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20 Gulden 1937, Danzig

in Krause book Number: 63
Years of issue: 01.11.1937
Signatures: Unknown signature
Serie: 1937 Issue
Specimen of: 1937
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 120 х 70
Printer: Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company Limited, New Malden

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

20 Gulden 1937




Many sites write that the watermark on this banknote is a mask, an allegorical figure.

So far, what kind of figure (king) is it, is it a mask or some kind of bas-relief that really exists in Gdansk today - all this remains a mystery to me.

I will be very grateful for any information on the watermark on this banknote!


20 Gulden 1937


Centered is the Artus Court (Artushof), central building on Długi Targ 44.

The Artus Court, formerly also Junkerhof (Polish: Dwór Artusa; German: Artushof), is a building in the centre of Gdańsk, Poland (German: Danzig), at Długi Targ 44, which used to be the meeting place of merchants and a centre of social life. Today it is a point of interest of numerous visitors and a branch of the Gdańsk History Museum.

The name was taken from the very popular medieval legend of King Arthur - a symbol of chivalry and gallantry. First in England, then in other European countries, his name was given to the houses where knights and aristocrats used to meet. In Poland Artus courts were founded and visited by bourgeoisie. There were several courts in Rzeczpospolita but the one in Gdańsk was by far the most famous. In the early XIV century Artus Courts existed in the Hanseatic towns of Elbing (Elbląg), Riga and Stralsund and similar courts like the House of the Blackheads at Riga and Tallinn. It was home to six fraternities which took their names from benches (Banken), the Reinhold's, St. Christopher's or Lübecker, Marienburger, Biblical Magi's, Counsillors' and the Dutch bench. These Confraternities were usually organized according to the merchant's or shipowner's trade relations, e.g. with Lübeck, the Netherlands or Poland and gathered the local elite - members of aristocracy and wealthy bourgeoisie. Already in 1492 merchants from England were allowed to appear at the Court. The entrance was banned for craftsmen, stall-keepers and hired workers. Wealthy merchants and visitors from abroad gathered here in the evenings. They paid for beverages in advance: 3 Schillings in the 17th century. Initially, at least in theory, talking about dealings was forbidden in the Court as the yard in front of it was designated for such purposes. Different performances took place in the evenings - musicians, singers, rope-dancers and jugglers came to amuse the visitors. Although they were officially banned, gambling, dice and card games as well as various bets were very popular. Normally only beverages and small snacks were served, but sometimes big feasts, which lasted even for a couple of days, were organized there. Especially at the end of the XVII century the feasts organized with great splendour began to turn into all-night drinking bouts. More and more complaints about the customs in the Court were made.

The great tiled heating stove in Artus Court.

However, not only social meetings took place in the Court. In the XVII century librarians presenting books printed in Danzig appeared there, as well as painters with their art; the banning order for other tradesmen did not apply to them.

The heyday of the Artus Court falls into XVI and XVII century, but its history is much longer. The name of the building "curia regis Artus" (The Court of King Artus), which was built in the years 1348-1350, appeared for the first time in 1357 in the municipal note about the land rental from 1350.

Another building was probably built in 1379. Its traces were probably found during the archeological excavations in 1991. This building of the Court burnt down in 1476. It was reconstructed few years later, and in 1552 a new façade was constructed which was once more rebuilt in 1617 by Abraham van den Blocke in the style of Dutch Mannerism. The building was adorned with statues of antique heroes (Scipio Africanus, Themistocles, Marcus Furius Camillus and Judas Maccabeus), allegories of strength and justice above and the statue of Fortuna on the gable. Medallions with busts of King of Poland Sigismund III Vasa and his son Władysław IV Vasa, who was a prince at that time, were placed on each side of the portal.

Throughout the Lutheran Reformation the Reinhold's bench organized an anti-Catholic carnival play in 1522, which was staged inside the court.


