World Coins

Hungary celebrates famous doctor on new coins

Hungary honors the scientific contributions of Dr. Ignác Semmelweis with two new coins, including the Uncirculated copper-nickel 2,000-forint version shown here.

Images courtesy of the Coin & Currency Institute.

Ignác Semmelweis ranks among the world’s best known Hungarians. 

To mark the 200th anniversary of his birth on July 1, 1818, the National Bank of Hungary is issuing silver 10,000-forint and copper-nickel 2,000-forint commemorative coins. 

The obverse of the coin features a three-quarter-view portrait of Semmelweis, with his initials next to it. The bottom legend, 1818–1865, refers to the dates of his birth and death. 

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Semmelweis is known as the “savior of mothers.” He was the first person to discover that “childbed fever” was not a disease, but rather an infection spread by doctors. Unfortunately, decades beyond his own death, people continued to die from the same infection source, before the medical field adopted healthier practices based on his findings. 


The central motif on the reverse is a hospital scene in which Semmelweis is shown washing his hands, with a mother and baby in the background. Particular emphasis is placed on the bottle containing chlorinated lime and the depiction of hand-washing.

The coins of both denominations measure 38.61 millimeters in diameter, and both have mintages limited to 5,000 pieces. 

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The Proof .925 silver 10,000-forint coin weighs 31.46 grams and is offered at $68.75 from distributor Coin & Currency Institute. 

The Uncirculated copper-nickel 2,000-forint coin weighs 30.8 grams and costs $19.95.

To order the coins, visit the firm’s website.

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