The monetary hoard from the XVI-XVII centuries discovered in Pui (Hunedoara County), with some considerations regarding the circulation of foreign coins in the Hunedoara County
Autor: Olimpia Palamariu
The hoard from Pui was discovered by chance in the fall of 1998 in the local orthodox parish cemetery. Consisting of 1277 coins, it is dated from the XVI-XVII centuries. The coins were hidden in a covered, one ear ceramic vase. The typology of the vase fits in the category of the vessels dated by coins, from the XVI-XVII centuries.
The coins of the thesaurus range on a 86 years period, the oldest being a coin worth 3 groschen, issued in 1544 by Albert of Brandenburg, the Duke of Prusia, whilst the newest are issued by the town of Ragussa- 4 coins in value of 3 groschen, dating from 1627 and 1630. They are emitted for Transylvania by the princes Sigismund Bathory and Gabriel Bethlen (14 pieces), for Hungary, by Stefan Bocskay (9 pieces); for Prussia by Albert of Brandenburg and Georg Wilhelm (3 pieces); for Curland by Friedrich Kettler (5 pieces); for Ciesczyn by Adam Wenzel (2 pieces), for Ragussa (4 pieces);for The Dutch Confederation (2 pieces) as well as for Poland, Lituania, Riga and Danzig by the kings Stefan Bathory and Sigismund III Wassa (1238 pieces).
The value of the coins varies, being represented by coins of 3, 6, and 18 groschen as well as thalers. The diversity of the coinage is a phenomenon found in Transylvania, starting with XVI th century, due to the lack of silver fractional units of currency. In compensation, it was a massive afflux of Hungarian coins (XVIth century) as well as Polish or coming from a Polish channel (XVIIth century). As a rule, the Transylvanian princes coined fractional silver money only in reduced quantities, focussing mostly on gold and large silver coins (thalers).
The penetration of the Polish coins, not only in Transylvania but in Moldavia and Valachia as well, is also recorded by the English traveler Robert Bargrave, who notes:” coins of 1,5 groschen (Polish groschen) and 3 groschen (troiaci) circulate here as well as in Poland”. As small and middle value coins there were also “şuştacii” (6 groschen) and orţii (18 groschen), the equivalent of a ¼ thaler.
The penetration channels of these coins are diverse, due to the commercial connections or to the needs of payment and maintenance of the army.
From a value and numerical perspective, the hoard from Pui is the most representative medieval find discovered until today in the Hunedoara County, being buried between 1630-1651. The fact of concealing the coins was due to the feeling of incertitude after Gabriel Bethlen’s death, in 1629, and the abdication of Ecaterina of Brandenburg in 1630, as well as the intestine conflicts created for the acceding to the prince’s throne, not to mention the war of 30 years.
As regarding the owner of the hoard, taking into account the large number of pieces, their value and the time interval relatively short to amass, we can suppose that it was one of the wealthy persons in the area.