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The seal of Koszyce imprinted in green wax, hanging on a parchment belt attached to a document probably issued for coopers in Koszyce. In the stamp field, there is a figure of Saint Stanislaus — another symbol of the town, along with two little baskets.

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The seal of Koszyce imprinted in green wax, hanging on a parchment belt attached to a document probably issued for coopers in Koszyce. In the stamp field, there is a figure of Saint Stanislaus — another symbol of the town, along with two little baskets.

Elaborated by the Stanisław Boduch Koszyce Land Museum, © all rights reserved

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What is sigillography and the secret language of stamps?

Kazimierz Stronczyński, who was for some time in possession of the valuable Włocławek reliquary (Kruszwica reliquary) presented on the website, was a distinguished cataloguer of historical items, a creator of numismatics and an inestimable expert and researcher of seals...

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Kazimierz Stronczyński, who was for some time in possession of the valuable Włocławek reliquary (Kruszwica reliquary) presented on the website, was a distinguished cataloguer of historical items, a creator of numismatics and an inestimable expert and researcher of seals.
Sigillography is the science focused on the history, meaning and secret language of stamps.
In the past, when paper correspondence was the main channel for transferring information, there was a whole language of signs.
Private letters were always sealed with white wax. The shades of white had their significance: snow white was reserved for the most distinguished figures, off-white was used to seal letters addressed to persons of a lower rank.
Red wax, which can also be bought today, was intended for postal correspondence.
Anyone who has contact with official documents knows how important it is to press the stamp of a person signing a document in a legible and straight way. Or is this approach just an indication of the care for details and respect for the addressee and nothing else?
Perhaps it was the trace of practice and custom of the times when correspondence was art (text written in calligraphy, properly selected paper, signature and stamp became the equivalent elements of a message).
In the world of these codes and symbols, a lopsided stamp was interpreted in a straightforward way of breaking all contacts with the addressee, even if the contents of the letter did not suggest such a decisive move...

Elaborated by Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

See seals from the collection of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums:
Wax seal of the imperial and royal (C.K.) District Starost (head of district)
Stamp of the drapers’ guild
Seal of Koszyce

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Koszyce, the royal city

The first source of information about Koszyce is contained in the data on Peter’s pence from the year 1328, where a record states: “Peter’s pence was donated jointly by the parish of Witów–Koszyce”.
A breakthrough in written sources regarding the city took place in 1374. That year, a city charter under Magdeburg law was granted to Koszyce by Elizabeth, daughter of Władysław I the Elbow-high.

