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500 Zlotych 2016, Poland

in Krause book Number: 190а
Years of issue: 10.02.2017
Edition: 50 000 000
Signatures: Prezes: Marek Belka, Glowny Scarbnik: Marek Oles
Serie: Modification 2016
Specimen of: 16.02.2016
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 150 x 75
Printer: Polska Wytwornia Papierow Wartocziowych, Warszawa

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

500 Zlotych 2016




John III Sobieski (Polish: Jan III Sobieski). Denomination in numeral.


500 Zlotych 2016

Jan III Sobieski Jan III Sobieski

The engraving on banknote is based after the effigy of Jan III Sobieski by engraver Jan Höhn, minted on the occasion of the coronation of Jan III and his wife in 1676. Also used the portrait of Jan III Sobieski in the historical-biographical edition of Dzvonkowski’s “Wizerunki Kròlòw Polish” (Warsaw, 1860). The portrait by polish painter Aleksander Lesser (1814-1884).

John III Sobieski (Polish: Jan III Sobieski; Lithuanian: Jonas III Sobieskis; Latin: Ioannes III Sobiscius; 17 August 1629 – 17 June 1696) was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1674 until his death, and one of the most notable monarchs of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Sobieski's military skill, demonstrated in combating invasions by the Ottoman Empire, contributed to his prowess as King of Poland. His 22-year reign marked a period of the Commonwealth's stabilization, much needed after the turmoil of the Deluge and the Khmelnytsky Uprising. Popular among his subjects, he was an able military commander, most famous for his victory over the Turks at the 1683 Battle of Vienna. After his victories over them, the Ottomans called him the "Lion of Lechistan"; and the Pope hailed him as the savior of Christendom.

Official title (in Latin): Joannes III, Dei Gratia rex Poloniae, magnus dux Lithuaniae, Russiae, Prussiae, Masoviae, Samogitiae, Livoniae, Smolenscie, Kijoviae, Volhyniae, Podlachiae, Severiae, Czernichoviaeque, etc.[4]

Official title (in Polish): Jan III, z łaski bożej, król Polski, wielki książę litewski, ruski, pruski, mazowiecki, żmudzki, kijowski, wołyński, podlaski i czernichowski, etc.

English translation: John III, by the grace of God King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Ruthenia, Prussia, Masovia, Samogitia, Livonia, Smolensk, Kiev, Volhynia, Podlasie, Severia, and Chernihiv, etc.

Though Poland-Lithuania was at that time the largest and one of the most populous states of Europe, Sobieski became a king of a country devastated by almost half a century of constant war. The treasury was almost empty and the court had little to offer the powerful magnates, who often allied themselves with foreign courts rather than the state.

Sobieski had a number of long term plans, including establishing his own dynasty in the Commonwealth, regaining lost territories, and strengthening the country through various reforms. One of his ambitions was to unify Christian Europe in a crusade to drive the Turks out of Europe. At the beginning of his reign, however, the Polish state was in dire fiscal straits and faced military threats to the north. King Louis XIV of France promised to mediate a truce between the Ottomans and Poland so that Sobieski could focus his attentions on Prussia. The negotiations ended in failure and Sobieski's Baltic goals had to be tempered by the immediate reality of the Ottoman threat to the south.

In the autumn of 1674, he recommenced the war against the Ottomans and managed to recapture a number of cities and fortresses including Bratslav, Mogilev, and Bar, which re-established a strongly fortified line defending Poland's southern border in Ukraine. In 1675, Sobieski defeated a Turkish and Tatar offensive aiming at Lviv. In 1676, the Tatars began a counter-offensive and crossed the Dneper, but could not retake the strategic town of Żórawno, and a peace treaty (the Treaty of Żurawno) was signed soon afterwards. Although Kamieniec Podolski and much of Podolia remained a part of the Ottoman Empire, Poland gained the return of the towns of Bila Tserkva and Pavoloch.

The treaty with the Ottomans began a period of peace that was much needed for the repair of the country and strengthening of the royal authority. Sobieski managed to reform the Polish army completely. The army was reorganised into regiments, the infantry finally dropped pikes, replacing them with battle-axes, and the Polish cavalry adopted hussar and dragoon formations. Sobieski also greatly increased the number of cannon and introduced new artillery tactics.

Sobieski wanted to conquer Prussia with Swedish troops and French support. Regaining control of this autonomous province was in the Commonwealth's best interest, and Sobieski also hoped for it to become part of his family domain. To this end he made the secret Treaty of Jaworów (1675), but he achieved nothing. The wars with the Ottoman Empire were not decisively won by the Commonwealth, the ruler of Brandenburg-Prussia made treaties with France, Prussia defeated the Swedish invasion, and Sobieski's plans for the Commonwealth's own military campaign against Prussia was opposed by Commonwealth magnates, many of them taking the Prussian side. Backed by Brandenburg and Austria, internal enemies of Sobieski even planned to dethrone him and elect Charles of Lorraine.

