10 times that number. The Standard Catalog numbers for “specialized” notes are designated P-S. There are special catalogs for various series such as German and Austrian notgeld, former Soviet Union, etc.

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.