Humanities and Social Sciences

Wiadomości Numizmatyczne


Wiadomości Numizmatyczne | 2019 | Rok LXIII

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The main goal of the paper is an attempt to find specific models for Stephen Báthory’s medals with the reverse LIVON(ia) POLOT(ia)Q(ue) RECEPTA and to precise the general opinion, repeated from early 17th century, that the engraver borrowed the appearance of his specimen from a Roman coin of emperors Vespasian and /or Titus. An analysis of the iconography and the inscriptions layout suggests that there were Vespasian’s sestertii RIC II2 161–162 with the mirror-reversed picture or figures from Titus’ sestertii RIC II2 150–153 which had an impact on the reverse of the Polish king’s medal. The paper presents also the medal as a part of propaganda actions of the Polish court after the Truce of Jam Zapolski in 1582, because at the same time panegyrics Gratulationum triumphalium ex Moscoviticis orationes III by Andreas Patricius Nidecki and De bello Moscovitico commentariorum libri sex by Reinhold Heideinstein were published.

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Authors and Affiliations

Bartosz Awianowicz
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The article is an attempt at an analysis of the information contained in Ludwig von Baczko’s article, titled Von einigen in Preussen gefundenen römischen Münzen. The text was published in 1780, in the periodical “Das preussische Tempe” in Königsberg. The information from the publication was used only by Sture Bolin in his catalogue of the finds of Roman coins (Bolin 1926). The “Das preussische Tempe” was practically lost and its only copy remained in the National Library in Moscow.


In the article Von einigen in Preussen gefundenen römischen Münzen authored by Ludwig Franz Adolf Josef von Baczko, published in the “Das preussische Tempe” in 1780 some information on the finds of antique coins was published. The author mentioned two Roman coins of Augustus and Tiberius for Livia found in the Elbląg area. The information does not allow any conclusion on whether the find was authentic and the Elbląg area was indeed the place of the discovery of two “bronze” Roman coins, one of which had the image of Justitia or Pietas on its obverse. The subsequent finds, mentioned by von Baczko, came from the areas of Klaipėda (German: Memel), Zheleznodorozhny (German: Gerdaunen), Kaliningrad Oblast (Russia), Krylowo (German: Nordenburg), Kaliningrad Oblast (Russia) and Tilsit, today Sovetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast (Russia). He identified Philip the Arab as the issuer. Von Baczko provided some more questionable information concerning 83 silver coins which “had been brought from those areas to Königsberg by a Polish Jew in 1774”. The Polish Jew suggested that the coins could be easily found in Samogitia, not far from the Prussian border, in remains of an old building. Von Baczko decided that the information was incomplete as it pointed only to the existence of the foundations of an old, stone building. All the information about the 83 coins presented above bring to mind the typical accounts of coin traders of the time.

Von Baczko informed also that “he was shown a few more coins” which had been discovered, as he was said “zu Höle bei Danzig”, so in today’s Gdańsk Ujeścisko. They were silver Vespasian’s coins with images of “various Judean sacrificial vessels” on reverses, there was also a coin with the representation of a “veiled woman” and the legend IVDEA CAPTA. The information about the find appeared in all catalogues of the Roman coins found on the Polish territory. The discovery was described as a hoard consisting of an unknown number of pennies from the period between Vespasian and Septimius Severus or Caracalla (the coin struck for Julia Domna). Sture Bolin repeated the information faithfully after von Baczko, so the discovery of the 1780 “Das preussische Tempe” does not contribute much to the matter in question. The only novelty is that von Baczko questioned the find’s authenticity, supporting his opinion with a vague remark about “das zu wenig erhobene Gepräge”, which implied that he considered the coins to be contemporary products.

Further in his article, von Baczko deliberates on how the coins had got to Prussia. He refers to some unspecified writers (“verschiedene Schriftsteller”) who suspected the presence of Romans by the Baltic Sea but emphasises that he does not know any written record by a Roman historian which would confirm the Roman presence so far away from the Empire’s borders. Von Baczko then suggests that the coins may have come as loot. He observed that Old Prussians had had the custom of leaving spoils taken from their enemies in the urns of their heroes. He argued that after the urns were destroyed by time, the coins that remained came to the surface as a result of land cultivation.