The French-Prussian treaty of 1678 meant that Sobieski lost the major foreign ally for his planned campaign against Prussia; consequently he started to distance himself from the pro-French faction, which in turn resulted in the cooling down of the Polish-French relations. During the Sejm of 1683, the French ambassador was expelled for involvement with a plan to dethrone Sobieski, definitely marking the end of the Polish-French alliance. At the same time Sobieski made peace with the pro-Habsburg faction and started to gravitate towards an alliance with Austria. This did not end the existence of strong internal opposition to Sobieski; however, it changed a number of allegiances, and further opposition was temporarily weakened through the king's successful political maneuvering, including granting the Grand Hetman office to one of the opposition's chief leaders, Stanisław Jan Jabłonowski.

Conscious that Poland lacked allies and risked war against most of its neighbours (a situation similar to the Deluge), by 1683 Sobieski allied himself with Leopold I, of the Holy Roman Empire. Both sides promised to come to one's another aid if their capitals were threatened. The alliance was signed by royal representatives on 31 March 1683, and ratified by the Emperor and Polish parliament within weeks. Although aimed directly against the Ottomans and indirectly against France, it had the advantage of gaining internal support for the defense of Poland's southern borders. This was a beginning of what would become the Holy League, championed by Pope Innocent XI to preserve Christendom.

Meantime, in the spring of 1683, royal spies uncovered Turkish preparations for a military campaign. Sobieski feared that the target might be the Polish cities of Lwów and Kraków. To counteract the threat, Sobieski began the fortification of the cities and ordered universal military conscription. In July, the Austrian envoy asked for Polish assistance. Soon afterward, the Polish army started massing for an expedition against the Ottomans, and in August was joined by Bavarians and Saxon allies under Charles of Lorraine.


Polish coat of arms is on top.

The White Eagle (Polish: Orzeł Biały) is the national coat of arms of Poland. It is a stylized white eagle with a golden beak and talons, and wearing a golden crown, in a red shield.

The White Eagle emblem originated when Poland's legendary founder Lech saw a white eagle's nest. When he looked at the bird, a ray of sunshine from the red setting sun fell on its wings, so they appeared tipped with gold, the rest of the eagle was pure white. He was delighted and decided to settle there and placed the eagle on his emblem. He also named the place Gniezdno (currently Gniezno) from the Polish word gniazdo ("nest").

Jan III Sobieski helm

On the right is The lobster-tailed pot helmet (szyszak), changing color from dark green to blue by tilting banknote.

The hussar szyszak placed on the obverse of the banknote, on the right side, reminds of victories won by Sobieski. In the attack, heavy-armed hussars remained the main breaking force in those times.

The lobster-tailed pot helmet, also known as the zischägge, horseman's pot and harquebusier's pot, was a type of post-Renaissance combat helmet. It became popular in Europe, especially for cavalry and officers, from c. 1600; it was derived from an Ottoman Turkish helmet type. The helmet gradually fell out of use in most of Europe in the late XVII century; however, the Austrian heavy cavalry retained it for some campaigns as late as the 1780s.

The French term capeline was also used for this helmet, however, usage of this word was not precise. "Capeline" was indiscriminately used to denote various types of hat, and helmets other than the lobster-tailed pot.


Polish hussar helmet.

The main helmet used by the hussar cavalry was Pappenheimer (Polish: Pappenheimer). He was a cone, but of a European style. It differed from its eastern progenitor by a spherical tulle and a small pommel separately attached from above, with a wide butt-plate (even gradually gradually expanding to the back). And a platypus which was screwed with a bolt to the frontal part of the body over the steel visor. The nacelle had an extension on one side, it was supposed to protect the face or forehead - depending on how to install it. The edges of the visor, the recoil pad and the headphone (and sometimes the carrier) were wrapped in a tube for rigidity.

What is interesting, the name Pappenheimer was given a helmet only in the last quarter of the 17th century, in honor of Count Gottfried Heinrich Pappenheim (Gottfried Heinrich, Count of Pappenheim 1594-1632), colonel of the cuirassier regiment, and then the Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Cavalry of the Holy Roman Empire, heroe of the Thirty years war (1618-48)). In his honor was also called a kind of battle rapier, which was not used in the Polish army.

And from the end of the 16th century until the middle of the 17th century, this helmet was called a capalin (Polish: kapalin, Italian: Cappellina Eng. Capeline or Lobster tail helmet) before that in Poland captains were called helmets like an iron hat. The Polish Army Museum has several very interesting helmets, which are an iron hat made or remade to a new standard: with additional headphones and a back plate. One such iron cap-hat is in the collection of the Wawel Royal Castle. The name was also popular: hussar shishak (pol. Szyszak husarski), it must be borne in mind that the use of Turkish and Russian shishaks and little girls also took place.

