Topics of coins

Thaler of Ladislas Vasa

What distinguishes the mintage of the times of King Ladislas Vasa (1632–1648) is the lack of small coin. As early as in 1627, the Sejm banned the issue of such coin. The reasons behind the ban were the debasement of domestic coin and an inflow of a substantial amount of foreign low-quality coins for speculative purposes.

Consequently, the mintage of King Ladislas Vasa is associated with impressive thick coins such as gold ducats and silver half-thalers and thalers. They were minted both by the crown mint in Bydgoszcz and mints in Gdańsk and Toruń. We will be particularly interested in the thaler struck by the Bydgoszcz mint in 1642 as the coin served to produce a coin commemorating the mintage of the oldest son of King Sigismund Vasa.

The obverse of the new coin features a round stamp with the coat of arms and name of the Republic of Poland, date 2017 and face value 20 ZŁ. The background of certification is the reverse of the ancient thaler of King Ladislas Vasa of 1642, with the crowned nine-field escutcheon with the coats of arms of Poland, Lithuania, Sweden and Gotland, and the Vasa family (sheaf of hay) in the centre. The escutcheon is encircled with the chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece, which is separated by an inscription at the bottom. The escutcheon is flanked by the date 16 – 4Z and letters G – G, the initials of Gabriel Gerlöff, the lessee of the Bydgoszcz mint. Surrounding the escutcheon is the legend: ·SAM[ogitiae]:LIV[oniae]:NEC:NO[n]:SV[ecorum] (Golden Fleece) GOT[orum]:VAN[dalorum]:Q[ue]:HAE [reditarius]:REX·

Ladislas Vasa on horseback is placed against this background. The image is modelled on the scene of the homage paid by the Russian boyars to the King after the Polish capture of Smoleńsk. The scene is pictured on the side of the royal sarcophagus at Wawel Cathedral in Cracow.

The reverse side of the commemorative coin, that is the main side of the thaler of Ladislas Vasa, features a beautiful bust of the richly dressed King wearing a crown, and the legend along the rim: VLA[dislaus]:IIII:D[ei]:G[ratia]:REX:POL[oniae]· (the small escutcheon features the coat of arms of Sas Jan Daniłowicz, the Grand Treasurer of the Crown) M[agnus]·D[ux]:LIT[uaniae]:RVS[siae]:PR[ussiae]: MA[soviae]·, which together is translated as: Ladislas Vasa, by the Grace of God, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Ruthenia, Prussia, Masovia, Samogitia, Livonia and also the hereditary king of the Swedes, Goths and Vandals.

In the background of the image of the royal bust there is an explanation of the type of a coin: TALAR WŁADYSŁAWA IV (thaler of Ladislas Vasa).

Stanisław Suchodolski