Hungary 50,000 Forint (4 Ducats) 2011. 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Franz Liszt. Piéfort Gold Proof
Value: 50,000 Ft (Weight of 4 Ducats)
Metal: .986 gold
Weight: 13.964 g
Marking the bicentennial anniversary of Franz Liszt’s birthday, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Hungary’s central bank) is proud to issue two versions of a gold commemorative coin. (The regular issue 50,000 forint is listed elsewhere on this website.) Designed by Tamás E. Soltra, the coin depicts Liszt as a young man, on the basis of the portrait by Ingres. The obverse of the coin features the legend “Rakoczi Marsch” under a piano lid and a quote from the sheet music of the Rákóczi March in the style of Liszt’s handwriting.
For the first time in recent memory, the Hungarian Mint is striking a coin a piéfort, with the legend Mint magyar hazámnak hű fia: Liszt Ferenc (“As a loyal son of the Hungarian nation: Ferenc Liszt”) around the edge. “Piéfort” is the term used to signify a coin struck on a thicker coin blank (most often twice the size) than normal. Though these are historically trial pieces, they were nonetheless often used as money based on their weight. This piece corresponds exactly in weight and fineness to the traditional 4 ducat coin of the kingdom.
One of the greatest pianists of all times and a master of Romanticism, Franz Liszt was born on October 22, 1811 in the village of Doborján (present-day Raiding in Austria), in the county of Sopron, Hungary. He was an incredibly impressive pianist, a bold, ground-breaking composer, a masterful conductor and a widely-respected teacher and writer on the subject of music.
Liszt’s musical talent emerged at a very early age. In 1822, he became of a student of Czerny and Salieri in Vienna. In December 1823, he moved to Paris, where he learned the subtleties of piano playing from Chopin, the art of conducting and the latest developments in symphonic music from Berlioz, and was moved to perfect his technique on the piano by the virtuoso violin playing of Paganini. The years in Paris made a lasting impression on Liszt as he developed from a child genius giving concerts and composing to become a grown man. He transformed himself into an accomplished artist through constant practice, reading and work. Composing became an increasingly important part of his work.
In 1833, he met his great love and first partner, the Countess Marie D’Agoult. They lived in Switzerland and Italy, bringing three children into the world. His almost-forgotten Hungarian roots came to mind again as a result of the great flood of Pest in 1838, when he gave a massively successful series of benefit concerts for the flood victims in Vienna. Already a renowned musician, he first returned to Hungary at the turn of 1839/40, where he premiered as a conductor and was awarded a ceremonial sabre on behalf of the nation for his patriotism. In 1844, Liszt and Marie D’Agoult finally parted ways and their relationship ended. On a concert tour of Russia in 1847, he met his new love, the Princess Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein. His last decades were spent divided between Weimar, Rome and Budapest, and were dominated by art, religion and his relationship with Princess Carolyne. In 1865, Liszt received the four minor orders of the church. He was elected the first President of the Hungarian Royal Music Academy. He donated the most beautiful souvenirs from his musical career to the National Museum of Hungary, and his last home in Budapest is now the Franz Liszt Memorial Museum.
He died on July 31, 1886 in Bayreuth of pneumonia.