Collection of Gold Polish Coins 1535 - 1925
30 November 2020 7 PM CET

Zygmunt III Waza, Crown Fifty Ducats
Mennica Bydgoszcz, Samuel Ammon
Estimate: 2,200,000 - 2,600,000 PLN
LOT number
Zygmunt III Waza, Crown Fifty Ducats
Mennica Bydgoszcz, Samuel Ammon

Estimate: 2,200,000 - 2,600,000 PLN

gold, dm. 68,2 mm, 174,9 g; on the surface of av. a series of minor scratches, one larger and deeper behind the bust
Av .: Bust of the king facing right, in a lace collar and decorative armor decorated with a lion's head mascaron on his shoulder. On the armor, a chain with the jewel of the Order of the Golden Fleece and a sash on the left shoulder fancifully tied in a bow over the right shoulder. The date 16-21 on the bow. On the armor, at the bottom, the date: · 16 · 21 · and the artist's initials · S · A · and on the left side, behind the shoulder, at the rim: 1621.
A semicircular inscription above the king's head: SIGISMVNDVS · III · D: G: POLONIAE · ET · SVECIAE · REX. At the beginning of the inscription an arabesque, at the end of the inscription a small rosette.
Rv .: Polish-Swedish 9-field shield, decorated with rich ornaments with parrots, satyr heads and festoons on the sides, and an angel's head at the bottom. Between the ornaments the letters and the date: II-VE / 1 [6] - [2] 1 / S - A /. The shield is surrounded by a chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece and covered with a crown, above which the date: 16-21.
The crown and the jewel of the order divide at the top and bottom an inscription that begins and ends with rosettes: MAGNVS · DVX · LITVAN: RVSS: -: PRVSS: MAS: SAM: LIVON: ZC:
ID: 79226
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  • Monnaies…M.E.Bourgey, Paris 1974; Stack NY grudzień 1995, poz. 821; kolekcja Henryka Karolkiewicza, The Extraordinary Collection of Henry V. Karolkiewicz featuring Polish Coins from a thousand Years, presented by Karl Stephens, December 6. 2000, pos.2222; Stacks, The Alicia and Sid Belzberg Collection, select Polish Rarities, Rosemont, Illinois, April 24. 2008, item 1006; Numismatic Antiquity Bookstore Paweł Niemczyk.
  • Marian Gumowski, Medals of Zygmunt III, Krakow 1924, pp. 94-97, item 79
  • Marian Gumowski, Samuel Ammon, 17th century Gdańsk medalist, Pomeranian Studies, vol. II, Wrocław 1957, pp. 230-279
  • Marian Gumowski, The Bydgoszcz Mint, Toruń 1955, p. 156, item 949 mentions only the copies from the Czapski collection, minted as 6 thalers and 100 ducats
More information
The Crown Hundred Ducats from 1621 and the coins of other denominations stamped with it, including the 50-ducatowka described above, are the most outstanding work of Samuel Ammon, a Gdańsk medalist from the times of Sigismund III. It is also one of the most beautiful and most important works of Polish medal art and the greatest Polish coin. It was stamped with a stamp intended for both gold and silver. Specimens minted in gold are known to weigh 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 81 (80 if that's not a mistake; copies after Niemcewicz), 90 and 100 ducats. This last multiplication is the highest gold face value in European coinage in the 17th century, weighing 350 g. Some gold-stamped copies have a value of 60, 70, 100 (ducats) on the edge, indented with numbers. There is also a known copy that had the face value of 60 (ducats) engraved in the background, next to the bust. All these items with a strong face value are definitely original minting. The pieces weighing 31 thalers, 4, 5, 6 and 10 thalers were minted in silver. Huge, for the first quarter of the 17th century, diameter (70 mm) and weight of the coin, both in gold and silver imprints, as well as richly and beautifully finished stamps prove that it is a completely unusual work in Polish coinage. It amazes with its richness and variety of details. Prof. Marian Gumowski, in the monograph of Samuel Ammon quoted above, wrote about this work as follows: "The royal portrait placed on it is full of life and character, so that it can be boldly considered the best of the various portraits of Sigismund III, even surpassing Kober's or Dolabella's oil paintings ... The portrait of Ammon gives the king more solemnity and majesty, more energy… ”. . This work is dazzling with "the richness of decorations of both the royal armor and the heraldic shield ... despite the multitude of details, it still has a feature of monumentality, which is very rare on this type of product ...". It is undoubtedly Samuel Ammon's best medal work. Such a large, beautiful and magnificent coin - a phenomenon on a European scale - undoubtedly caused the monarch's satisfaction, since Sigismund III gave the artist an audience at the Castle in Warsaw and presented him with a golden chain. Unfortunately, we do not know what was the reason for making such a great and spectacular art in gold - undoubtedly very important - hence it has been assumed for centuries that the Polish victory in 1621 over the Turks in the Battle of Khotyn was celebrated in this way, which was widely echoed in Europe. Samuel Ammon died in Gdańsk on March 30, 1622, at the age of only 31, leaving behind a medal-making legacy in the form of coin stamps, donations and medals. Most of them belonged to the Gdańsk Mint, a few to the Bydgoszcz Mint and there they were exposed to abuse and further use for over 200 years. Stamps stored improperly rusted and corroded. For re-use in later times, they were mechanically cleaned and polished, so that the details of the relief were damaged, and the "newly minted" coins on a beautiful background showed, among the details, visible signs of corrosion and damaged stamps. The specimen offered at the auction is one of these later prints from original, but cleaned stamps. Traces of stamp corrosion are visible in the letters of the inscription on the obverse. The offered specimen also has defects, both on the obverse (fragment of the inscription, central fragment of the chain and the jewel of the Order of the Golden Fleece) and on the reverse (details in the coat of arms shield, its ornaments at the bottom, the angel's head there, and one of the links in the chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece ). These deficiencies also suggest the secondary use of the stamps on the press with too little pressure, which may also be the reason for a smaller than commonly known (70 mm) diameter of the offered coin. Despite probably a bit "later minting", the offered specimen should be considered a fully original and extremely rare specimen, enchanting with its beauty and effectiveness.