Topics of coins

The half-grosz of Ladislas Jagiello

Ladislas Jagiello (1386–1434) was not a great reformer of money in Poland. However, he made significant adaptations to the system introduced by Casimir the Great. He stopped striking the largest unit – the grosz (groat) and made the basis of the system half of this – the half-grosz, known originally as the large kwartnik. He also struck small kwartniks, which had the value of a quarter of a grosz and were called trzeciaks (Ternars). The most common coin, as previously, was the denarius, which no longer contained very much silver. The system based on the half-grosz and lowvalue denarius established itself in Poland for a whole century.

The most important denomination, the half-grosz, has been selected for our collector series. On the coin’s obverse there is a crown and the following inscription along its rim: +MONE*WLADISLAI. This inscription is continued on the back, where the following runs around the eagle: +REGIS*POLONIE. When read together, the text informs us that this is a “Coin of Ladislas King of Poland”.

It is worth noting the mint marks under the crown. They signify the names of the successive mint masters who ran the mint operating in Kraków. In our case this is the letter n, the initial of the name Nicolaus, or Mikołaj (Bochner).

On the new coin, apart from a representation of both sides of the half-grosz, there are also motifs borrowed from the tombstone of Ladislas Jagiello in Wawel Cathedral. On the obverse, next to the obverse of the half-grosz with the crown there is a beautiful portrait of the king wearing a crown. The third element is the mandatory certification with the emblem of the Republic of Poland, the date 2015 and the designation of the denomination – 20 zł. On the reverse, the eagle of the half-grosz correlates well with the eagle represented on the shield of the king’s tombstone.

This coin, the eighth in the series, closes the two first parts of the series History of Polish Coin, which cover the whole of the Middle Ages, with the money of the Piast dynasty and the beginning of the money of the Jagiellon dynasty. The three parts are as follows:

Part I. The oldest Polish coins – the denarii of the three Boleslaws, 10th-12th century.
1.Boleslaus the Brave,
2. Boleslaw II the Bold,
3. Boleslaw the Wry-mouthed

Part II. Polish coins of the Middle Ages – the period of the bracteate and the grosz, 12th-15th century.
4. Mieszko III,
5. Leszek the White,
6. Ladislas the Elbowhigh,
7. Casimir the Great,
8. Ladislas Jagiello.

Part III. Coins of the Commonwealth – the golden period, 16th-18th century.
The third part of the series will begin in June 2016 with the gold ducat of Sigismund the Elder (coin 9).

Stanisław Suchodolski