Presentation of the first steam engine in our country was an epoch-making event, which took place in the Royal deer park in Prague just 200 years ago. A beautiful commemorative 200 CZK coin by the CNB reminds us of the importance the central character of this historic milestone, the inventor Josef Božek.
Josef Božek was born on 28 February in 1782 in the family of millers in Silesian Bierce. Already During his high school studies already showed his extraordinary technical talent, which he further developed at universities in Brno and Prague, where he met with the Director of Estates Polytechnic Institute František Josef Gerstner, who offered him a job at the Politechnic University. Božek constructed many models and equipment there, and also excelled as a watchmaker.
The real challenge came to him in 1810, when the Count George of Buquoy brought from England boxes of components to construct a steam engine, whose completing was actually in charge of Josef Božek. On 22 August 1815 he presented a steam car in all its glory. It looked like a carriage operated by a handlebar, which had a copper boiler and cylinders placed between the front wheels under its body. The demonstration of the steam engine was a great social event and he managed to pick enough money for the realization of another steam-driven machine; a boat. He presented it two years later, together with the improved car. However, during the event someone stole the cash register with the admission. Božek suffered considerable loss, doe to the contruction of machines he had fallen into debt. In a fit of rage, he destroyed both his creations and never returned to steam. But he did not abandon construction, with his talented descendants of František and Romuland they founded a companyEngineering Works Božek and sons and he devoted mainly to water pumping engines, railroad cars for horse-drawn railway and watchmaking.
The Commission, together with the Bank Board of the Czech National Bank, this time chose two of a dizzying array of leading Czech artists, who took part in the competition to design a new commemorative 200 CZK pure silver coin in proof quality. The first one, the Academic sculptor Zbyněk Fojtů, realized a precise form of relief of the steam engine that adorns the obverse side of the coin along with the inscription CZECH REPUBLIC and CZK 200 denomination. The reverse side provided space for wonderful portrait of Josef Božek from the workshop of MA. Martin Dašek. The topic is completed by the tasteful inscritions around the perimeter – DEMOSTRATION OF THE STEAM CAR, JOSEF BOŽEK and the years 1815-2015. Enrich your collection with another beautiful numismatic unique object!