Having been long searched for, when eventually found von Baczko’s article turned out not to be particularly useful in interpreting the records concerning the coins. The lack of results is, however, also a result. There are a lot of laconic and arbitrary descriptions of coins which did not help to identify particular specimens. Based on the article, we may assume that he saw the coins and identified and described them himself. The legends he quotes are usually incorrect, but they did appear on Roman coins, so he did not invent them completely. He knew what could be found on Roman coins. It is also evident that he had a considerable knowledge of ancient Rome for his times.

While comparing von Baczko’s article with similar contemporary texts one may arrive at the conclusion that it is a typical product of Prussian scholars of the time, such as A. Grübnau, M. Praetorius, C.B. Lengnich. The coins were described selectively, only those specimens that for some reason attracted the attention of the authors mentioned above. The descriptions are incomplete, what is more, the described obverses do not match the reverses. Based on von Baczko’s article, one may conclude that he wrote about what he could discern on the coin. There is much to make us believe that having read the obverse legend on one coin, he coupled it with the reverse of another coin, while a third one provided the image. Such an approach was certainly adopted in the case of the solidi from the Mrzezin hoard. The author, who signed himself with an “X” described the obverse of Anastasius I’s solidus and the reverse of the Ostrogoth imitation of the same type of coin.

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Authors and Affiliations

Renata Ciołek
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The text discusses medieval and modern sepulchral finds of coins from Eastern Europe, conventionally referred to as the “obol of the dead”. For the first time the phenomenon was observed in 8th century graves of nomads in the Khazar Khaganate. In the 9th and 10th century, Arab dirhams and Byzantine miliarenses appear in graves in the areas of the Scandinavian expansion, mainly in the basin of the upper Volga and the Dnieper. In the 11th century the custom of equipping the dead with coins becomes common and it is mainly West European pennies that are used for the purpose. In the 12th and 13th century, the practice becomes virtually obsolete to experience a revival in the 15th century. In modern times the observance of the custom reaches its peak in the 17th century and remains to be recorded in ethnographic sources until today.


The text presents the custom of equipping the dead with coins, followed in medieval and modern Eastern Europe.

In this area coins appear for the first time in richly equipped graves of nomads, dated to the 8th century, along the lower course of the Don and Volga rivers in the Khazar Khaganate. They are predominantly gold issues — Byzantine solidi and gold-plated dirhams, placed in the mouth of the dead.

In the 9th and 10th centuries coins and their fragments, which can be referred to as “the obol of the dead”, occur in the barrow mounds in the north-west areas of ancient Rus’, on the east and south coast of Ladoga Lake, in the interfluve of the Volga and the Oka as well as in sites located along the upper and middle course of the Dnieper, particularly in the Czernichow Land. In the second part of the 10th and 11th century the custom becomes widespread, and most of the finds come from inhumation burial. Apart from those areas, coins appear in graveyards located along the upper course of the Volga River, in the areas of Lake Peipus and Lake Ilmen as well as in the basin of the Dnieper and further down to Kiev. Characteristically enough, all the sites are located in the area of the Scandinavian expansion and colonisation.

The predominant types of coins found in graves dated to the 10th century are Arab dirhams as well as Byzantine folles, miliarenses and solidi. It should also be noted that graves with pendant-coins become more frequent. At the end of the 10th century there is an observable decrease in the inflow of Arab gold into the Baltic region. At the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century, coins from Western Europe appear and dominate the entire next century. They are usually German issues, but also English and, to a smaller extent, Bohemian and Hungarian coins. Interestingly enough, the number of coins left in the form of “the obol of the dead” is much higher than that of pendant-coins. Sometimes the local, Rus’ coins occur, although rather infrequently.

In the 12th and 13th century the custom of equipping the dead with coins disappears completely from the forest zone of Eastern Europe, which is caused by the cessation of the inflow of Western European coins into Novgorod Rus’ and predominantly, by the evolution of burial practices, manifesting itself in abandoning the custom of equipping the dead. In the 13th and 14th century, after the Mongol invasions, coins reappear in the graves of the nomads of the Golden Horde, who bring the custom from the grasslands of Central Asia. The finds are dominated by Golden Horde issues.

