17th c. armour, Poland

The collection of exhibits of the Department of History, founded in 1966, is diverse and rich. We have, inter alia, numismats, militaria  and rich collection of stamp seals from the 19th to 20th century. The archive collects documents, photographs and posters presenting mainly  history of Sanok and the Sanok Land. Undoubtedly, the coins constitute the most numerous group. A golden Celtic coin, dated back to the 2nd century BC is the most precious and also the oldest coin founded in Poland. This is a stater of Nike type, being a faithful imitation of the coins of Alexander the Great. Pallas Athena head in a Corinthian helmet is depicted on the obverse side whereas a figure of Nike, the goddess of victory, and an inscription in the Greek language is depicted on the reverse side. A condition of the coin is very good. That coin has been found in Trepcza near Sanok in 1965. Apart from her we have got over 50 ancient coins mostly Roman. 

The collection is supplemented with over two thousand coins and banknotes from different periods and various countries. The curiosity of the banknotes collection are the first Polish paper money – treasury bills from the time of the Kosciuszko Insurrection (1794). The treasure consisting of the 1007 Swedish and Polish coins from the 16th and 17th century deserves speciall attention. It has been found in Tarnawa Dolna near Sanok. ‘Szeląg lenny’ coin (feudal shilling) of Albert, Duke of Prussia, from 1530 is the oldest coin whereas a ‘półtorak’ coin (one and a half) minted for Sweden in Elblag in 1633 is the youngest. The museum has also a collection of about 300 medals and commemorative plaques. A large part of the collection, dates from the interwar period, is a gift of a well-known collector Adam Gubrynowicz from Zagorz. The collection of medals is still supplemented and increased. Apart from the medals, we have got also orders and badges mainly Austrian and Polish. The most precious among them is a golden miniature of the Order of Virtuti Militari from the time of the Duchy of Warsaw. The collection is supplemented with small stamps, tokens and badges commemorating different events. We have also got patriotic jewellery from 1914 – 1918. The collection of stamp seals consists of 122 exhibits. They are mainly the stamp seals of local commune self-governments as well as various institutions and offices of educational, religious, social and military profiles. We must also mention about the collection of small pipes made out of clay, sea-foam, wood or stone from the 19th and 20th century. Dozens of ritual padlocks excavated from Jewish graves at the already not existing cemetery during earthworks are another curiosity of our collection. Products of Sanok smithery are also presented.

Persian helmet, 18th c.

We have also got quite large collection of militaria. Unfortunately, this collection does not fully present the historical development of the exhibits. The weapon has always aroused great intrest. It concerns both the old and contemporary weapon. These exhibits are often very impressive. Some of them are the real works of art. Our museum has also such specimens to which one must pay special attention. These include an incomplete copy of a Maximilian armour dates back to the 18th century, the armour probably comes from the castle of Firlej family in Odrzykon near Krosno and a breastplate (a cuirass), entire richly decorated with chiseling, probably eastern origin from the 18th century. There is also a helmet of some eastern warrior from the 18th century is also similarly decorated, a shield of the same type and a vambrace (a part of the armour protecting forearm) are supplemented the set.

Polish protective armaments are represented by a hauberk, seven hussar breastplates and three helmets belonging once to the hussar (elitist heavy cavalry) squadron of the hetman’s (a chief commander) regiment of Rzewuski family, and come from Siedliszcze near Chelm Lubelski. A bladed weapon is represented by exhibits coming from different countries and periods. A Turkish sabre from the 18th century with a beautifully decorated blade and a hilt covered with horny facing stands out with special beauty. The 19th century sword from Sudan resembling Polish medieval swords is interesting curiosity. A cannon barrel in type of a falconet dating back to the first half of the 16th century is the oldest exhibit of the shot-guns. This relic belongs to the special and rare example of the early modern artillery dated from the reign of the king Zygmunt Stary (first half of the 16th c.). In accordance with tradition this cannon had been using in the battle of Chocim in 1621. In our collection has been also collected the mortars, so-called ‘vivat cannons’, which were being used during church celebrations for firing cannon volleys. Within  smaller exhibits of the shot-guns we have also examples of several flintlock pistols from the 17th and 18th century and several percussion pistols from the 19th century. There is also Russian powder box made out of deer antlers, from the 18th century. Contemporary militaria are represented by the weapon used in recent times, inter alia, rifles such as: ‘Werndl’, ‘Mosin’, ‘Kropatschek’; pistols: ’TT’; revolvers: ‘Nagant’; machine pistols: ‘PPS’ and ‘PPSz’; machine guns: ckm ‘Maxim’, ckm ‘Goriunow’, rkm ‘DP-28, wkm ‘DSzK’ and a collection of bayonets and German, Soviet and Polish helmets. It is worth mentioning that in our collection we have got relics of The Second Rifle Regiment of Podhale which stationed in Sanok through the entire interwar period. There are five regimental badges, two of them are officers, epaulettes, four cornered caps (worn by Polish soldiers), three military hats and over 250 photographs related with the regiment. As it was mentioned at the beginning, the documents concerning Sanok and surroundings are collected in our archive. The most interesting among them are the guild books from Sanok and Mrzyglod as well as various documents of the Catholic, Orthodox and Greek Catholic Churches. The files of Mniszek-Tchorznicki family are the most significant files of the archive. The collection is supplemented with several dozen maps and plans, including the plan of Sanok from 1847, over 2000 photographs and postcards and posters.

Andrzej Romaniak

Translated by: Piotr Zelny

Railway station in Nowy Zagórz, c. 1910 r.
Sanok market square, before 1914
Market in the market square in Sanok, beginning of the 20th century
Żołnierze rosyjscy w Sanoku po zdobyciu twierdzy Przemyśl, 24.03.1915 r.
Soldiers of The Second Rifle Regiment of Podhale in Sanok market square during commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of Independence
Synagogue in Sanok, c. 1929
German soldiers on the bridge of Oslawa river in Zagórzu, 1939
German tank PzKpfw IV Ausf. H repaired in Sanok Wagon Factory, Sanok, Jagiellonska street, photograph of Z. Beksinski from 1943



Opening hours:

from 20th April to 20th October
Mon 8am – 12pm
other days of the week 9am – 5pm

from 21st October to 19th April
Mon 8am – 12pm
Tues and Wed 9am – 5pm
other days of the week 9am – 3pm

Regular fee – 12 PLN
Reduced fee – 9 PLN
Family – 35 PLN
guided tour in Polish – 47 PLN
guided tour in English, French or German
is available for ordering at the ticket office
or by phone + 48 13 46 306 09 
ext. 35, fare – 62 PLN

© The Historical Museum in Sanok is the exclusive owner of copyrights of Zdzisław Beksiński’s works 


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