Czech one crown coin 1957: an incredible dissidence act!

Czech one crown coin 1957: an incredible dissidence act!

Numismatics can be full of surprises. This short video, produced by the British Museum, highlights the Czech crown coin, the winning project of the official coin competition,  launched in 1957 by the Czech government. This coin was to remain in circulation after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Eastern bloc.

Czech one crown coin 1957: an incredible dissidence act!
Czech 1957 one crown coin

The coin depicts a woman kneeling to plant a Linden tree, a symbol of the Czechoslovak Republic. It appears to be an allegorical figure, as numismatics has been able to highlight so many of them. In France, this was the case with the ROTY sower, for decades.

And yet, this piece has an importance and meaning that goes far beyond that. Indeed, the engraver Maria marie Uchytilovà gave this woman the features of a living person, a dissident imprisoned by the communist regime, Bredriska SYNKOVA. She had been imprisoned because she was one of the leaders of a Scout movement, organizations banned by the communist regime.

Czech one crown coin 1957: an incredible dissidence act!
Bredriska SYNKOVA – ID picture early years – Czech TV

She had been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Maria UCHYTILOVA worked with Bredriska SYNKOVA’s mother. Shocked by the arrest of her daughter, she asked her mother for a picture of the prisoner in order to make the silhouette of the woman kneeling on the obverse of a crown coin.

Czech one crown coin 1957: an incredible dissidence act!
Artist Maria UCHYTILOVA working on 1957 one crown coin plaster

All this has been done without anyone knowing, especially within the Czech authorities.

This is an act of passive resistance of incredible courage when you think about what the artist could risk…

Sources: British Museum and Numismag.

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