Q: Was Slovak currency once called something like "zlatka"?
The zlatka (also zlatý, sometimes zlatá) used to be one of the rather confusing array of monetary units in currency in the Kingdom of Hungary even before it became a province of the Habsburg empire. The first zlatky were minted in the Kingdom in the early 1300s. The plurals of zlatka and zlatý are zlatky and zlaté (with quantifiers 5+: zlatiek and zlatých).
The same coin was also called dukát (ducat) in Slovak. Its other names were florén or florin (they were first minted in Florence), Gulden in German, forint (historically florint) in Hungarian.
Although the word zlatka was derived from “gold,” it was not necessarily a gold coin throughout the history of the Kingdom. For instance, the 8-gulden coin and the 4-Gulden coin did contain gold in the late 19th century, but the 2-Gulden coin and smaller ones were made of silver by then. Eventually, the range of monetary units was reduced by the Habsburgs in 1892 and 1 Gulden was replaced by 2 crowns (koruna - koruny/korún).
Kremnica Mint since 1329
The first coin that is known to have been minted at the Royal Mint in Kremnica (central Slovakia, gold and silver mines; the mint may be the oldest company in Europe still in operation) was the silver groš in 1329. In 1335, Kremnica began to mint gold ducats, i.e., zlatkas, that became a prestigious currency in Central Europe for about 500 years, because they contained 1/12th of a carat more gold than the ducats produced in the neighboring countries. The last ducats were minted there in 1881.
Kremnica started to mint the silver toliar (Taler - dollar, called guldiner then) in 1499. Silver and gold in the coins of the Kingdom began to give way to copper on a large scale in 1753, after a government budget crisis. Around that time, Vienna also began to introduce banknotes (1762). The denominations were 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 Gulden.
Befuddling monetary system
The mutual relationship of one monetary unit to another was not always clear-cut as we know it today (1 dollar = 100 cents). Moreover, the coins contained silver or gold, whose market value changed independently of each other, and the value/price of each coin relative to others could reflect that. Their value was also affected over time by the changes in the silver and gold content of a given currency unit mandated by the kings.
The Slovak names of the monetary units were mostly derived from German: toliar, zlatka/zlatý/zlatá (a Slovak word) or dukát, groš, grajciar, denár (½ grajciar), štvrťgrajciar or grešľa (fenig), and halier.
The Kingdom's popular ½ Kreuzer coin was called denár. It was discontinued in 1780. The word fenig/Pfennig did not have much currency in Slovak, nor did the coin in the Kingdom. The corresponding minted coin was usually labeled and called a ¼ Kreuzer.
Crowns to euros
In 1892 the monarchy’s currency was simplified to 1 Krone = 100 Heller. The equivalency was 1 Gulden = 2 Krone. The coins included: 1 Heller; 2 Heller; 10 Heller; 20 Heller; 1 Krone; 2 Krone; 5 Krone.
The Slovaks called them koruna (plural: koruny, korún) and halier (plural: haliere, halierov), and it remained the name of Slovakia’s currency until its replacement by the euro (plural 2, 3, 4 eurá, 5+ eur) in 2009.