Medieval Hungarian Gold Florin Series Continues with Release of Queen Mary Issue
Queen Mary (1382–1395) honored with series of gold and brass coins from the Hungarian Mint.
With the issue of Queen Mary’s gold florin, the National Bank of Hungary (Magyar Nemzeti Bank) continues its series “Medieval Hungarian Gold Florins,” begun with the gold florins of Charles I in 2012 and Louis I in 2013. The obverse of the 2014-dated coin depicts the obverse of Queen Mary’s gold florin with a field of six stripes in a rosette.
A figure of Saint Ladislaus holding an axe is found on the back, along with a cross in a circle mint mark which was used exclusively on the coins minted under Queen Mary’s reign. The models are the designed of sculptor E. Tamás Soltra. The original coin is found in Friedberg’s Gold Coins of the World as No. 8, where it is priced at several thousand dollars.
The 50,000 forint gold coin is offered in two versions: The first is a ducat standard (.986 gold, 3.491 grams) issue for $397.75 and limited to 2,000 pieces.
The second is a special piéfort, which is thicker than the regular issue and is of quadruple weight (13.964 grams). This version has the edge inscription:
+ MARIA • DEI • GRATIA • REGINA • VNGARIE
(Mary, by the Grace of God, Queen of Hungary).
The mintage is limited to only 500 coins and it is already sold out at the Hungarian Mint. It is available to North American collectors on a first-come, first-served basis for $1,775.
Both coins are in brilliant uncirculated quality.
For the first time in the history of issuing forint collector coins, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank is also issuing a non-ferrous metal circulation version of a gold commemorative coin, with the same pattern, but a face value of 2,000 forints and a mintage of 5,000. It weighs 2.7 grams and costs $19.50.
The coins are being offered in the United States through the Hungarian Mint’s North American Representative: Coin & Currency Institute. Orders can be placed online at www.coin-currency.com or over the telephone, by calling Toll-free 1-800-421-1866.
About Mary, Queen of Hungary
Mary, Queen of Hungary, was born the daughter of King Louis I and Elizabeth Kotromanić of Bosnia in 1371. One week after the death of King Louis on September 10, 1382, Mary was crowned Queen of Hungary in Székesfehérvár, but her mother assumed the regency for the 11-year old child. In August of 1385, Mary was betrothed to Sigismund, but her mother wished to keep power and successfully prevented Sigismund from taking the throne for some time. Elizabeth was only supported by some of the barons, and pressured by the opposing faction she had to accept the coronation of Charles Durazzoi (the Short) as King Charles II of Hungary on December 31, 1385. The queen, however, arranged to have Charles II assassinated by Balázs Forgách on February 7, 1386 at the Castle of Buda (Charles died of his wounds on February 24 in Visegrád).
After Charles’ death, Mary was nominally ruler again, but in practice the country was run by Elizabeth and her main supporter, Palatine Nicholas I Garai. In 1386, the queen and her mother were attacked while travelling in Croatian territory and captured, and Elizabeth was strangled in front of her daughter’s eyes. Mary was only released from captivity after the coronation of Sigismund as King of Hungary on March 31, 1387. She did not participate in ruling the country then either, as her husband ran the affairs of state. On May 17, 1395, the pregnant Queen died as the result of falling from her horse while hunting. She was buried in Nagyvárad (now Oradea, Romania) next to the tomb of Saint Ladislaus.
Queen Mary had gold florins, silver denars and obol coins minted during her short reign. Her gold florins were a direct successor to those minted by her father, featuring the Hungarian arms and those of the house of Anjou on the front and a standing figure of Saint Ladislaus on the back. Mint marks on the gold coins were not yet known and so far it has not been possible to determine where the coins were minted. Logically speaking, the most important mints might have been involved, such as Buda or Körmöcbánya (present-day Kremnica, Slovakia) or the mint in Transylvania, where gold coins had previously been minted. There is similar uncertainty about when Queen Mary’s minting of coins came to an end: did it end in 1387 when Sigismund ascended the throne, or did it continue until her death in 1395?