2018 is being celebrated as the King Matthias Memorial Year in Hungary as it’s the year that celebrates both the 560th anniversary of his coronation as well as his 575th birth anniversary. A 20,000 forint sterling silver coin and a 2,000 forint copper-nickel coin with similar designs are being released by Hungarian Mint to celebrate this occasion. Mintage limit for both coins is 5,000 pieces. The 77.76 grams .925 fine silver proof coin has a diameter of 2.05 inches and is the largest coin of Hungary which can be bought for $99.75. The 76.5 grams uncirculated copper-nickel coin can be bought for $19.75. They will be issued on 17th November and will be offered for sale to the public in December.
The obverse features the king’s bust which is inspired by his relief in Bautzen, Germany. He holds a sceptre in his right hand, an orb in his left, and there’s a crown above his head. Other elements include Matthias’ coat-of-arms and a crow. The reverse features designs from his original throne depicting a helmet and armour to indicate his achievements in military campaigns. Another element on the reverse is his signature. Matthias was the first Hungarian King to leave his signature on surviving official documents. The Gold florin coin design of King Matthias is featured to symbolise the monetary reforms undertaken by him. The famous Madonna and child image was introduced to Hungarian coinage by the King. The dates 1443, -58 and -90 are the years of his birth, ascension to throne and death. Other inscriptions include the mint date 2018 and mint mark BP. for Budapest. The 0 in the mint date is held by a crow with its beak. The crow is a part of the Hunyadi coat-of-arms.
King Matthias I was the most popular king of Hungary from 1458 to 1490 and also the country’s first elected King. He was exposed to social and political life as a child. The great scholar and Bishop of Varad, John Vitez trained the king in the field of humanism. Even though he found it hard to prove his legitimacy, he went on to have great control after he was elected as King. He formed a standing army of mercenaries for the first time in Hungary from the increasing royal revenues. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to defeat the powerful Ottoman Empire and hence opted for a defensive war against them. However, he marched westward to become the King of Dalmatia, Croatia, Rama, Serbia, Galicia, Lodomeria, Cumania and Bulgaria. He was also named the Duke of Austria.
Matthias Corvinus loved art and science. He also liked reading and acquired several books from Italy. He read ancient classics of philosophy and natural science in Latin, Greek and, Hebrew, and literary works of Roman writers. His library was as big as the Vatican library during those times.
Image Courtesy: Hungarian Mint