Nation-building Sovereigns of the Árpád Dynasty
King St. Stephen
Hungary’s first coin issue of 2021 honors the founder of the Hungarian state, King Saint Stephen I of Hungary (1000-1038), and marks the start of a new coin series dedicated to the most significant kings from the Árpád Dynasty. The series will be focusing on ten sovereigns, and the mint, based on present plans will issue a new piece every other year.
On the obverse, positioned in the middle, is a representation inspired by the reverse of the silver denar of Stephen I with the lettering ‘Lancea Regis'. This is surrounded by ten crosses. The design can be interpreted as a church, which refers to the tasks that Stephen I assumed as the founder of Hungary and the Church, amidst his activities as a coin issuer. The crosses also refer to the most significant accomplishment of Stephen I of Hungary’s reign: establishing the Hungarian Church consisting of ten dioceses. On the upper side of the coin, in a legend the lettering ‘MAGYARORSZÁG' is seen. The denominations 15,000' or ‘3,000' with the wording ‘FORINT' are on the bottom. The date ‘2021’ is on the left and the BP mint mark is on the right. A special security feature is also included in the mint mark: a micro-lettering is placed on it displaying identical letters as the ones in the mint mark, which is only visible when magnified at least ten times.
The reverse, showing St. Stephen, presents a detail of the coronation robe, which was originally made as a chasuble in 1031. This is the only surviving contemporary depiction of St. Stephen, with an orb in his left hand and a sceptre – as the symbol of royal authority – in his right hand. The semi-circular legend around the coin’s edge reads SZENT ISTVÁN KIRÁLY (King Saint Stephen), with the years of his reign (1000 and 1038) to the left of the image in two horizontal lines and the mark of designer Zoltán Tóth to the right.
The edge is smooth with an inscription ‘STEFANUS SUPERNA PROVIDENTE CLEMENTIA UNGRORUM REX' (Stephen, King of Hungarians by the grace of the Heavenly, Provident Father).
King Saint Stephen came to power after the death of his father, Grand Prince Géza, and his victory over Koppány, a related member of the Arpad dynasty, in 997. He was crowned King of Hungary in Esztergom in 1000, which – according to traditions recorded in the 13th century – was already the center of power of the Árpád dynasty under his father’s reign. Stephen subsequently set about unifying his political control over the Carpathian Basin, overcoming the power centers which were not loyal to him. At the same time, the process of developing the kingdom’s system of secular and ecclesiastical institutions began, as King Stephen organized the country’s regional administrative units, the counties. He also founded bishoprics and monasteries and developed the network of rectories. The basic principles of state organization and the new behavioral norms were codified in laws, the texts of which are preserved in later copies. The state was organized using the Bavarian model, but the Hungarian Kingdom created by Stephen was a sovereign state, with its own minting and official written language (Latin). Even before he was canonized in 1083, King Stephen was looked upon as an example of the Hungarian political thought of the Middles Ages.
Denomination Quality Metal Issue limit Diameter Weight
15000 HUF Proof .999 silver 5,000 34mm 31.104g (1 troy ounce)