In the 14th century, coins are occasionally used in the burials of Lithuanian and Slavic population in the Polish-Rus’ and Lithuanian-Rus’ border areas (today’s Eastern Poland and Grodno Region). In the latter case, the finds of coins are particularly frequent in graves from the 15th century. Similarly to the 11th century Rus’ this is an area of intensive Christianisation and transformations of burial practices. Outside the Grodno Region, the coins appear frequently in graves across Lithuania, Samogitia, Semigallia, Latgale, Livonia and Courland. In the 16th century, coins start to appear in graves of newly Christianised Finno-Ugric peoples of Mari, Mordva and Udmurt. They appear both as the “obols of the dead” and pendants in lavishly decorated necklaces and hats.

The culmination of the practice of equipping the death with coins falls on the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. The areas of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and of the Grand Duchy of Moscow are dominated by local issues, mostly small coins of low nominal value.

In archaeological sources, there is a rapid decrease in the number of sepulchral finds of coins in graves from the second half of the 18th century. We know of only one burial with coins from the 19th century. Similarly, coins were discovered only in one 20th-century grave, which does not, however, signify that the practice of equipping the dead disappeared — it only reflects the current state of examination of contemporary archaeological sites. Ethnographic sources frequently record the tradition of equipping the death and confirm the presence of such practices in the areas of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Poland.

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Łukasz Miechowicz
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The main objective of the article is to organise our knowledge about the coinage of the last years of Boleslaus IV the Curly’s reing, based on the coins from the medieval Głogów hoard and the hoard from Dąbrowa Górnicza-Łosień. A very rare penny of the Stronczyński 54 type with the image of a rider on its obverse and the reverse with the name BOLЄZLAV/BOLЄZLVS, inscribed into three arches will be described in detail. The text will present the latest results of the study of the coin (including the traces of overstrikes), weight analysis and the types of dies and their combinations.


The article was created based on a paper of the same title, presented at the International Numismatic Conference, „Numismatica Centroeuropea III” in Bystrzyca Kłodzka. In the recent years, owing to the discovery of the Dąbrowa Górnicza-Łosień hoard, the studies on Boleslaus IV the Curly’s coinage have gained momentum. Its analysis provided an impulse for conducting similar studies on the ruler’s coins from the medieval Głogów hoard, discovered in 1987. Four types of pennies, occurring in small numbers, have been published so far and the time has come to publish the fifth penny, classified as type 54 according to Kazimierz Stronczyński. 220 pennies were analysed for the purpose of this article.

The initial objects of the analysis were the obverse and reverse images, categorised into variants and variations. Seven obverse and three reverse variants were distinguished. Additionally, within each variant a few to several variations, differing in small details, were also identified. Each variant has been described in a table. The coins were then examined in terms of their dies combination, and the results have been presented in the form of a diagram.

The next stage involved the comparison of the data obtained for the Str. 54 penny with that of its predecessors, published in the monograph of the Dąbrowa Górnicza-Łosień hoard. While comparing the weights, the data provided by Professor Suchodolski in his book “Mennictwo polskie w XI i XIII wieku/Polish coinage in the 11th and 12th century” was also referred to. The weights of all five types were presented in the form of a histogram. Another interpretation of the overstrikes, observed on coins from the medieval Głogów hoard, was also published. The Str. 54 penny opened a series of subsequently overstruck pennies. A hypothesis was proposed that some of the coins ascribed previously to Boleslaus IV the Curly might have been struck by Boleslaus I the Tall, son of Vladislaus II the Exile. The verification of the hypothesis requires further studies on the coins from the medieval Głogów hoard which participated in this unusual sequence of overstrikes. Unfortunately, there are still over several thousand of such coins to be examined. Finally, 17 type Str. 54 pennies discovered outside the medieval Głogów hoard were published. They come from the hoards from Anusin and Golice, single finds from Masłowice and Wilkowice and from private collections. The coins were examined in the same manner and included in the catalogue of die variants and varieties and the diagram of die combinations.

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Authors and Affiliations

Krystian Książek
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The work is devoted to Polish pennies from the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th century with the image of a bishop with a long cross staff and a knight fighting a lion which occurred in the Głogów II hoard in a significant number. So far the pennies have been classified as the issues of the Silesian duke, Boleslaus I the Tall. The author demonstrates that the coins (Str. 46) present the Archbishop of Gniezno, Henryk Kietlicz (1199–1219) and may have been struck from the spring of 1207 till the end of 1211, probably in the mint of the Silesian duke, Henry the Bearded, in Głogów.


