Collections

Numismatics

The collection of the coins and medals of the Historical Museum contains 3071 items. Primary and the most valuable part of this collection is strictly related to Kraków's tradition of putting various mementos and numismatic into the copper, gilt knob on the top of town hall tower and the tradition of giving precious gifts including coins and medals to fraternity by disciples becoming the journeyman.
Numismatics discovered on the 17th and 18th of July 1928 year during the maintenance of the town hall tower's top are the group of 165 pieces. Kraków's burgesses put these to the knob in years 1589, 1611, 1684 and 1783 mainly during the redecorations after tower's fires. All this group is a very good material to study the history the city because of the fact that all names of the donors are know.
For example there is golden copy of Gdansk's penny of the king Stefan Batory from 1597. This is gift from Michael Weitard from 1589 year.
There are Polish numismatics from kingship of Sigmund I the Old, Sigmund Augusta and Sigmund III Wazy time. There is also foreign numismatics. In this group the oldest one is the single coin from ancient world. We have to mention about this because of the beauty of ancient stamp and the donor name.
This is the tetra drachma from Greek island called Tasso near to the coast of Tricia. This coin was made from silver in 148 year B.C. This is the gift from Jedrzej Cellary. In regards to quantity the biggest gift was given by Sebastian Cyrus then. He gave 11 silver coins.
In the year 1684 numismatics as well Polish as foreign were put into the knob. Polish coins, wedding and coronation tokens which represent the kingship of Sigmund August, Stefan Batorego, Jan III Sobieski, Michael Korybut Wisniowiecki and Jan Kazimierz.
There is also golden Kraków's medal of Jan III Sobieski from 1677 year. Foreign coins and medals origin from Saxons, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Venice, Rome (piaster of pope Innocent XI from year 1676 - first year of his pontificate).
The most interesting one in this collection is silver medal called false Shekel made approx. in 1550 year in Silesian Zgorzelec. This is the imitation of ancient silver Jewish coin called Shekel from years 66 - 70. These false coins used to be sold to searchers as relics from the Holy Land as the Judas' silver coins.
The last historic donation was in 1785, during next repairing of the tower. This was related to dramatic events. During the siege on Bar's confederates by Russian army in 1768 the top of the town hall tower made in 1684 year was shot through several times. This time, putting the new top on Kraków's citizens according to the tradition put the gifts inside. This was the most valuable and the most numerous donations ever.
Because there were 15 golden ducats from the 18th century: 6 of Stanislaw August Poniatowskieg, 6 of Habsburgs and 3 Dutch. Another separated collection are numismatics with the character of fraternity's ex voto, it contains 161 items. These are called signtalar (szyldtalary). Making the valuable gifts to the fraternity was the journeymen trainees' responsibility. After the year 1800 the most often gifts were silver coins like half - talars or talars, Russian roubles and silver medals. They originate from the 17th, the 18th centuries and modern times. All of them have names or initials and the date of the trainee's promotion.
They also have special eyelet. It was used to thread the coins on the wire and adorn special cup used during the fraternity's feasts with them.
In addition to these two main groups we have about 170 Polish and foreign medals, medallions and holy medals since the beginning of the 19th century up to the 30's of the 20th century.
There is also a collection of banknotes from the end of the 17th century and the collection of silver and copper coins made in Kraków's mint since the 14th to the 19th century. The oldest part of the collection is all the time growing thanks to gifts and purchases. Moreover in our museum we have the only one collection of 81 silver ancient three-grosz coins and the one and a half grosz coins of Sigmund III Waza made in Kraków's and Bydgoszcz's mint during his kingship. They were found in the 1928 during the renovation of one of the tenements on Mikolajska street (no. 10). The museum gathers various Polish coins: modern, circulating and probationary, which were minted after 1949. Every year we receive from the NBP issuing house the set of coins from next issue of National Mint in Warsaw.