Elbing 1631-MP 3 ducats Fr-47

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Heritage sale 3041, lot 32347
Elbing H3041-32347r.jpg
This specimen was lot 32347 in Heritage sale 3041 (Chicago, August 2015), where it sold for $76,375. The catalog description[1] noted,
"Elbing. Swedish Occupation - Gustav II Adolf gold 3 Ducats 1631 AU55 NGC, Extremely rare, one of only two recorded of this one-year type, with the portrait of Polish King Sigismund III rendered in the obverse centers, while the legends show Gustav II Adolf titles, making him the minting authority for the issue. On the reverse, lions support the arms of the city of Elbing, with the initials 'MP' for the mintmaster Marsilius Philipsen below. A very lustrous and sharply struck multiple-ducat, with an expressive engraving of the king and full legends that show only the faintest doubling on the reverse. A few inconsequential marks, of trivial importance are noted, but overall, a coin with wonderful eye-appeal. Last traced to a 2011 Künker auction, this example brought a hammer of 85,000 Euros, or the equivalent of approximately $118,000 at that time.

In a effort to gain economic fortune, city governor of Elbing Axel Oxenstierna and mintmaster Marsilius Philipsen, under the authority of Gustav II Adolf, struck coinage in denominations corresponding to the previously circulating Polish types, all being of inferior in their metal content. In a move that ultimately would make both men rich, they flooded the city of Elbing with mostly low-domination coinage, while the larger denominations, carried the bust of Sigismund III in a clandestine attempt to avoid recognition and receive greater adoption. Upon the return of the city to Polish control in 1635, these Swedish issues were banned, resulting in the melting of most of the coinage. The higher denominations, including the 3 ducats offered here, logically saw the highest rates of attrition."

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 10.50 g, .986 gold.

Catalog reference: KM 33, Fr-47, Hagander-95, Suchanek-653, Dutkowski-653 (R8).


  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 7th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2003.
  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and David Michaels, Heritage World & Ancient Coins Auction 3041, featuring the Eric Beckman Collection of Canadian Coins, the Kaiser Collection of German Gold Coins and the Rudman Collection of Mexican Coins, Part I, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2015.

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