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Numismatics Department

15 May 2010 was the date of official opening of the European Centre of Money operating within the Leon Wyczółkowski District Museum in Bydgoszcz. Its establishment was possible thanks to the implementation of a comprehensive revitalisation programme of the Mill Island in the years 2007 – 2009.

The centre was located at 4 Mennica Street, in the place of a building formerly known as a “tenement house”, which in the years between 1594 and 1686 was the place of the final production stage of coins of the Bydgoszcz mint. The building provides location for the Department of Numismatics together with its exhibition rooms. The Department was established in 1997 as a result of transformation of the Room of Numismatics separated from the Department of History in 1966.

The coins from the Bydgoszcz mint were gathered by the museum since the moment of its foundation (1923). Within the prewar inventory of the Polish coins the items from the Bydgoszcz mint constituted a significant part. The collection included poltoraks, szostaks, orts, zlotys and semi-thalers and thalers. The collection was enhanced through purchases and donations from private persons. A significant role in that respect was played by the members of the Bydgoszcz Numismatic Society created in 1935, including Leon Różdżyński, Stanisław Niewitecki, Roman Stobiecki and Witold Zbychorski.

Also in the period of occupation (1939-1945) the numismatic collection was being constantly enlarged. At that time 30 coins from the Bydgoszcz mint were bought (including poltoraks from the years 1615-1627 and the thaler of Władysław IV from 1642).

In postwar period, as financial resources were leveraged, the collection of the Bydgoszcz coins was gradually enhanced. It involved purchasing of such coins as the coins of Sigismund III Vasa: shillings, groszes, triplexes, orts, as well as semi-thalers (1628 and 1631) and thalers from 1630-1631. It was also possible to obtain a sample triplex of John Casimir from 1650 and the coins of John III Sobieski, including the orts from 1677, 1678, and szostaks from 1677 and 1680-1683. Recently, the collection has been enriched with two golden coins. In 2006 a two-ducat coin of John Casimir from 1660 was purchased, and two years later a ducat coin of Władysław IV from 1640. In the over eighty-year tradition of the museum, the coins from the Bydgoszcz mint were repeatedly presented at numismatic and historical exhibitions. The first attempt of presenting the coins made in the Bydgoszcz mint was the exhibition arranged in 1994 as a part of celebration of the quadricentennial of the mint of Bydgoszcz.

The mint was set up in 1594 as a private plant of a Cracovian chamberlain, Stanisław Cikiowski, and it operated as such until 1601 producing royal coins (including shillings, groszes, triplexes). After the break in the production of a dozen or so years it became a royal mint, which, especially under the supervision of a Dutchman, Jacob Jacobson von Emden, became one of the most important mints in Poland. After the death of Sigismund III Vasa, it was transformed into a state plant, and remained such until its final closure around the year 1686. The mint’s development was related to the activity of minting entrepreneurs from Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, such as: Walenty Jahns, Herman Rüdiger, Ernest Knorr, Eryk Huxer, brothers Andrzej and Tomasz Tym, Tytus Liwiusz Boratini, and others. A significant contribution in the mint’s activity was also made by the citizens of Bydgoszcz: Krzysztof Guttman and Michał Hoderman.

Coins produced in Bydgoszcz were characterised by outstanding artistic qualities, since the stamps were made by such artists as Samuel Ammon and Jan Höhn. In the course of its existence, the Bydgoszcz mint was twice (in the years1627-1644 and 1677-1679) the only operating state mint in the Republic of Poland. Moreover, in certain periods it was the leading mint with regard to the production capacity; for instance, in the years 1627-1636 it produced over 3 million thalers.

 


Images:

III. Banknotes of Polish and Polish-related (9)
II. Medals of the Polish and Polish-related (14)
I. Coins of Polish and Polish-related (16)
 




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