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Poland Recalls Historic Silver Szóstak

On July 10 Narodowy Bank Polski [National Bank of Poland] issued a further 20 zł in its series celebrating historic Polish coins. The new 38.71 mm, 28.28 g .925 fine silver proof celebrates the six grosz szóstak of John III Sobieski (1674−1696).


Obverse and reverse of the new Polish silver 20 zł proof comemmorating the historic 17th century szóstak of six grosz of John III Sobieski. Images courtesy Narodowy Bank Polski.


During this monarch’s reign both the Bydgoszcz and Kraków mints became operational with coins being struck at both for eight years prior to the mints’ closure. The main coins struck were in silver: the trojak of three grosz, the szóstak of six grosz and the ort of 18 grosz. Of these the szóstak was the most popular and involved two versions (cf. KM-122; -128).

On the second issue of this coin (KM-128) the obverse the bust of the king shows him as Caesar – laureate and clad in a toga. The surrounding legend reads IOAN[nes] III. D[ei].G[ratia] REX POL[oniae] M[agnus]. D[ux].L[ituaniae].R[ussiae].P[russiae] [John III, by the Grace of God, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Ruthenia and Prussia]. Below the bust are the initials of Titus Livius Boratini, the lessee of the two mints.


Obverse and reverse of a silver six grosz struck for Poland’s King John III Sobieski struck from 1682 to 1687 (KM-128). Images courtesy www.ha.com.


The reverse shows the numeral VI crowned and surrounded by the coat-of-arms of Poland, Lithuania and Janina. Around the rim is the legend: GROS[si].ARG[entei].SEX – REG[ni].POLONIAE [Silver six grosz of the Kingdom of Poland]. The inscription is broken by the badge of Jan Andrzej Morsztyn, Grand Treasurer of the Crown.

Both designs are reproduced on either side of the new 20 zł. On the obverse of the 20 zł is the reverse design from the six grosz accompanied by the crowned White Eagle of Poland. In the background John Sobieski rides to his coronation; the image coming from a bas-relief in Wilanów Palace.

On the reverse of the 20 zł the obverse of the six grosz is shown accompanied by the eagle from the Janina coat-of-arms of 1696.

Mintage is 13,000.

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