Special banknote printed to celebrate hockey legend Jaromír Jágr’s 50th birthday

Jaromír Jágr

Perhaps the most famous Czech ice hockey player ever, Jaromír Jágr, is celebrating his 50th birthday this Tuesday. To mark the occasion, coin maker České dukáty and the State Printing Works of Securities (STC) are printing a total of 10,000 special banknotes featuring Jágr and paying tribute to the many international successes that the golden generation of Czech ice hockey achieved at the turn of the millennium.

The front of the banknote displays the face of the Czech ice hockey legend, who is dressed in full kit, his helmet and shirt bearing the number 68. Behind him are the Czech lion and the Czech flag. Meanwhile, the parts of the banknote that usually display its value bear the number 50, which is slightly below the actual value of the piece that will be selling for CZK 2,490.

On Monday, the eve of his birthday, representatives of České dukáty, the STC and the hockey star himself, held a special press conference about the project, where Jágr joked that he liked the choice of portrait because it made him look younger.

“It looks lovely. It makes me look much better than what I look like right now, it’s probably from when I was around 35 and still had long hair.

Photo: Michal Kamaryt,  ČTK

“I would also like to say that I am very happy and consider it a big honor that I can be part of a project like this. I think that it will be one of the few things that stay after I am gone.

“I was thinking about this. Sportspeople might be depicted on collectible cards, on stamps, on coins perhaps, but, when it comes to banknotes, I think I am the only one in this country next to Václav Havel (laughs).”

The design of the banknote is the work of award winning printmaker and illustrator Eva Hašková, who has already worked on commemorative banknotes in the past, such as one depicting the First Republic Finance Minister Alois Rašín.

“I have to say I hesitated at first upon getting the offer to design this new banknote, because this is the first commemorative piece that I have been asked to make for a person that is still alive, full of health and energy. But, since he is a native of Kladno just like I am, I knew I had to do it.”

Jaromír Jágr | Photo: Ondřej Tomšů,  Radio Prague International

On the rear side of the banknote, Hašková depicted the celebrations in Prague that would welcome Czech ice hockey players, Jágr included, after their most famous victory at the Winter Olympics in Nagano in 1998, as well as during the “Golden Hattrick” era from 1999 to 2001, when the team won three World Championships in a row. Below the picture is the motto “Pride and honor is victory”.

The banknote will be printed in four series of 2,500 pieces each. Those can be bought on the website www.50jagr.cz. However, for now at least, the banknote has already been sold out.

As for the hockey star himself, he said that he will be celebrating by watching the Czech National Hockey Team play against the Swiss at the Beijing Winter Olympics. It may not have been the best start to his jubilee birthday. The Czechs lost 2:4 and did not advance into the quarterfinals - the worst result in the Olympic history of Czech ice hockey yet.