THE 'SECOND MUSCOVITE CROWN' AND OTHER PLEDGED JEWELS FROM THE TREASURY OF THE POLISH-LITHUANIAN COMMONWEALTH (Druga Korona Moskiewska i inne klejnoty zastawne ze skarbca Rzeczypospolitej)
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The so-called 'Muscovite crown' arouse much interest since the early 17th c., when it came to Poland. It was given to the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa by the False Dimitri (Grigori Bogdanovich Otrepev, an impostor proclaimed tsar in June 1605) after his coronation. The crown was first kept in the private treasury of the Vasa dynasty. It was inherited by king Ladislaus (Wladyslaw) IV, who in turn bequeathed it to the Commonwealth, but it fact it was owned by the Vasa family until the end of John Casimir's reign. Its looks are known from a small picture by an anonymous painter, showing Sigismund III lying in state. The king is wearing the crown in question, which was called 'the first Muscovite crown'. Ladislaus IV's half-brother and successor, John Casimir, had not returned the crown to the Wawel Treasury until his abdication. According to notes left by the papal nuncio Galeazzo Marescotti, John Casimir had had the crown dismantled and the gold thus obtained sold before he left Poland in 1669. As the Seym of the Commonwealth requested the insignia to be returned, John Casimir commissioned the goldsmith Tobias Rychter to make a replica, which came to be known as 'the second Muscovite crown'. On the basis of a description preserved in the State Archive in Gdansk we know the appearance of the crown, including the number of pearls and the quality of precious stones it was embellished with. An inventory of the crown was made by the order of the Seym when it was decided that the crown, together with some other jewels from the Wawel Treasury, will be given to the elector of Brandenburg as part of pledge for Elblag (Elbing) on the 1st of February 1700. The inventory description was included in Samuel Gottlieb Fuchs' chronicle Fata civitatis Elbingensis Bellica [1237-1772] and in Wilhelm Rupson's and Johann H. Dewiz's chronicles Annales Elbingenses. The crown and the other jewels were handed over to the representative of the elector, Johann Dietrich von Hoverbeck, by Jerzy Towianski, castellan of Leczyca, in the presence of the town councilors of Elblag. Hoverbeck, in turn, passed the pledge to Wilhelm Brandt, general of the Brandenburg army occupying Elblag. The jewels, sealed, were taken to Berlin and placed in the Gallery over the Great Stables, where they probably remained until 1795. Their later fate is unkown.
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