Now, Stack’s is set to sell one of the most important collections of rare Polish coins to be offered in public auction in the U.S. To be sold April 24, 2008 in Chicago, the Belzberg Collection of Select Polish Rarities is valued at several million dollars. And bidding is expected to be intense for, along with Russian coins, Polish coins rank as the hottest item in the world numismatic market today.
The sale, though, does not just present an offering of rare and unique coins, it is also a numismatic chronicle of the history of the Polish nation. Beginning with the first Polish coin ever struck, a Silver Denar of Mieszko I Piast (960-992) the sale runs up the timeline to a unique and colossal Gold Million Złotych – all 12 ounces of it –struck by the private Solidarity mint in 1999 to honor Fryderyk Chopin. Among the many highlights of the sale are a Gold 50 Ducat and a unique Silver 10 Talary – the largest Silver coin ever struck in Poland, both made as presentation pieces to mark the Battle of Chocim (one of the 100 Ducat coins of 1621 was presented by Sigismund III Vasa to the Pope). Polish cities and ducal fiefdoms are also represented by coins from Danzig, Toruń, Courland, Stettin and other Silesian and Pomeranian locales. Lithuanian coins from the time of the Commonwealth include a 16th Century Silver coin of Naples sent to Poland as part of the inheritance of Sigismund II August from his mother Bona Sforza that was stamped to pay Sigismund the Second’s troops fighting in the Livonian War.
Of true historic note is a majestic Presentation Set of 24 Silver Medals of the Polish kings (from Bołeslaw I Chobry to Poniatowski) commissioned in the 1790’s by King Stanisław August Poniatowski. The set was presented in 1814 to Henry Brougham, an English lawyer, journalist and abolitionist by Poles in Exile for his service in pleading the cause of the Polish people (Brougham later served as the British Lord Chancellor).
For further information, please contact Gregory Cole, Stack’s World Coin Department, at 212-582-2580.