Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (1207 – 1231) is the subject of the third gold coin in the Hungary’s “Saints of the Árpád Dynasty” program. St. Elizabeth of Hungary – the patroness of wives, young mothers, the Third Order of St. Francis and charitable work – was one of the most well-known and beloved saints in the Middle Ages. She was the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary (1205–1235) and Gertrude of Merania, the sister of King Béla IV of Hungary and wife of Louis, Landgrave of Thuringia. Elizabeth was strongly influenced by the spiritual ideals of Saint Francis of Assisi, and her confessor was also a Franciscan. After the birth of her first child, she established a home for orphans and after the birth of her second child she founded a hospital. During a famine in 1225 she had food distributed in Wartburg and helped feed and care for the poor. After the death of her husband, she lived an austere life until her death in 1231 at the age of 24. Although the Emperor asked for her hand in marriage, she chose to serve the poor. Pope Gregory IX canonized her in 1235, very soon after her death. The legend of Elizabeth as a woman dedicated to helping the poor and active in the broader community was an example for her contemporaries and posterity.
She is being honored with a double ducat size 100,000 forint gold coin and a non-precious metal 2,000 forint version with identical designs. The obverse of each bears a quote in eight horizontal lines from Saint Elizabeth between two vertical stripes:” AZT MONDOM NEKTEK, HOGY ÖRÖMET KELL SZEREZNI AZ
EMBEREKNEK...” (I say unto you, one must bring joy to people...). The central image on the reverse is a figure of St. Elizabeth standing under an arched gate, an image inspired by a painted, wooden statue at the parish church of St. Elizabeth in Budapest. The scene alludes to two of her miracles: The miracle of the roses and the miracle of the crucified Christ. It also reflects how her veneration is spread across all of Europe. The legend “SZT. ERZSÉBET” is at the left of the image, with the dates of her birth and death “1207–1231” to the right in three lines.
The 2,000 forint is of an alloy of 75% copper, 4% nickel, and 21% zinc. It weighs 4.2 grams and is limited to 5,000 pieces. Both coins will be available in North America towards the end of December.