Glitter of gold. From the Collection of the Numismatic Cabinet
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The Emeryk Hutten-Czapski Museum is a very special place. It is first and foremost a kind of national treasury, where the most precious collection of Polish coins and medals is stored. Additionally, it is perhaps the only collection of this type which survived the Second World War virtually without losses despite comprising mainly objects made of gold, which were frequently the first victims of wartime looting and pillage by occupying forces and individuals exploiting the chaos and disruptions of that time.
The most exquisite works of the gold minting and medal-making arts can be seen at the permanent exhibition. But this is not all that the collection has to offer in terms of numismatic items made of this precious raw material, hence the idea to display items (more than 600 in number) which are not exhibited on a day-to-day basis.
The year of the opening of the exhibition is also important and exceptional – it was 120 years ago that the National Museum in Krakow acquired one of the most precious donations in its history, the collection assembled by Count Emeryk Hutten-Czapski. A significant part of this collection is its numismatics, totalling 11 000 items, unequalled by collections of its time or thereafter. And it is from Czapski’s collection that the vast majority of gold items and all of the examples of gold-working, badges and ancient prints displayed at the exhibition will come.
We dedicate this exhibition not only to the memory of its donors, but also to the exceptional quality of gold itself – often forged here into outstanding and breath-taking works of art – a material which is the object of almost universal desire, and one which most often catches the eye of visitors and evokes an understandable level of emotion. Rare is the person who is able to resist the magic of a gold coin, its glitter, its oddly sun-like warmth, and its pleasantly trust-inspiring weight.