Among the two most numerous denar types in the Głogów hoard (1987) there was a denar with a depiction of a bishop with a long cross staff on the obverse and a knight fighting a lion on the reverse (Stronczyński type 46, MA-H in Głogów, at least 5015 specimens. Figs. 1 a, b). This type of denar, previously known only from two nineteenthcentury hoards and several specimens, constitutes about one-fourth of the entire Głogów (1987) hoard. Suchodolski ascribed it to Boleslaw the Tall, duke of Silesia, ruling in the years 1173 to 1185/1190. According to Suchodolski’s interpretation, this type refers to the heritage of the Silesian dukes’ father and the mint of Wrocław, while the letters SA and the figure on the coin should be associated with St Adalbert.

I will try to show that this type of coins presents the Archbishop of Gniezno, Henry Kietlicz (1199–1219) and the denars may have been minted from the spring of 1207 to the end of 1211, probably in Duke Henry I the Bearded of Silesia’s mint in Głogów (if it existed at that time), Legnica or Wrocław.

The church and political activity of Archbishop Henry Kietlicz, his reforming and political initiatives as the leader of the younger dukes faction in the first decade of the 13th century were aimed at winning the independence of the Polish Church from secular power and even securing its domination.

In 1206, a serious conflict broke out between the political party of Vladislas the Spindleshank and the coalition of Leszek the White, Vladislas Odonic and Archbishop Henry Kietlicz. The archbishop’s aim was to increase the importance of the Church in the state and among secular powers. He wanted to transfer the right to elect bishops to cathedral chapters, subordinate Church officials solely to diocesan authorities and guarantee the Church the right to inherit after deceased clergymen. He was also interested in making the ecclesiastical judiciary independent of state authority. In return, the archbishop promised to acknowledge Leszek as the ruler of Cracow after the latter had committed a coup d’état. However, the aims of the ecclesiastical reform clashed with the traditional ius ducale system, executed by the faction of Vladislas Spindleshanks.

Vladislas Spindleshanks, being at the time the duke of Greater Poland, entered Gniezno, the then archbishop’s see, seized the cathedral treasury and confiscated the land estates of the archbishop and his supporters, whom he later locked up in the cathedral, turning it into a prison. By doing so, he has bereft the bishop of his funds and prevented him from taking any further actions. Kietlicz, who was effectively banished from Gniezno, headed to Silesia to get financial support from Duke Henry the Bearded, and later went to Rome, as the head of the “juniors” party delegation.

Between 4 and 13 January 1207, the papal chancery issued 27 documents concerning Poland. This proves the great engagement of Pope Innocent III in Polish matters and particularly in the ecclesiastical reforms implemented by Archbishop Kietlicz. The Pope granted the Archbishop decisive support, both in the church-political dispute with Vladislas Spindleshanks and in the conducted reform. This helped to consolidate the archbishop’s faction.

Some of the issued documents concerned financial matters, such as the collection of Peter’s Pence and the tithe, which were of interest not so much to Kietlicz but to the Holy See. In the bulla dated 5 January and addressed to the Polish dukes, the Pope indicated the fraud that the addressees of the document had committed. This is the very document that contains the words known so well to Polish numismatists: moneta per annum apud vos tertio renovetur, referring to the fact that the tributes paid to the Pope at the end of the year were paid with a coin that had undergone three recoinages, thus of lower value.

From that point, instead of the duke it was the Archbishop of Gniezno who was given the responsibility to oversee the quality of the inflows of fees for the Holy See, as well as the tithe in Poland.

In another bulla, the Pope appealed to the Polish bishops and clergy, urging them to give the Archbishop the greatest possible help and financial support. Kietlicz, who had been expelled and deprived of any church-related income, was forced to cover all his expenses from his hereditary assets and to borrow money. His debts must have been high, since the Pope, in a separate document, granted their repayment. They had been incurred not only to cover the costs of the mission to Rome but mainly to finance the military efforts of Vladislas Odonic. It is believed that the loan was given by Henry the Bearded, against the deposit of Kietlicz’s family estate in Silesia.