Artus Court was seriously damaged during the East Pomeranian Offensive of the Red Army in 1945, but it was rebuilt after the war. A vast part of the equipment, including the furnace, were reconstructed with the use of materials hidden from the city before the front moved into Gdańsk.

The building was entered into the register of monuments on 25 February 1967.

On the front wall of the Court there is a memorial board from 1965 commemorating the 20th anniversary of placing the Polish flag on the Artus Court by the soldiers of the 1st Armoured Brigade.

Currently the interior of the Artus Court is open for visitors - there is also the department of the Gdańsk History Museum.

Artushof Artushof

The banknote depicts the coat of arms of Danzig, on which the lions look in different directions! I have not yet found such a coat of arms.

On the coat of arms - on the sides of the shield, with two crosses, two golden lions holding it, at the foot of the shield is a gold ribbon with the black motto NEC TEMERE NEC TIMIDE (Neither in haste nor in fear).


20 Gulden 1937


Neptune's Fountain (German: Neptunbrunnen) is a historic fountain in Gdańsk (Danzig), a mannerist-rococo masterpiece, and one of the most distinctive landmarks of the city. The fountain is located at the Długi Targ, in front of the entrance to the Artus Court. It was constructed in the early XVII century. Kashubians use a nickname Krësztof for the sculpture.

In 1549 a now unknown well was located by the entrance of Artus Court, which may have had metal decorative pieces. The well was located slightly closer to the Motława.

The local authorities of Danzig, together with Mayor Bartholomäus Schachmann wanted to raise a more notable monument. The first mason to receive an offer to complete the project was Jakob Kordes from Lübeck, but for unknown reasons, his plan was not accepted. The new fountain was to be constructed at the centre of the facade of the Artus Court, from the Green Gate the fountain would be seen with the Main town hall in the background, with the turn to the Long Lane. Neptune - the god of the sea - was to be placed facing the townhouses, which were the residence of the Polish kings, while at their stay in Danzig, the mythological god was to have his head bow down to them. The fountain was to have underground pumps connecting the fountain to the Potok Siedlecki by Sienny Market; however, the pressure was too low.

Between 1606 and 1615, there were pending projects, sculpturing, and casting. The sculpture's project was made by Abraham van den Blocke (1572–1628), with the statue made by Flemish Peter Husen. The sculpture was cast from bronze in 1615 in the town casting guild by Gerdt Benning. The mass of the figure is 650 kilograms. The stem the figure is found on, is made from black tuff. The architectural features of the fountain relate to Flemish mannerism. The water installations were made by Ottomar von Wettner, with the water systems designed by Adam Wybe. The water tanks were located on the rooftop of the Main Town Hall and Artus Court. Until the second half of the nineteenth-century, when the underground water system was modernized, the fountain was only operational a few days of the year.

Formerly, the fountain was painted. The fountain was opened on October 9, 1633, the delay was caused due to numerous disruptions: the renovation of the Artus Court; problems with the robustness of the water system; the Polish–Swedish war; and the death of Abraham van den Blocke. In 1634 the fountain was encompassed by a fence decorated with gilded Polish Eagles. The inauguration of the fountain's operation took place on March 23, 1634. Between the years of 1757 and 1761, Johann Karl Stender made new fragments of the fountain and stem, and meister blacksmith Jakob Barren had reconstructed and replaced the broken grate. This is when the fountain received its rococo architectural style.

In 1927, the fountain was renovated. In the 1930s, Nazis removed the historic Polish Eagles from the fountain's fence as part of removing traces of the city's Polish history and heritage. The fountain was damaged during World War II, and moved to German-occupied Parchowo. After World War II the fountain was renovated between 1950 and 1954 and put back to operation on July 22, 1957. Historic Polish Eagles on the fence were restored. In 1988, as part of renovation works the fountain's genitals were covered with a fig leaf. A full renovation of the fountain occurred between September 2011 and April 2012.