Hungary issues gold coin with design from the 15th century
- Published: Jan 28, 2020, 10 AM
Hungary’s only gold coin for 2020 celebrates a classic gold florin from the 1400s.
The modern coin highlights the gold florins of medieval Hungary, specifically for King Ulászló (Vladislaus) of Jagiello (1440 to 1444).
The 50,000-forint legal tender gold coin is modeled after a coin minted for Ulászló now in the collection of the Hungarian National Museum. That coin is cataloged as Friedberg 13 in Gold Coins of the World by Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg.
All about that king
Born in Krakow, Poland, in 1424, at the age of 10, as Władysław (or Vladislaus) III Warnenczyk, he became king of Poland when his father Władysław II died.
Ulászló was also crowned king of Hungary in 1440. His ascendancy was opposed by Queen Elizabeth, the daughter of King Sigismund and widow of King Albert, who died in 1439, and wanted the throne for her infant son. Ulászló was given the throne with the help of Pope Eugenius IV so he could lead a crusade against the Ottomans.
In 1443, he and János Hunyadi invaded the Balkans with 40,000 troops.
They forced Sultan Murad II to make the Peace of Szeged on July 1, 1444. It forced the Ottomans to leave all lands taken from Hungary and to pay 100,000 gold florins. Ulászló broke the treaty in two days, resumed his war of religion and continued his invasion of the Balkans.
On Nov. 10, 1444, his Polish and Hungarian army was defeated by Murad in the Battle of Varna. Ulászló died in the conflict.
Design and specifications
The obverse of the coin duplicates the center of the original’s obverse, with a four-part coat of arms with the four Árpád stripes and a double cross representing Hungary, and a crowned eagle and a knight on horseback from Poland. In the field next to the coin image, a medieval minter is shown hammering a die to produce a coin.
The center of the reverse similarly reflects the original coin’s reverse, with St. Ladislas standing holding a battle axe and orb. In a circle around the coin are I.ULÁSZLÓ ARANYFORINTJA (“Gold florin of Ulászló I”).
The .986 fine gold coin weighs 3.491 grams and measures 20 millimeters in diameter. The Prooflike coin is limited to a mintage of 2,000 pieces and retails for $389.
In addition, the Hungarian Mint is striking 500 quadruple-weight (13.964 grams) piedfort gold coins that are also 20 millimeters in diameter, but four times as thick and heavy as the regular striking, with the inscription ULÁSZLÓ DEI GRATIA REX VNGARIE (“Ulászló, King of Hungary by the grace of God”) added around the edge. The piedfort coins are priced at $1,319.
A Brilliant Uncirculated copper-nickel-zinc 2,000-forint coin with the same design, weighing 2.7 grams and measuring 20 millimeters in diameter, is also available. Limited to a mintage of 5,000 pieces, the coin retails for $19.95.
Shipping and handling are an additional charge.
All three coins will be ready for delivery to North America in February.
The 2020 coin is the latest in a series that began in 2012. Earlier releases honor the gold florins of Charles I (2012), Louis I (2013), Mary, Queen of Hungary (2014), Sigismund (2016), and Albert (2018).
To order, visit the website of the Hungarian Mint’s North American representative, the Coin & Currency Institute.
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