The Gold Florins of Medieval Hungary: King Ulazslo (Vladislaus) of Jagiello (1440-1444)
Classic Hungarian Gold Coin Recreated on Modern Legal Tender in Extra Thick, Quadruple Weight Piéfort
The only gold coin Hungary will issue in 2020 reaches back seven centuries, to the florins (goldguldens) of King Ulászló, or Vladislaus, for its inspiration. 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. It corresponds to No. 597 in the Huszar catalog and No. 13 in Friedberg’s Gold Coins of the World.
Born in Krakow, Poland in 1424, at the age of 10, as Władysław (or Vladislaus) III Warneńczyk, he became king of Poland when his father Władysław II died. Thanks to the efforts of Zbigniew Oleśnicki, bishop of Krakow, who was the real power behind the throne, 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. He broke the treaty in two days, resumed his war of religion and continued his invasion of the Balkans. On November 10, 1444, his Polish and Hungarian army was defeated by Murad in the Battle of Varna. Ulászló died in the confict.
The obverse of the coin duplicates the original with a four-part coat of arms with the four Arpad 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 has an exact copy of the original coin with St. Ladislas standing holding a battle axe and orb. In a circle around the coin are “I.UlázslLó ِِِِAranyforintja” (Gold Florin of Ulászló I)
The Hungarian Mint is striking only 500 quadruple-weight (13.964 grams) piéfort coins that are also 20mm and .986 fine, 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) around the edge. While they last, this limited issue is available for $1,319.00.
This issue continues the series begun in 2012 with the gold florin of Charles I. Other issues were for Louis I (2013), Mary, Queen of Hungary (2014), Sigismund (2016), and Albert (2018).