The złoty (golden) is a traditional Polish currency unit dating back to the Middle Ages. Initially, in the 14th and 15th centuries, the name was used for all kinds of foreign gold coins used in Poland, most notably Venetian and Hungarian ducats. In 1496 the Sejm approved the creation of a national currency, the złoty, and its value was set at 30 groszy, a coin minted since 1347 and modelled on the Prague groschen. The grosz was subdivided into 2 półgrosz or 3 solidi.
The name złoty (sometimes referred to as the florin) was used for a number of different coins, including the 30 groszy coin called the polski złoty, the czerwony złoty (Red złoty) and the złoty reński (the Rhine guilder), which were in circulation at the time. However, the value of the Polish złoty dropped over time relative to these foreign coins and it became a silver coin, with the foreign ducats eventually circulating at approximately 5 złotych.
Following the monetary reform carried out by King Stanisław August Poniatowski, the złoty became Poland's official currency and the exchange rate of 1 złoty to 30 groszy was confirmed. Until 1787, the złoty was tied to the Conventionsthaler of the Holy Roman Empire, with 8 złoty equal to one Conventionsthaler and, consequently, 4 groschen equal to the złoty. Two debasements of the currency occurred in the years before the final partition of Poland.
Duchy of Warsaw
The złoty remained in circulation after the Partitions of Poland and the Duchy of Warsaw issued coins denominated in grosz, złoty and talar (plurals talary and talarów), worth 6 złoty. Talar banknotes were also issued.
From 1816, the złoty currency was issued by the Russian controlled Congress Poland, with a fixed exchange rate between the Polish and Russian currencies of 1 kopeck = 2 grosze, or 15 kopeck = 1 złoty. The Warsaw mint issued grosz and złoty until 1832, when it began to issue coins denominated in both Polish and Russian currencies. From 1842, the Warsaw mint issued regular type Russian coins along with some coins denominated in both grosz and kopeck. In 1850, the last coins bearing Polish denominations were minted. Between 1835 and 1846, the Republic of Kraków also issued a currency, the Kraków złoty.
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