MNB - Central Bank of Hungary

01/23/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/23/2023 07:03

Collector coins to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the writing of the poem Hymn

The Magyar Nemzeti Bank will issue a silver collector coin with a face value of 15,000 forints named 'Himnusz' and its non-ferrous metal version of 3,000 forints to mark the 200th anniversary of the writing of the poem which our national anthem was based on. Designed by sculptor Tamás E. Soltra, this collector coin will be the first piece of the Bank's collector coin issuance programme this year. The official issuance ceremony will take place at the Petőfi Literary Museum.

The poem, which became the national anthem of Hungary, was written by Ferenc Kölcsey at the dawn of the national revival in 1823, in the solitude of his home in Szatmárcseke. The original title was 'Hymnus, a' Magyar nép zivataros századaiból' (From the stormy centuries of the Hungarian nation) (in short: Himnusz after applying today's spelling rules). The poem was first published in 1829 in Károly Kisfaludy's periodical, Aurora under the title Hymnus, and three years later in Ferenc Kölcsey's first volume, bearing the full subtitle, which more closely conveys the poem's message. With this greatest masterpiece of his patriotic poetry, Ferenc Kölcsey paved the way for national romanticism in the development of Hungarian lyric poetry instead of following the stylistic conventions of classicism. The music for the Hymnus was created by composer and conductor Ferenc Erkel in 1844, following a competition for setting the poem to music. The winning composition was presented for the first time at the National Theatre in Pest the same year.

The Hungarian national anthem became legally protected in 1989, when the Constitution of 1989 added it to the list of our national symbols, and since then we have celebrated the Day of the Hungarian Culture on 22 January, to honour the completion of the manuscript of the anthem that day. Article 1 in the Foundation of the Fundamental Law, which entered into force on 1 January 2012, stipulates: 'The national anthem of Hungary shall be the poem Himnusz by Ferenc Kölcsey, set to music by Ferenc Erkel.'

The MNB pays tribute to the bicentenary of the writing of the poem Hymn by issuing a silver collector coin with a face value of 15,000 forints and its non-ferrous metal version of 3,000 forints. The coin designs are identical with their denominations being the only difference.

The obverse features a half-length portrait of Ferenc Kölcsey, based on a painting by Anton Einsle from 1835, as he steps out of the split background. This representation is a subtle reference to the seclusion in which the Hymn was written in Szatmárcseke. The poet's surname is hidden in his clothing. Below the illustration, a contemporary pen refers to Kölcsey's authorship. The two lines below the portrait feature the inscription 'Hymnus' in the style of the original manuscript, and the year '1823', referring to the year the poem was written.

On the obverse the compulsory design elements of collector coins are also found: the inscription 'MAGYARORSZÁG' (Hungary) appears vertically to the right of the portrait and indicates where the coin was issued. In the lower third of the obverse, on the left edge of the coin, the mint year '2023' refers to the year of issuance, the mint mark 'BP.' to the place of production in another line below, with the denominations '15000' and '3000' as well as the inscription 'FORINT' indicating the nominal value of the coins.

The obverse of the 'Himnusz' collector coins

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Silver collector coin

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Non-ferrous metal collector coin

The reverse shows a panoramic representation of the text of the Hymn and the iconic landscapes of Hungary, with rays projecting in three directions from a triangle in the centre, symbolising the Holy Trinity, in reference to the sacred nature of the poem. In a circular legend around the triangle, in the style of the original manuscript, the inscription 'NYÚJTS FELÉJE VÉDŐ KART HA KÜZD ELLENSÉGGEL' (With Thine aid his just cause press, Where his foes to fight appear) is read, with a small square set on its tip separating the beginning and the end of the quotation. The panorama shows Kölcsey's tomb in Szatmárcseke in the centre at the bottom, surrounded by images of the landscapes of Hungary, with Tihany, the Lake Balaton, Szigliget, Esztergom, the Danube Bend, Eger and Tokaj in focus. The master mark of sculptor and medallist Tamás E. Soltra, the designer of the coin, is hidden in the depiction of Tokaj.

The reverse of the 'Himnusz' collector coins

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Silver collector coin

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Non-ferrous metal collector coin

Both collector coins are 38.61 mm in diameter with reeded edges. The silver coin with a face value of 15,000 forints is struck in .925 fine silver and weighs 31.46 grams. The non-ferrous metal coin with a face value of 3,000 forints is produced from an alloy of copper (75%) and nickel (25%) and weighs 30.80 grams. 5,000 pieces can be made of the silver collector coin in proof finish and 6,000 pieces of the non-ferrous version in BU finish.

In order to promote the role of these collector coins to transfer value and raise awareness as widely as possible, the silver coin 'Hymn' will be available for purchase for three months, while stocks last, and the non-ferrous version for one year from the date of issuance, at face value in the webshop (https://www.penzvero.hu/) and coin shop of Hungarian Mint Ltd. (Budapest, distr. V, 7 Báthory street), the producer and the distributor of the coins, starting from 23 January 2023.