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Top secret Cold War-era banknotes surface in Poland

Banknotes

WARSAW, POLAND: Top secret Cold War-era banknotes printed by the Warsaw Pact for use in case of a war with the West were shown publicly in the Polish capital for the first time on Friday.

Code-named “E-17”, the crisp notes issued in the 1970s and classified as top secret until 2015 were kept locked in chests deep in the bowels of Poland’s central bank for decades.

“This is most likely the only series of its kind in Europe…now shown to the world for the first time,” Piotr Woyciechowski, head of Poland’s PWPW national mint told reporters Friday.

He said there is a reason to believe that in the event of war, the notes were intended for circulation in areas that could possibly be captured by the Warsaw Pact including Denmark, The Netherlands or Germany.

Emblazoned with the skylines of several Polish cities, they range in value from one to 2,000 zloty and will be on public display at the national mint in Warsaw as of next year.

Created by the Soviet Union in 1955 as a military alliance grouping its satellite states in eastern Europe, the Warsaw Pact crumbled along with the USSR in 1991 leaving the NATO Western defence alliance free of its arch-rival.

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