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Poland 2008 Endangered Species - Peregrine Falcon and Nestlings 20 Zlotych Silver Proof

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Product Description

The noble but endangered Polish falcon raises its young on this new animal coin from Poland!

Sold out at the Mint!The 2008 entry in the Endangered Species of Poland series features the peregrine falcon. This beautiful bird of prey, also known as the duck hawk, is a migratory species ("peregrine" actually means "wandering") that can be found throughout the world, as far north as the arctic tundra. It feeds almost exclusively on other birds by diving on them at incredible rates of speed and knocking them out of the air. In its hunting dive it can achieve speeds in excess of 250 mph, making it the fastest animal on the planet! It also has an incredible metabolic rate, with its heart beating up to 900 time per minute!

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FalconBird of Nobility
In Poland, as in many parts of Europe, peregrine falcons were captured and trained for hunting by falconers. This sport was practiced for centuries by the nobility. As a result, peregrine falcons were considered royal birds and within Poland were one of the first animals to be protected by royal decree. This didn't help the bird in the modern era, however - pesticides such as DDT wreaked havoc on its populations by destroying its ability to reproduce.

Today the peregrine falcon is making a comeback in Poland, as these harmful chemicals have been outlawed and it has been reintroduced to many parts of its former range. It has received an odd sort of help from man, as it was introduced into urban environments, on the supposition that the tall buildings of the cityscape would mimic its normal, cliff-like abode. This guess proved correct, with the birds taking up residence in Warsaw beginning in 1998, high up on the Palace of Culture and Science in the city center.

Click here for the Falcon Coin & Stamp Set with a pure silver proof from Canada!

Fit for a King (and a Holy Roman Emperor!)
The noble peregrine falcon figures large in history. After the expulsion of the Knights Hospitalers of St. John from Rhodes by the Ottoman Turks in 1522, they needed a new home base. In 1530 the Holy Roman Emperor, King Charles V of Spain, as King of Sicily, gave the Knights the island of Malta (and their new name) in perpetual fiefdom in exchange for the annual payment of a single Maltese falcon, which they were to send on All Souls Day to the King's representative, the Viceroy of Sicily. This move proved to be judicious indeed, as the Knights of Malta successfully withstood the Great Siege of Malta by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1565, thereby buying Christian Europe the time it desperately needed to prepare its defenses. Six years later, in 1571, a united European fleet would end the Muslim threat by decisively defeating the Turkish armada at the Battle of Lepanto, one of the turning points in world history. The historical fact of the king's payment was a key element in Dashiell Hammett's famous book The Maltese Falcon.

The peregrine falcon is the 2008 program in the ongoing Endangered Species of Poland series, and is available in 2 Zl Nordic Gold (base metal) and 20 Zl silver proof versions.

Click here to see all of the coins in the Endangered Species programs!

Obverse
Falcon_and_Nestlings.jpgA realistically-rendered adult falcon tends her nestlings in their aerie, perched high on a cliff overlooking a mountain range. The legend SOKOL WEDROWNY in Polish translates as "Peregrine Falcon", while the scientific (Latin genus and species) name FALCO PEREGRINUS also appears.

Reverse
By law, the reverse of every Polish coin includes the crowned white eagle, the national emblem of Poland. Its legs are flanked by the white and red national flag. The year of issue, the denomination and the legend RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA ("Republic of Poland") are also indicated.

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Specifications
Country Poland
Year of Issue 2008
Issuing Authority National Bank of Poland
   
Face Value 20 Zl
Weight 28.28 g
Diameter 38.61 mm
Mintage Limit 107,000
   
Finish Proof
Composition .925 Fine (Sterling) Silver
Edge Plain
Packaging Encapsulated

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