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The first source of information about Koszyce is contained in the data on Peter’s pence from the year 1328, where a record states: “Peter’s pence was donated jointly by the parish of Witów–Koszyce”.
A breakthrough in written sources regarding the city took place in 1374. That year, a city charter under Magdeburg law was granted to Koszyce by Elizabeth, daughter of Władysław I the Elbow-high.
Granting a city charter under Magdeburg law to Koszyce meant that it had already become a developed city by that time. On the one hand, the location privilege granted by Elizabeth under Magdeburg law could have been a confirmation, and, on the other hand, an extension of an earlier charter which is unknown to us. When bestowing the charter upon Koszyce, Queen Elizabeth established weekly markets on Mondays. After receiving the privileges, Koszyce became a royal free city, i.e. a state city.
It comes as a surprise that, in 1421, 47 years later, Koszyce received its second city charter under Magdeburg Law, granted by King Władysław Jagiełło. It is difficult today to provide a definite answer to the question of why Koszyce received two city charters under Magdeburg law. Two versions are considered. The first one assumes that the document from 1374 could have been lost and had to be renewed. According to the second version, the first city charter was not given by the crowned head, but by the regent who was then Elisabeth of Poland, and it was necessary that the king had it renewed.
In any case, Koszyce underwent rapid development during that time. Of significant influence, apart from the introduction of Magdeburg law, which contributed to the city’s boom, was the fact that there were three trade routes running through the royal city: the so-called royal route Kraków–Sandomierz, the Kiev route Kraków–Sandomierz–Lublin–Kiev, and the river route along the Vistula (in the town of Morsko near Koszyce, the fifth largest river port was located, from which salt from Bochnia, grain, and timber were floated down the river).
Koszyce as a city had a coat of arms, a market square, and a city hall. The coat of arms was a legal and political attribute of the city and appeared on its seal. The procedure and date of endowing the coats of arms are unknown. According to Prof. M. Gumowski, Koszyce had two coats of arms. The first one showed two baskets in a blue field. The second coat of arms showed the figure of St. Stanisław of Szczepanów in golden robes, and this type of civic identification mark appears on the seal presented on the portal.
During the initial period after the introduction of Magdeburg law, the power on behalf of the king was held by the vogt. Sources from 1382 state that the power in Koszyce was held by a vogt named Paweł, and, in 1412, they mentioned Wojciech, a village mayor from Jawiszowice, who was a town councillor. Along with the development of the city, city councillors appeared. The first information about city councillors from Koszyce dates back to 1399. Over time, the vogt’s authority was replaced by that of the mayor and city council, which held extensive authority. It could, among others, enact statutes for guilds, such as the statute of the grand guild in Koszyce presented by us, which later had to be approved by the king.
Koszyce belonged to cities with a craft and trade profile. According to the register from the end of the 17th century, there were 70 craftsmen in the town, as well as 12 traders, and 46 people were engaged in agriculture. For comparison, at that time, there were 56 craftsmen in Proszowice. This testifies to the rapid development of Koszyce, which also had its own measurement unit: i.e. 1 Koszyce bushel equalled ¼ of a Kraków bushel.
The 17th century saw a progressive decline of the Małopolska’s cities, including Koszyce. Then, along came the partitions, the Napoleonic wars (Koszyce were within the boundaries of the Duchy of Warsaw) and the January Uprising of 1863, which was important for Koszyce. The city then became a crossing point for movement of troops and weaponry, and the residents became allies of the insurgents. After the suppression of the uprising, severe repressions commenced on the tsar’s orders, who – through the Committee Ordering the Kingdom – on June 1, 1868, revoked the city rights of Koszyce and several dozen other cities. For the time being, irreversibly.

Elaborated by The Stanisław Boduch Koszyce Land Museum, © all rights reserved

See:
Seal of Koszyce

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About the coopers of Wieliczka

In the mid-18th century, the coopers’ guild was one of the most important in Wieliczka. There is evidence for this from that era. In 1760, the mayor and the town council of Wieliczka confirmed the previous year’s dispositions determining the order of seats occupied by individual guilds during services in the local church.

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In the mid-18th century, the coopers’ guild was one of the most important in Wieliczka. There is evidence for this from that era. In 1760, the mayor and the town council of Wieliczka confirmed the previous year’s dispositions determining the order of seats occupied by individual guilds during services in the local church. There were ten guilds in Wieliczka at that time: barbers, weavers, associated crafts, rope-makers, butchers, blacksmiths, tailors, furriers, cobblers, and coopers. The places where craftsmen sat in the church were determined by their importance. The first row — in front of the grand altar — was reserved for coopers.
On the inside of the chest’s lid, the names of the elders of the cooper’s guild are listed; among them, the name of an insubordinatey cooper — Jan Tekieli — was mentioned. This man married Franciszka, daughter of Jakub Woytowicz, the master cooper. Thanks to this marriage, he came into possession of one of the twelve workshops, but he did not submit to the guild and city jurisdiction. He settled in Klaśnie, on the estate of the Lubomirski family, and there, for many years, he engaged in his craft. He stood against the city and the guild. Under the protection of the nobles, he took no heed of court judgements which were unfavourable to him. Finally, Jan Tekieli was caught because he did not want to pay his municipal tax of twenty zloty and was imprisoned in the town hall. However, as a result of an intervention on his behalf, he had to be released. He then spoke: “... let the councillors account for what they take from the barrels, but I will not pay this tax”, and he did not pay. His case was much publicised and undermined the authority of the guild and city. Finally, King August III intervened, resolving that Jan Tekieli be removed from the guild and his workshop be sold to a free cooper who had city rights. A master craftsman such as Tekieli, who dwelled on noblemen’s or churches’ estates, was to be regarded as an unlawful craftsman and a miscreant (more in the article, “Guilds”).

Elaborated by Kraków Salt Works Museum in Wieliczka, © all rights reserved

See: 
Cooper’s guid chest
Seal of Koszyce

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Seal of Koszyce

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