Medal of Sigismund II Augustus Issued on the Occasion of his Accession to the Throne

Dominicus Venetus

Ossoliński National Institute

Ossoliński National Institute
Wrocław, Poland

A unique medal struck on the occasion of Sigismund Augustus beginning his reign in 1548. It was the only moment in the history of Poland when a king was elected and crowned while his predecessor, i.e. Sigismund I the Old, was still alive (vivente rege). From the artistic point of view, the medal is a masterpiece of Renaissance medallic art, yet not much is known about its maker – Dominic of Venice. The decoration is signed with the artist’s full name, which was rare in the early 16th century. The copy stored in the Ossolineum collection is the only specimen of that medal cast in gold.


  • Title: Medal of Sigismund II Augustus Issued on the Occasion of his Accession to the Throne
  • Creator: Dominicus Venetus
  • Date Created: 1548
  • Location Created: Cracow, Poland
  • Physical Dimensions: Obverse: in the field the bust of Sigismund Augustus with his face turned to the right, the king depicted with his head uncovered, a short youthful beard visible, wearing a renaissance armour without brassards, a clearly marked collarbone, with an ornamental shirt collar protruding from under it; on the armour there is a cloak in the antique style tied on the left arm, on the left there is an image of a small closed crown topped with a cross along the edge the inscription "□SIGIS□AVG□REX□POLO□MG□DVX□LIT□ÆT□S□XXIX□" [Sigismund Augustus, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, aged twenty-nine]. Reverse: In the field, an eagle with a massive body and talons, an S-shaped neck and wings with several rows of feathers of different sizes, on its head a closed crown topped with a cross, around the edge an inscription: "□ANO□D□NRI□M□DXLVIII□DOMINICVS□VENETVS□FECIT" [year of Our Lord 1548, Dominic of Venice made]. Diameter 49.4 – 49.5 mm, weight 95.3 g.
  • Provenance: Former collection of the Ossolineum in Lviv
  • Type: Medal
  • Publisher: Sigismund II Augustus
  • Medium: Gold, cast

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