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In c. 1540 the counsellors of the King of Poland discovered the central tenet of the quantity theory of money. They were the first to maintain that it was necessary to limit the coinage in order to stop prices rising. Their ideas emerged independently and were much more advanced than the views of Copernicus, and they were applied by the Polish government. The article also claims that this policy was, in principle, appropriate to check the rise of prices. Its investigation of economic conditions in Prussia shows that there is no need for a controversy between the proponents of the monetary and the neo-Malthusian explanations.