In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the helmet was made on its own, and also imported from Germany, where it was called Zischägge, that is, the shishak was not hiding the eastern origin of the prototype of these helmets.

Relatively rare, but nonetheless occurring, is the replacement of the spire-top with a mohawk on the top of the helmet. Much more often, especially at the end of the XVIIth and beginning of the XVIIIth centuries, there were helmets without any tops. ( .rus)

coat coat

On the left, on the background of a rosette, a stylized image of the coat of arms of the Sobieski family. It was taken from a statue of a man, in Roman armor, placed on the northern pillar of the entrance gate of the Wilanów Palace. This statue probably made by Stefan Szwanerow depicts Mars, supported by a spear and a cannon. The coat of arms decorates part of his szyszak, breastplate and shoulder pad. The entrance gate was built in the last quarter of the XVII century, according to the design of Augustyn Locci. Statues on its pillars appeared after Sobieski's return from Vienna, in 1689.

Brown and burgundy print - gravure printing. Blue and yellow offset printing.

Below, on the left, Braille symbol for the visually impaired (8 small squares). ( .pol)

Denomination in numeral is on the left side and in top right corner, in words also on the left side.


500 Zlotych 2016

wizerunek Orła z koroną wizerunek Orła z koroną

On the right-hand side, against the background of the palace, an image of the "Eagle with a Crown" of Jan III Sobieski, with Sobieski coat of arms, according to the image in the St. Mary's Church in Krakow.

Pałac w Wilanowie

On background is the image of the west facade of the Wilanów Palace, according to the drawing of Saxon architect Johann Sigmund Deybel von Hammerau, made around 1733.

Wilanów Palace or Wilanowski Palace (Polish: pałac w Wilanowie, is a royal palace located in the Wilanów district, Warsaw. Wilanów Palace survived Poland's partitions and both World Wars, and so serves as a reminder of the culture of the Polish state as it was before the misfortunes of the XVIII century.

It is one of Poland's most important monuments. The Palace's museum, established in 1805, is a repository of the country's royal and artistic heritage. The palace and park in Wilanów hosts cultural events and concerts, including Summer Royal Concerts in the Rose Garden and the International Summer Early Music Academy.

The palace, together with other elements of Warsaw Old Town, is one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments (Pomnik historii), as designated September 16, 1994. Its listing is maintained by the National Heritage Board of Poland.

Since 2006, the palace has been a member of the international association of European Royal Residences.

Wilanów Palace was built for king John III Sobieski in the last quarter of the XVII century and later was enlarged by other owners. It represents the characteristic type of baroque suburban residence built entre cour et jardin (between the entrance court and the garden). Its architecture is original, a merger of generally European art with distinctively Polish building traditions. Upon its elevations and in the palace interiors ancient symbols glorify the Sobieski family, especially the military triumphs of the king.

After the death of John III Sobieski in 1696, the palace was owned by his sons and later by the famous magnate families Sieniawskis, Czartoryskis, Lubomirskis, Potockis and Branicki family of the Korczak coat of arms. In 1720, the property was purchased by Polish stateswoman Elżbieta Sieniawska who enlarged the palace. Between 1730 and 1733 it was a residence of Augustus II the Strong, also a king of Poland (the palace was exchanged with him for the Blue Palace at Senatorska Street), and after his death the property came to Sieniawska's daughter Maria Zofia Czartoryska. Every owner changed the interiors of the palace, as well as the gardens and grounds, according to the current fashion and needs. In 1778 the estate was inherited by Izabela Lubomirska, called The Blue Marquise. She refurbished some of the interiors in the neoclassical style between 1792-1793 and build a corps de garde, a kitchen building and a bathroom building under the supervision of Szymon Bogumił Zug.

In the year 1805, the owner Stanisław Kostka Potocki, opened a museum in a part of the palace, one of the first public museums in Poland. A most notable example of the collections is Potocki's equestrian portrait made by renowned neoclassical French artist Jacques-Louis David in 1781. Besides European and Oriental art, the central part of the palace displayed a commemoration of king John III Sobieski and the glorious national past. The palace was damaged by German forces in World War II, but it was not demolished after the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. After the war, the palace was renovated, and most of the collection stolen by Germany was repatriated. In 1962 it was reopened to the public. . ( .pol)

Brown and blue printing - gravure printing. Offset green, blue, light brown, burgundy print.

Denominations in numerals are in top right and lower left corners, lower right also in words.


Designer: Andrzej Heidrich.

Engraver: Krystian Michalczuk.