200 years since the birth of Hungarian writer Janos Arany celebrated on two new coins

Eastern European mints seem to revel in their respective countries history, with generals, monarchs and artists particularly popular. Writers definitely fall within the last group and this new coin pair from the Hungarian Mint celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Janos Arany fits the genre perfectly.

Two coins with completely different designs have been announced. The sterling (0.925) silver coin is an ounce in weight with a denomination of 10,000 forints. The reverse depicts Arany in later life, formally dressed, with an inscribed signature to the top-right. Also inscribed is the quote ‘KOBZAN A DAL MAGARA VALL’ from his work ‘The Bard of Wales’, written in 1857. The obverse carries the denomination and issuer, along with an inscribed quote from his most famous work, ‘Toldi’ from 1846. A statue of a character from the story, Miklos Toldi, occupies the main central area of the coin.

The gold is a welcome 0.5g mini, a format we’ve seen increasingly more of over the last few years. Even though they’re just 11 mm across and have a high cost:weight ratio, they’re popular because they remain fundamentally affordable, this one being just €39.00 for example. Because of the size, designs are less complex to maintain clarity. The reverse of this one depicts a tighter portrait along with his name and the dates of his birth and death. The obverse seems to defy that expectation, however. Full of fine text radiating out from the centre, each the title of one of his works, it’s an impressive piece of fine minting. The denomination and issuer are also present, along with yet another quote from Toldi.

We’re not going to suggest these are coins with a wide appeal, but this kind of subject matter always seems to find an audience and these are unlikely to be any different. The silver comes in a small box is requested (€3 extra), but we don’t believe the gold does, although it is encapsulated. Available now, they can be ordered from the Hungarian Mint, the silver for a very reasonable €32.50. A base-metal version of the silver coin is also for sale with a price of €6.50 and a mintage of 5,000.

2017 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF JANOS ARANY PROOF COINS

JANOS ARANY

János Arany, was a Hungarian journalist, writer, poet, and translator. He is often said to be the “Shakespeare of ballads”, writing more than 40 ballads which have been translated into over 50 languages, as well as the Toldi trilogy. Born on 02 March 1817 in Nagyszalonta, Bihar county, Habsburg Hungar, he was the youngest of ten children, but because of tuberculosis running in the family, only two of them lived beyond childhood.

Learning to read and write early on, to support his family he began working at the age of 14 as an associate teacher. In 1845, he won the competition of the Kisfaludy Társaság (a literary society) with his writing, and in 1858 he was elected a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, becoming secretary-general of the Academy in 1865. Arany died in Budapest on 22 October 1882.

He translated three dramas of Shakespeare into Hungarian, as well as works by Aristophanes, Mikhail Lermontov, Aleksandr Pushkin, and Molière. The epic poetry of János Arany presents the legendary and historical past of his nation. The Death of King Buda (1864), the first part of a projected Hun trilogy is one of the best narrative poems in Hungarian literature. Arany is today considered as one of the greatest Hungarian poets beside Sándor Petőfi, Endre Ady, Miklós Radnóti and Attila József.

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SPECIFICATION

NAME 2017 JANOS ARANY 2017 JANOS ARANY
DENOMINATION 5,000 Forint 10,000 Forint
COMPOSITION 0.999 gold 0.925 silver
WEIGHT 0.5 grams 31.46 grams
DIAMETER 11.0 mm 38.61 mm
FINISH Proof-like Proof
MODIFICATIONS None None
MINTAGE 5,000 50,000
BOX / COA No / Yes Extra / Yes

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HUNGARIAN MINT