A papal document from the 12 January 1207 was of special importance for Archbishop Henry Kietlicz. It was addressed directly to him and granted him the right to use the processional cross staff (crux gestatoria). This honour, usually given to the papal legates81, raised the authority and prestige as well as was considered a clear sign of the Pope’s support for the reforms. Such a figure of a bishop holding a processional cross is depicted on the obverse of the coins from the Głogów treasury (Fig. 1 a, b). None of the Polish priests of this age, other than the Archbishop of Gniezno, Henry Kietlicz, could and had the right to be presented this way.

No later than in the summer of 1207, Kietlicz in collaboration with Henry the Bearded, supported his candidate Lawrence in the election for the position of Bishop of Wrocław. He stayed in Głogów, from where he could effectively oversee Vladislas Odonic’s actions in his fight against Spindleshank as well as the church-related matters. He possibly received the permit from Henry the Bearded to produce denars from the silver collected by his subordinate clergy, which were partially directed to Henry’s treasury to repay the debt. The production of these coins could have taken place in the mint in Głogów or Legnica, even though Wroclaw cannot be excluded as a possibility. The production started in the middle of 1207 and lasted until 1211 — that is until the final resolution of the conflict was eventually achieved during the assembly in Borzykowa and the arrival of the Pope’s legates who came to solve the issue.

The presented denars with the bishop and the processional cross are the realization of this intention. The letters on the coin, accompanying the figure, reading S[anctvs] A[dalbertvs] mean that the Archbishop of Gniezno, although in exile, does not cease to be the shepherd of the whole Polish metropolis under the patronage of St Adalbert the Martyr. Fig. 8 depicts Kietlicz’s coins compared to other double-sided coins, minted at that time by Mieszko Tanglefoot and Henry the Bearded, pointing to their slightly higher value. Kietlicz had to ensure that the coin he introduced to the money market was of good quality and value, so that it could be accepted without reservation.

The Pope’s bulla from 1210 as well as the claim of Henry the Bearded resulting from his rights of primogeniture in the Silesian line reignited political unrest. The agreement was reached at the assembly in Borzykowa, at which Henry the Bearded renounced his rights to the Cracow throne in favor of the aged Duke of Racibórz-Opole, Mieszko Tanglefood, who died the following year. Archbishop Kietlicz returned to the Gniezno cathedral only after Leszek the White took over the Kraków throne after Mieszko’s death and after the papal judges arrived in mid-1211 to resolve the conflict that had been going on for five years. I am concluding that minting of coins for Kietlicz in the Silesian mint lasted at least until then.


Strong arguments supporting the hypothesis that it is Archbishop Kietlicz who is depicted on the presented denars result from the discovery of his tomb in Tum near Łęczyca during archaeological research conducted there. At the remains of the clergyman who was buried there, a silver crucifix with a figure of Christ attached and a spike to be placed on a spar (Fig. 3) was found. Such a cross was used only by eminent priests, who received the right of the processional cross from the Pope as a reward for exceptional merits or by legates sent by the Pope to settle local conflicts. As mentioned, such a right was granted by Innocent III to Archbishop Henry Kietlicz in 1207, and only he could be buried in this tomb. A similar right, given to the Archbishops of Gniezno, was granted only at the Council in Constance debating in 1414–1418, together with the title of the Primate of Poland to Archbishop Nicholas Trąba.

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Authors and Affiliations

Witold Nakielski
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The purpose of this article is to determine the origins of the enigmatic image appearing on a Silesian bracteate of the Rataje type (Fbg 70). The image has recently been interpreted as radiating circles of light and its symbols associated with St John the Baptist, whose figure appears on Silesian coins relatively often. While analysing the numismatic material, the author focuses on two types of coins which may have served as the model for the Silesian bracteate: half-bracteate from Hedeby, issued in all probability during the reign of Harald Bluetooth (958–987) and the Celtic stater, struck in Lesser Poland (or in Silesia) in the first third of the 1st century BC.


One Silesian bracteate from the Rataje group (the issue from 1220–1240) features an image which should be interpreted as radiating circles of light (fig. 1). A closer analysis allows the conclusion that such an interpretation might be based on the Prologue to John’s Gospel, where John the Baptist is associated with the symbolism of light (J 1, 4–9). In the text, Christ’s predecessor is presented as the witness to the Light, heralding the arrival of the Saviour.

