The National Bank of Poland has released the 23rd and final gold and silver coins that are part of an exceptional and dynamic series of collector coins which recreated the royal medallic collection of Poland’s King Stanislaw August. Begun in 2013 with the release of coins bearing the image of Boleslaus the Brave (992–1025), the collection of coins depicted Poland’s kings in chronological order and concludes with the release of the last coin, as it was created for the medal collection. The unique series of gold and silver collector coins replicates the famous 18th-century medallic series, which was struck on the order of Stanisław August Poniatowski. These outstanding royal medals were designed by two talented medallists, namely Jan Filip Holzhaeusser and Jan Jakub Reichel, and were struck at the Warsaw Mint during the years 1791 and 1797 to 1798. The designs of the medals were commissioned by royal proclamation and were based on portraits painted between 1768 and 1771 by Marcello Bacciarelli for the Marble Room at the royal castle in Warsaw. The collector coins authorised by Narodowy Bank Polski are faithful replicas of the medals, preserving the diameter and height of the relief of the originals. The original medal collection was expected to include a medal of the ruling monarch of the day. However, this probability was thwarted by King Slanislaw August’s abdication and exile in 1795 and early death at the beginning of 1798.
The last gold and silver coins depict a profile portrait of King Augustus III, of the House of Wettin, the Elector of Saxony, as Frederick Augustus II. He was elected King of Poland on the 5th October 1733 and crowned on the 17th January 1734 in Kraków. Augustus III was born in Dresden, Germany, as a son of Friedrich August II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, as Augustus II. He was brought up in the Lutheran faith and, to ascend to the Polish throne, he converted to Catholicism in 1712. His wife, Archduchess Maria Josepha Habsburg, a staunch Catholic, supported her husband in his foreign policy and cultural activities. Together, they had 14 children who, through the marriages of their children, became closely related to many royal courts in Europe. In domestic politics, Augustus III was remembered as an able administrator who relied on the advice of his competent ministers rather than arbitrary decisions. Augustus III, as both Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, promoted the arts and enriched Dresden’s art collections as well as expanding the royal castle in Warsaw. Augustus III died in Dresden in 1763 and was buried there in the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. He was succeeded by Stanisław August Poniatowski, who ascended the throne as Stanislaus II Augustus and who became the last monarch of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth with his abdication in 1795.
The 23rd and last coin of the series is produced by the Mennica Polska — Mint of Poland at their facilities in Warsaw and on behalf of the National Bank. The obverse side on both gold and silver examples shows the bust of Augustus III facing to the right, wearing a stock tie with a jabot fastened with a pin, dressed in a tailcoat with rich embroidery and ornamental buttons and the ribbon of the Order of the Golden Fleece around his neck. Above the portrait is the inscription AUGUSTUS. III. ELECTOR SAXONIÆ. On the reverse side, the Latin text is replicated from the original medal which is translated as:
SON OF AUGUSTUS II THE STRONG, ELECTED ANNO DOMINI 1733, CROWNED ANNO DOMINI 1734. PIOUS, GRACIOUS, HE DID NOT MANAGE TO ENDOW POLAND WITH THE GOODS HE WISHED FOR HER, AS 12 SEJM SESSIONS WERE SUCCESSIVELY BROKEN OFF. HE DIED IN DRESDEN, ANNO DOMINI 1763, AGED 67, IN THE 30TH YEAR OF HIS REIGN, ON 5 OCTOBER.
Encircling the centred inscription is the text RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA 500 ZL (gold) or 50 ZL (silver) shown above. Below is the year of issue shown as 20 and 23 with the Polish Eagle crest separating each of the two digits.
Both the gold and silver Proof-quality coins are encapsulated and presented in a heavy-gauge lined card case, accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. For additional information about these and other coins issued by the National Bank of Poland, please visit their website.
To view all of the coins in this series in high resolution, please click here.