If it weren’t for the marauding Hussites, the burgher of Ričany could look forward to buying six cows or an older log house. However, he never enjoyed all the family savings, which he hid in a small cup in the basement of his house. The 348 Prague groschen came to light only after almost six hundred years, when they literally fell out to the new owner of the house.
In the summer of 1420, the Hussites captured the Ričany castle, which was held by Diviš, a loyal friend of King Zikmund. Probably under the influence of ominous rumors about the approaching Hussite army, the owner of the house on Íčanské náměstí descended into his cellar with a mug covered with a lid. Carefully arranged silver coins were hidden under it. The several-day stay of Žižek’s troops led to the destruction of the town and the hidden coins were forgotten.
We will probably never know whether the story actually played out this way in the Middle Ages. “However, the deposit of the treasure is probably related to the Hussite siege of Říčany, which was led by Jan Žižka himself, and to the destruction of the local castle. The treasure thus represents a tangible proof of the turning points in the history of Ríča. The fact that it has survived is almost certainly due to the violent death of its hoarder, who apparently perished during the siege of the city, so there was simply no one to pick up the penny,” said Radek Holodňák, historian and curator of the Říčanský pokladu exhibition.
A hobby led to the treasure
It wasn’t until the 1990s that Jiří Škáb discovered pennies while working in his cellar. “Dad had a hobby of building new and cleaning out the old cellars under our house. He was surprised when a couple of rocks came loose and coins fell out of the wall onto him, but he didn’t examine them too much and left them where they were. It was only five years ago that he reminded me of them and I decided to dedicate them to the museum,” explained the son of the treasure discoverer, Martin Škába.
348 groschen of the kings of Wenceslas IV. and Charles IV. known as the Říčany treasure, people will be able to see them at the Museum in Říčany on November 11 and 12 from 1 to 7 p.m. The museum is preparing a rich accompanying program for the exhibition, during which those interested will, for example, visit the depths of the oldest cellars in Ríča.
The aforementioned cellar has the form of a gradually descending corridor with a barrel vault built of quarried slate. That’s how cellars were usually built back then, even though today we would rather call them just a corridor. At the same time, the nearby Ríčan Castle was built from the same type of stone.
After all, this is where the rumors come from, that all the houses in the town of Ríča in its vicinity were built from the stone of its ruins. According to historians, Martin Škába’s cellar itself is the oldest known in Říčany and it is possible that it remembers the very beginnings of the town in the 13th century.
The police will look after the coins
The find became a sensation almost overnight. Experts at the museum in Brandýs nad Labem discovered that the treasure consists of 348 groschen of the kings of Wenceslas IV. and Charles IV. They thoroughly cleaned and restored them and gradually began to unravel their secrets.
“For this amount, people of that time could buy, for example, six cows, one to two horses or a simple country house,” pointed out Martin Hůrka, historian of the Prague-East Regional Museum.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a rich program, including a unique excursion into the oldest undergrounds in Ričany Square, the history of which dates back to the deep Middle Ages. Maybe other old cellars are waiting for a similar secret to be revealed…