While looking for the model, the creator of the die of the Rataje bracteate may have relied on, one might arrive at two alternative solutions. The first one may be related to the half-bracteates struck in Hedeby, associated with the first half of the 10th century and sometimes with the times of Harald Bluetooth’s rule (958–987) (fig. 3), which were, in turn, modelled on Charles the Great’s pennies, struck in Dorestad approximately until the year 790 (fig. 2). Younger half-bracteates from Hedeby, coined in the second half of the 10th century appear both in Pomeranian (such as Gralewo II, Rybice or Świnoujście–Przytór) and Silesian finds (Bystrzyca, Gębice, Kotowice II and Radzików II). Hence, it is possible that they served as the model for the Silesian bracteate in the era of advanced renewal, necessitating frequent changes in the appearance of the dies.

The other solution would identify Celtic staters of the Cracow type as the model for the Rataje bracteate. The coins minted in Lesser Poland from around 100 BC to around 30 AD were described by Marcin Rudnicki in 2012. On some specimens, classified by the scholar as group I, representing “the earliest, prototype variants of the Cracow type” and dated by him to the period from around 100 to around 70 BC, the elements of the die form a composition significantly similar to the image on the Rataje bracteate. Although the Cracow type staters have not been recorded in Silesia, there is no doubt that the coins reached the region, a fact confirmed by their occurrence in Central Poland as well as in Bohemia, Slovakia and as far as in the Zagreb area.

Using the Celtic stater as the iconographic model for the Silesian bracteate might have been connected with the so-called “heads” or “St John pennies”. The name, appearing in sources from 1445 onwards, although certainly used in Poland much earlier, was given to Roman coins, found mainly in Polish lands, whose obverse featured the emperor’s head (identified with the severed head of John the Baptist). It is possible that the notion of “St John’s pennies” designated also other ancient coins. This fact, as well as original iconography, may have influenced the use of the transformed motif from the Celtic coin obverse on the die of the Silesian bracteate. Owing to the rays, the composition may have been associated with the symbolism of light, closely connected with the patron of Silesia and emphasised by the liturgy at the time.

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Witold Garbaczewski
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The main goal of this publication is to familiarize western numismatists with the current trends and findings in the research on medieval payment ingots (grivnas) in Eastern Europe. The author presents up-to-date chronological classification of silver payment ingots, shortly describes their basic types and gives the basic list of classic and modern works in this field.

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Ilya Shtalenkow
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Forgeries of coins can either be contemporary or modern. Already in the Middle Ages, it was well known that bracteates were considerably more difficult to counterfeit than two-faced coins. The main reason is that bracteates are struck with a more complicated technology originating from goldsmithing. Therefore, most bracteate forgeries have been produced since the eighteenth century. Compared to original bracteates, modern bracteate forgeries often have the following characteristics: 1) an incorrect weight; 2) a lower relief; 3) sharper contours on the reverse; 4) an artistically clumsy design; 5) evidence of being struck with the same die if there are several specimens; and/or 6) empty fields in the background.

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Roger Svensson
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The aim of the work is to determine the exact place and date of Kazimierz Stronczyński’s birth and death. An analysis of documents reveals that he was born on 24th July 1809 in Piotrków Trybunalski and died on 10th November 1896 in the same town.


Kazimierz Stronczyński was one of the greatest 19th century Polish numismatist, who is sometimes called the father of Polish medieval numismatics. Even though his life, career and works are very well known, in works devoted to Kazimierz Stronczyński’s life we can find several different dates and places of his birth and several different dates of his death. The following text, based on original documents, explains exactly when and where Kazimierz Stronczyński was born and died.

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Bartłomiej Czyżewski
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Among the cross pennies of later types, contained in the hoard from Słuszków near Kalisz and dated to after 1105, there are 73 obols — coins worth half a penny. The coins from the Słuszków hoard are dated to the period from the second half of the 11th century to the beginning of the 12th century. The assemblage is dominated by specimens with the image of a beaded cross and individual coins featuring a simple cross, a crosier as well as a crosier, a ring and a banner — types V, VI, VII and VIII according to M. Gumowski’s typology. Most probably, all the obols were struck by bishop’s mints in the archdiocese of Magdeburg.


