On Wednesday 30 March, at the Faculty of Law of Masaryk University, the Czech National Bank presented a commemorative banknote honouring the creation of a Czechoslovak currency, bearing a portrait of Karel Engliš, the first rector of MU and a prominent figure in interwar Czechoslovakia.
It is only the second commemorative banknote to be issued in the history of the Czech National Bank and the first to feature a hologram. From this day, the Czech National Bank will release 20,000 of these notes. Although the note’s nominal value is 100 Kč, that is not the selling price. Due to the limited number of banknotes issued and their collectable nature, the price will be much higher.
Karel Engliš was an exceptional, timeless figure in Czech history and the most prominent economic theorist in interwar Czechoslovakia, who influenced two generations of Czech economists. Shortly after the founding of Czechoslovakia, he submitted a proposal to establish Masaryk University. “For our university, this event is very special, for more than 100 years later we still have much to thank Karel Engliš for. He was instrumental in founding our university and was a devoted follower of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, with whom he had a relationship of mutual respect,” said MU Rector Martin Bareš about his predecessor.
“Karel Engliš played a major role in the history of Masaryk University; he was not only its first rector and a key player in designing and adopting the university insignia, but he was also instrumental in constructing the MU Faculty of Law. This day belongs to a truly great man. Now we can pay back at least part of the debt we owe to Karel Engliš, who after 1948 endured much under the communist regime; his work was systematically destroyed, and he eventually died in poverty and forgotten,” added Bareš.
There is a natural connection between Masaryk University and the Czech National Bank. Karel Engliš, who served as the minister of finance in six governments, also helped found the National Bank of Czechoslovakia in 1926, which he was also governor of.
“I personally consider Karel English to be the greatest economist in Czechoslovak and Czech history. I believe that the decision to portray Karel Engliš on the second commemorative banknote in the history of the Czech National Bank will contribute to the public appreciation of this figure and his legacy,” said Jiří Rusnok, the governor of the Czech National Bank.
The commemorative banknote was designed by academic painter Eva Hašková. On the obverse of the banknote is, besides a portrait of Karel Engliš, also a unique hologram depicting the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk medal. The central motif on the reverse is a pair of titans from the facade of the Clam-Gallas Palace in Prague, the former headquarters of the Ministry of Finance of the Czechoslovak Republic.
The 100-crown note dedicated to Karel Engliš is being issued two years after the release of the first commemorative banknote, featuring a portrait of Alois Rašín. The Czech National Bank will release a third commemorative banknote in 2026 to mark the 100th anniversary of the National Bank of Czechoslovakia. It will depict another important figure in the history of building the Czechoslovak currency – the first governor of the National Bank of Czechoslovakia, Vilém Pospíšil.
The banknote featuring Karel Engliš’s likeness can be purchased exclusively from selected licensed partners of the Czech National Bank.