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John III Sobieski, Crown thaler, Bydgoszcz - RARE

XF R7-R8
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Lot description Show orginal version
Grade: XF
Reference: Hutten-Czapski 2533 (R7), Kopicki 2002 (R7), Kurpiewski 1252 (R8), Tyszkiewicz 600 mk

A spectacular coin!

The only crown thaler minted during the reign of John III Sobieski and only one of two types of thalers of this king.

Beautifully preserved, with mint luster, in a cabinet-like patina.

A rarity known from only a dozen pieces.


The crown thaler of John III Sobieski is a coin of great rarity. Sergius Stube links the circumstances of its minting with the Vienna Victory. This hypothesis seems highly plausible to us and at the same time would explain the reasons for minting this thaler as a coin without a date. The letters SVP on the obverse indicate an issue from 1684-85, when the mintmaster of the Bydgoszcz mint was Samuel von Phachter. At the same time, if the purpose of the issue was to honor the meritorious at Vienna 1683, it would have been appropriate for the coin to bear such a date as well. However, the mint could not mint a circulating coin with a retroactive date, and therefore minted it without one. In light of the above, a very likely minting date seems to be 1684, after the return from under Vienna, where the decisive battle was fought on September 12, 1683.


The initials SVP unambiguously place the minting of this coin in the Crown mint of Bydgoszcz, whose mintmaster was the aforementioned Samuel von Phachter. The Bydgoszcz mint is also indicated by the style of the king's depiction. As M. Gumowski "It is almost certain that this crown thaler came out of the Bydgoszcz mint, as its drawing indicates this: for it has a royal bust in ancient dress and with a laurel on its head, like other Bydgoszcz coins..." (source: "Bydgoszcz Mint", p.261).

The style of execution of the stamps points to the then Danzig-based master Jan Höhn, which Gumowski also refers to. J. Höhn, who was employed at the Danzig mint at the time, was probably the maker of the stamps also for the Danzig thaler of John III, as the two coins show a stylistic similarity, which can be seen by comparing, for example, the pieces in our archive.

The crown thaler is made very carefully, in medal minting, with the weight attributed to the thaler denomination (the present piece 27.96 g). At the same time, it is the first circulating coin in Poland on which the border inscription was struck: INGENTIBUS AUSIS QUO VIS MONSTRAT ITER(Point the way to great undertakings, wherever you want to go). This sentence, the authors of the 2019 edition. Catalog of the Collection of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, explain it as follows: "...the inscription, Ingenibus..., appearing on the wound, containing a subtle paraphrase from Virgil, further links John III with the heroes besieging Troy (Aeneid, book II, translated by Z. Kubiak, Warsaw 1998, p. 388)." It is also placed in this form on several medals of John III, including the medal with the newly discovered constellation.


The coin is very rare. Tadeusz Kalkowski wrote about it as follows: "In small quantities, and mainly in the last years of the Crown mints, other kinds of coins were also minted: quite rare trojaks and extremely rare thalers....", and an interesting piece of information was included further on, writing about Danzig coins: "Among the greatest numismatic rarities of the period are double and quadruple ducats, minted in 1692, and especially thalers, which were minted only once, in 1685, in the quantity of 200 pieces, and stopped there, since it turned out that this species of coin was not profitable." Interesting information, but in this case most likely with an error, since the Danzig thalers of John III are much more common than the Crown thalers, and the number of pieces currently known indicates that their issue in 1685 must have been more than 200 pieces. According to Marek Kaleniecki, the information given by T. Kalkowski about the issue of 200 pieces of thalers seems highly probable, but with regard to the crown thaler, the number of currently known pieces of which he estimates at only a dozen.

The crown thaler of John III has practically always been considered very rare. Already in the first catalog of Polish coins, published in print, in 1839, K. Steszinski-Bandkie wrote about it as follows: "Crown thaler, without the number of the year, very rare. It is in the collections of Count Franciszek Potocki, Maxymilian Bartynowski in Cracow, and Czacki." Here we see that the author does not limit himself to stating that the coin is very rare, but also lists the collections in which it is found. Just three!


In the contemporary auction market in Poland, after 1990, only 3 pieces of the crown thaler of Jan III Sobieski have occurred. All obtaining high prices at the time of their sale:

  1. October 19, 2013, Niemczyk 4/211, sale price 437,000 PLN, earlier the same piece auctioned on November 6. 2005 at the HOBBISTA 3/560 auction.
  2. May 14, 2016, WCN 65/31, sale price 263,200 zloty
  3. October 17, 2020, Niemczyk 26/215, sale price 360,000 zloty


  • Anthony Taraszka, item no. 24025 from the auction catalog of his collection. Exhibited with an estimate of $135,000-$200,000, among a string of spectacular gold coins, sold for an asking price of $75,000 ($90,000 including auction fee).
  • Henry Karolkiewicz of New York, sold privately to the collection of A. Taraszka in the 1990s.
  • Galerie des Monnaies,"1981 New Orleans Auction Sale Coins of the World," item #2260. Offered at auction as part of an interesting group of Polish numismatics, and as one of the few items in this group, auctioned above the estimate price at the time ($4000/4600). Purchased at auction by K. Stephens on behalf of H. Karolkiewicz, for his collection. A photo of the catalog page and its cover is shown attached.


A beautifully preserved piece. Traces of circulation minor, relief preserved very well, with all details and without rubbing. The coin in an excellent, cabinet-like patina. Lots of mint luster preserved, including a virtually full mirror background on the reverse. A magnificent piece whose beauty is best captured by the prepared film presentation. Previously in PCGS AU58 grading, 960334.58/45157879 (grading label included).


An exceptional coin, the chance to acquire it happens once every few years.

A type that only a few advanced collections can boast of owning.

The starting price set so that bidding for it, already counting with the auction fee, would give an amount equal to the amount paid at the auction of A. Taraszka, including import fees to Poland. If anyone regrets not taking the opportunity to purchase this thaler directly at the auction of A. Taraszka's collection. Taraszka, there is now a second chance to do so, with the starting price at the same level.

This coin is currently not subject to export restrictions. It was imported from outside the EU in February 2023, and according to Polish law for a period of 3 years from the date of import, it can be re-exported without any restrictions or additional permits.

Definitely recommended - a great coin, with excellent provenance.

Auction 20 - Spring '23
23 May 2023 CEST/Warsaw
Start price
82 599 EUR
XF R7-R8
Hammer price
97 467 EUR
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Auction 20 - Spring '23
23 May 2023 CEST/Warsaw
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