Centuries-Old Treasure Linked To An Infamous Conman Found In The Mountains Of Poland

Published May 21, 2024
Updated May 22, 2024

According to Polish legend, an 18th-century conman named Anthony Jaczewicz accumulated a vast fortune by convincing visitors to his hermitage that he was blessed with divine healing abilities. Now, amateur historians may have uncovered his trove of silver and gold coins.

Polish Coins

Świętokrzyska Exploration GroupOne of the coins alleged to be part of Anthony Jaczewicz’s treasure hoard.

While surveying the mountains of Poland, a team of metal detectorists with the Świętokrzyska Exploration Group recently uncovered a trove of silver and gold coins from the 17th and early 18th centuries. Now, researchers believe the treasure may have belonged to legendary 18th-century conman Anthony Jaczewicz.

According to legend, in the early 1700s, Jaczewicz claimed to have been granted divine healing powers by the Virgin Mary herself. Desperate for protection from illness, nearby villagers flocked to Jaczewicz’s hermitage in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains and paid him handsomely to “cure” them.

Centuries later, researchers are studying the coins to extract additional information about this controversial historical figure in Polish history.

The Świętokrzyska Exploration Group Discovers Treasure

Exploration Crew Digging For Coins

Świętokrzyska Exploration GroupThe exploration crew digs for coins.

In June 2022, detectorists from the Świętokrzyska Exploration Group set out into the Świętokrzyskie Mountains in south-central Poland to find traces of Jaczewicz’s legendary treasure trove.

There, the crew uncovered a collection of silver and gold coins dated to the 17th and 18th centuries, including orts, sixes, patagoons, krajcars, and kopecks.

In a statement from the Świętokrzyska Exploration Group, Sebastian Grabowiec, president of the group, expressed his excitement over the find.

“We started work in June 2022 and on June 12, our colleague Paweł Polak found the first deposit of silver coins,” Grabowiec stated. “It was the largest and most impressive deposit, there were a lot of them, unfortunately we cannot talk about numbers yet because conservation works are still ongoing and the search is still ongoing.”

The team discovered another smaller deposit of coins not long after they made the first discovery. Among the most interesting finds was a 1648 gold Hamburg ducat featuring a depiction of Madonna and Child.

“[That was] a cherry on the cake of the discoveries so far,” Grabowiec said. “I would like to thank all my colleagues from the association for their patience and perseverance.”

The Life Of Grifter Anthony Jaczewicz

Silver Coin

Świętokrzyska Exploration GroupAn ornate silver coin from the newly discovered hoard.

Researchers believe this treasure trove may have once belonged to Anthony Jaczewicz, an 18th-century Polish conman.

According to Polish legend, Jaczewicz arrived in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains at the beginning of the 18th century. During the Great Northern War (1700 – 1721), the Republic of Poland experienced a severe plague outbreak. Jaczewicz took advantage of the local villagers’ fear and claimed to have been granted healing powers by the Virgin Mary.

Desperate villagers would travel to his hermitage in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains to pay for his healing prayers. It’s said that Jaczewicz accumulated such a vast fortune from his grift that he turned his hermitage into a lavish mountain fortress complete with armed guards.

By 1712, local aristocrats had caught wind of Jaczewicz’s schemes and had him arrested. He was sentenced to life in prison for the fraud. The coins the detectorists found buried in the earth may have been his last-ditch effort to preserve his wealth before authorities caught up to him.

The exploration crew has sent the coins to the Historical and Archaeological Museum in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski for further study.

“[Their] conservation and detailed numismatic and historical analysis are planned this year, which we hope will provide more answers about the past of this deposit,” said Wojciech Siudowski, a speaker from the Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments, according to Heritage Daily.

After reading about Anthony Jaczewicz’s coins, dive into the story of Victorio Peak and its alleged treasure hoard. Then, read about the Forest Fenn Treasure, the loot left in the Rocky Mountains that people have died searching for.

Amber Morgan
Amber Morgan is an Editorial Fellow for All That's Interesting. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in political science, history, and Russian. Previously, she worked as a content creator for America House Kyiv, a Ukrainian organization focused on inspiring and engaging youth through cultural exchanges.
Jaclyn Anglis
Jaclyn is the senior managing editor at All That's Interesting. She holds a Master's degree in journalism from the City University of New York and a Bachelor's degree in English writing and history (double major) from DePauw University. She is interested in American history, true crime, modern history, pop culture, and science.
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Morgan, Amber. "Centuries-Old Treasure Linked To An Infamous Conman Found In The Mountains Of Poland." AllThatsInteresting.com, May 21, 2024, https://allthatsinteresting.com/anthony-jaczewicz-treasure. Accessed June 21, 2024.