Most expensive coin ever sold in Poland: 'Huge' 400-year-old gold coin set to fetch 2.6 million PLN at auction
The most expensive coin ever to be offered for sale in Poland is to be auctioned in Warsaw later this month.
Named one of the most important coins to ever struck in Poland, the 50-ducat gold piece minted by Zygmunt III Waza in 1621 is estimate to fetch a whopping PLN 2.2 to 2.6 million.
The gold piece is one of only six similar coins. One of them, a 100-ducat, was sold in the United States in 2018 for a staggering USD 2 million.
The reason for minting such a large and impressive coin in gold remains a mystery as it was never issued into the main circulation of coinage.
Only a few copies of different denominations were minted. It was struck for a special occasion and could have been a gift, though researchers are not in agreement.
Some believe that it was commissioned by the Mint of Bydgoszcz as a gift for the king or for someone close to him.
Others believe that the coin, which due to its size resembles a medal, was ordered by Zygmunt III Waza himself and given as a reward for bravery in the Polish-Turkish war, as the year of its issue indicates.
In 1621, Zygmunt III Waza achieved great success against the Ottomans at the Battle of Chocim, which caused much admiration across Europe.
Polish forces, together with Cossacks, defeated the Turks after 26 days of fighting near Chocim in northern Bessarabia.
This compelled Ottoman Sultan Osman II to put an end to the Turkish-Polish War, which had begun with the Turkish victory at the Battle of Cecora in 1620.
The sultan had planned to conquer Ukraine, Poland, and eventually all of central Europe.
The special value of the coin is emphasized by its elaborate workmanship. It was designed by one of the most outstanding European medalists at the time, Samuel Ammon from Schaffhausen, Switzerland.
The coin delighted Sigismund III, who even granted the artist an audience at the Royal Castle in Warsaw and bestowed him with a gold chain.
Ammon on one side of the coin depicted a bust of the king without a crown, in rich armour, facing to the right. Under the bust he placed his initials SA and the date 1621.
On the reverse, under the crown, is a nine-field shield with the coats of arms of Poland and Lithuania, Sweden and Gotland, and a sheaf, the symbol of the House of Vasa.
In the rim are the words Magnus Dux Lituaniae, Russiae, Prussiae, Masoviae, Samogitiae, Livoniae et cetera.
Ammon died young at just 32 years old. Despite his short life, he managed to make his mark on the history of Polish numismatics, leaving behind an incredible legacy of coins and medals.
The 50-ducat coin comes from the mint in Bydgoszcz, a cult mint in the world of collectors. Coins minted there were known for their excellent artistic design, because the stamps for them were made by the best engravers, just like Samuel Ammon. Coins struck in Bydgoszcz were sent to many parts of Europe.
The coin will go under the hammer on November 30 during the first ever coin auction “Collection of Polish Gold Coins 1535-1925” at renowned auction house DESA Unicum.
Coins worth nearly PLN 9 million will be auctioned dating from Zygmunt I the Old to the early years of the Second Polish Republic.