Czworak: coin from Grand Duchy of Lithuania; 4 grosze


Czworak, 1568: Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Czworak, 1568: Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Ruler: Sigismund II Augustus (Polish "Zygmunt II August", Lithuanian "Žygimantas Augustas") — King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. The first ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

MONETA MAGNI DVCAT LITVA - 1568: coinage (money, coin) of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania - 1568.

IIII: the denomination of the coin is indicated exclusively only in Latin numerals (without the words), moreover, in the outdated format — IIII instead of the usual format in the modern world — IV.

Crowned unofficial coat of arms combining two Lithuanian heraldic symbols: mounted armored knight holding a sword and shield known as Vytis and the Columns of Gediminas or Pillars of Gediminas.

SIGIS AVG D G REX PO MAG DVX L (Latin "Sigismundus Augustus dei gratia Rex Poloniae, Magnus Dux Lithuaniae"): Sigismund Augustus, by the grace of God, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania.

Charismatic crowned portrait of Sigismund II Augustus with luxuriant beard (probably the most striking portrait of a ruler I have seen on coins of all historical eras and states; as a result, it is one of my favorite coins in the collection in terms of design).

  • Silver: 24 mm - 4.12 g
  • Reference price: 93$

COIN CZWORAK — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. GRAND DUCHY OF LITHUANIA (1565-1569): czworak = 4 grosze (grašis or groats)

CZWORAK as coin name.
If you do an Internet search for "czworak," you'll find references to two completely unrelated coins — a 16th-century Lithuanian silver coin and a much later Austrian gold coin. I consider it correct to call the term czworak only the first of them.
So, czworak is a fairly large (more than 4 g) silver coin minted in Lithuania during the years 1565-1569.
It is interesting that some catalogs mention czworak in the section on coins of Poland. The fact is that this coin appeared just before the signing of the Union of Lublin in 1569: the agreement on the unification of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania into a union of states — the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The obverse of the coin contained the portrait and titles of Sigismund II Augustus of the Jagiellonian dynasty — the royal family that at that time ruled both the lands of Lithuania and Poland. However, the reverse clearly shows the Lithuanian coat of arms and the name of the issuer — Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Most likely, the coin was intended to unify the monetary systems of the two main Jagiellonian states.
As for the name, it indicates the multiplicity of a coin to four smaller units (from Polish "cztery" — four): czworak = 4 grosze (Lithuanian grosz is sometimes also called grašis or groat). There is a clear analogy with the names of Polish coins: poltorak (1.5 grosz), trojak (3 grosz) and szostak (6 grosz).
It is interesting that the czworak was quite widely used in trade with the countries of Western Europe, where it was known under the conventional name "Barthes" (name for a bearded person, derived from the old German word "Bardo" which means "bearded one") due to a very bright and the charismatic portrait of the King.