Anyone on ul. Basztowa late last week had a chance to see something unusual: hundreds of people queued in front of the seat of the regional branch of the National Bank of Poland (NBP).
Some of them were in line even before dawn in order to guarantee themselves the best possible position to buy a newly issued collector’s coin with an image of a peregrine falcon.
Some were in line just to sell their place to those who didn’t want to wait for hours.
The 20-zloty silver coin was offered for 91 zloty, but still thousands of people wanted to buy it, as it was possible to sell it for as much as 300 zloty right after leaving the bank. Many regard rare coins as a good investment, and some collectors were trying to buy as many falcon coins as possible.
The bank had anticipated a high demand for the falcon coin and a total of 107,000 were minted. Only a quarter of them were sold by the bank in Poland’s biggest cities; the rest went to collectors via specialized trade agencies.
It was not the first time that NBP collector’s coins have sparked such a big interest among Poles. In December, a coin issued to commemorate writer Joseph Conrad’s 150th birthday produced brawls among the people standing in lines.
And all the fuss is not without reason. For example, a 20-zloty coin with pieces of amber was sold for 57 zloty in 2001, and now its market price reaches 3,000 zloty, even though 30,000 of them were minted.
Coin prices remain high in Poland, although many collectors expect them to slump even before the introduction of the euro to Poland in 2012.
This year, many new coins will go into collectors’ hands, as NBP plans to issue 13 new designs.
Among them is a 200-zloty coin to commemorate the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. The Olympic coin will be issued in April, and its actual price hasn’t been decided yet.