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.