At our Auction 14 – A beautiful and extremely rare (Kopicki 47, R4) protective bracteate

Published by RDA on

A short breath from the denarii of Bolesław I the Brave, but not for long. A few more numismatic flavors from the reign of the first Polish king. Today, a short jump to Bolesław III Wrymouth and a taste of what we will have on offer from the reign of this ruler. Even though it’s a foretaste, it’s a perfect starter for an appetizer.

People actively dealing with the subject of the Middle Ages probably immediately turned their eyes to the “sunshine” above the kneeling figure, perfectly visible on the obverse of this beautiful and extremely rare (Kopicki 47, R4) protective bracteate.

Historically and typologically an important and needed coin. Many specialists consider the bracteates of this ruler to be one of the most interesting coins of the Polish Middle Ages.

This coin was formerly called penitential, seeing in it a reference to the pilgrimage of Prince Bolesław to the grave of St. Wojciech in Gniezno from 1113. This concerned penance for the blinding and death of his older brother, Zbigniew. A slightly different light on this issue was shed by the discovery of a hoard of coins in 1932, followed by its examination and analysis by Professor Ryszard Kiersnowski.

Ryszard Kiersnowski associated this coin with the manifesto of Bolesław Krzywousty after the Polish prince paid homage in Merseburg to Emperor Lothair III. He dated this event around 1135. The iconography was supposed to proclaim that the Polish prince was under the protection of Saint Adalbert, hence the description of bracteates of this type as protective.

Much larger than a denarius, the bracteat was the perfect medium for the manifesto described above.

Dr. Witold Garbaczewski has a slightly different view on the visible bracteate. He sees in it the effect of the monetary reform from the end of Wrymouth’s reign, the purpose of which was to supply the treasury to pay tribute to Lothair III, and he dates this type to 1137.

The presented piece is a coin beautifully preserved in a centuries-old patina. Minor imperfections of the disc do not take away from this bracteat’s beauty. We recommend it for advanced coin collections – in this condition, this extremely rare variety appears sporadically on the auction market.


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