Paul Keres 5-Kroon Note Front
Paul Keres 5-Kroon Note Front

Paul Keres 5-Kroon Banknote

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Paul keres 5 Kroon Banknote
Part Number: gm-paul-keres-kroon
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Paul Keres was an Estonian chess grandmaster, and a renowned chess writer. He was among the world's top players from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s.  When the Iron Curtain came down in 1992 Estonia immediately printed currency and honored Keres by putting him on their 5 Krooni note.  In 2016 The European Union allowed Estonia to Design the 2 Euro coin and they again honored their hero by putting him on the obverse.  These are the only two instances  where a chess player appears on world money.

Keres narrowly missed a chance at a world championship match on five occasions. He won the 1938 AVRO tournament, which led to negotiations for a title match against champion Alexander Alekhine, but the match never took place due to World War II. After the war Keres was runner-up in the Candidates' Tournament on four consecutive occasions. 

Due to these and other strong results, many chess historians consider Keres the strongest player never to become world champion and one of the greatest players in history. He was nicknamed "Paul the Second", "The Eternal Second" and "The Crown Prince of Chess"

The 5-kroon banknotes were printed in 1991, 1992 and 1994 by the British printing house Thomas De La Rue and Company Ltd.



The front side of the 5-kroon banknote features PAUL KERES (1916–1975) – an International Grand Master chess player and a prominent chess theorist. Keres won the Estonian chess championship for the first time in 1935 and international championships in Bad Nauheim in 1936. He participated in more than 70 international tournaments. Keres was one of the main claimants to the title of World Champion during 1930-1960. To the right of Paul Keres’ portrait, there are chessboard squares with a pawn equipped with a sword and shield, and a knight on a horse.



The back side of the banknote features a view of the Narva River with Narva Hermann Castle on its left bank and Ivangorod Fortress on the right, constituting a historical and architectural ensemble on the European Union border. Narva Castle was established by the Danes in the 13th century and Ivangorod Fortress was erected by the Russians at the end of the 15th century. Both strongholds were severely damaged during World War II. Restoration of the buildings started in 1955 and the work is still ongoing. The strongholds are also open to the public.


In 1994, an additional series of 5-kroon banknotes was printed by the British printing house Thomas De La Rue and Company Ltd. The new notes were put into circulation in 1997. The design,colours and basic security features of the new series are the same as on the 1991 and 1992 notes, only some security elements were updated and some more advanced ones added. The area to the left of the portrait has been printed in UV fluorescent silver. In the vertical serial number, each following number from the top down is bigger  than the previous one. Instead of the multi-coloured guilloche in the lowerright  corner, there is a stylised image of a cornflower. On both the front and back sides, the image of the cornflower has coloured and uncoloured areas. When the note is held up to the light, the coloured and uncoloured areas on the front and back sides  overlap and form a full image of a cornflower

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