In the early Middle Ages, the smallest denomination of coins used across Latin Europe was the obol. The most frequent finds of the coin, dated to the second half of the 10th century and the beginning of the 11th century come mainly from Germany, Bohemia and Hungary. The high silver content of the pennies at the time necessitated the production of smaller denominations, used for concluding small trade transactions, particularly in the countries where the coins’ origin. In the Polish lands small transactions involved predominantly fragments of coins, which constituted the dominant part of the hoard material from the times of Mieszko I and Boleslaus I the Brave. The debasement of pennies throughout the 11th century resulted in both obols and coin fragments disappearing from hoards. Almost of all of the late cross pennies CNP 813 and 867–869 from the Słuszków hoard, dated to the end of the 11th century and the beginning of the 12th century were not divided. The coins produced for the longest period of time (until the beginning of the 12th century) discovered in the Polish lands were cross obols. The largest collection of the coins comes from the hoard discovered in Słuszków near Kalisz and dated to after 1105. The assemblage contains 13061 coins, mainly early variants of cross pennies from the end of the 11th and the beginning of the 12th century.

Due to the lack of some types of cross obols in the most complete classification of the cross coins in Marian Gumowski’s Corpus Nummorum Poloniae, the typology based on the obols from the Słuszków hoard is presented.

The earliest variant, SoV-1, similar to CNP 674, has on its obverse the older version of the beaded cross (beads along the quadrangle). In all certainty, it is dated to before the half of the 11th century. Chronologically, the second type of obol in the Słuszków assemblage is the SoV-2 variant, not recorded in CNP. The artefact relates to a group of cross pennies from the so-called transitional group with a beaded cross, where some signs were arranged along the quadrangle and some along a circle. It may be dated to the half of the 11th century. The next five variants of cross obols, SoV-3 — SoV-7, are similar to CNP 677, their margins are wide enough for the legend to be legible. The obverse features the younger beaded cross, most often with 12 beads. The coins were minted in the third quarter of the 11th century. The next group of obols comprises variants SoV-8 — Sov-16, characterised by relatively narrow margins, which translates into only partial legibility of the characters. On the obverse there is the younger beaded cross. The obols may be dated back to the turn of the 4th quarter of the 11th century. The youngest group of cross obols from Słuszków are coins classified as variants SoV-17 — SoV-21. On the obverse they have a beaded cross with eight or nine beads. They may be dated to the last quarter of the 11th century. There are two more obols that may be identified as cross obols with beaded crosses, classified as variants SoVA-1 and SoVA-2. The specimens feature a beaded cross whose two arms are represented as prolonged triangles, similarly to the crossing of the crosier on the younger variants of type VII cross obols. In all probability, the coins may be dated to the turn of the 4th quarter of the 11th century. In the Słuszków hoard, the type VI cross obols with the simple cross are represented by one specimen of the SoVI-1 variant (CNP 876), dated probably to the last two decades of the 11th century.

The Słuszków hoard contains only one type VII obol — SoVII-1. The coin shows a short, crossed crosier, to the left, with a narrow crook, ending with a large dot. The coin may be dated to the last quarter of the 11th century. The last and probably the youngest group of obols comprises type VIII specimens of the SoVIII-1 type (CNP 1029). Obols of this type are known mostly from the Polabian region and can be dated to the end of the 11th and the beginning of the 12th century. In all certainty, all the cross obols from the Słuszków hoard were struck in Saxony, in mints of Magdeburg, Halle-Giebichenstein, Merseburg, Naumburg and perhaps Meissen, a fact confirmed by the artefacts discovered in Polabia. The large number of the coins known from Greater Poland — the region of Poland lying closest to Magdeburg, testifies to the Saxon origin of the cross obols from the end of the 11th and the beginning of the 12th century.

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Authors and Affiliations

Adam Kędzierski
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The coins of Sigismund III Vasa (1587–1632) were one of the most numerous foreign specimens to be found all over the Ottoman Empire. They were part of the coin circulation in the Bulgarian lands at the end of the 16th and in the first half of the 17th century. The Sigismund’s coins were preferred also as hoarding issues and that is why they are often presented in coin hoards from that time. The aim of this study is to present the variety of denominations of the ruler found in the region of Varna and to explain their significance and the role in the coin circulation in the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th century.

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Nevyan Mitev

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