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 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 centre 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 centres which were not loyal to him. At the same time, the process of developing the kingdom’s system of secular and ecclesiastical institutions began, in the course of which King Stephen organised 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 organisation and the new behavioural norms were codified in laws, the texts of which are preserved in later copies. The state was organised using the German (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 canonised in 1083, King Stephen was looked upon as an example in the Hungarian political thought of the Middles Ages.
Front: Displaying the official motifs of the era, the coin presents the most important achievements of St. Stephen’s reign. The front depicts the back of the Lancea Regis dénár minted by St. Stephen, which is surrounded by ten stylised cross motifs. The main image can be interpreted as a church, referring to St. Stephen’s role in establishing the state and the church as well as his minting activities, while the cross motifs represent the most important achievement of his rule, the development of the diocesan system consisting of ten bishoprics. The front of the coin has the mandatory elements (denomination 3000 Forint, Magyarország legend, BP. mint mark and the 2021 date), along with the master mark.
Back: The central motif on the back, showing St. Stephen, presents a detail of the coronation mantle, which was originally made as a chasuble in 1031. This is the only surviving contemporary depiction of St. Stephen, presenting the crowned king with the orb in his left hand and the lance – 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. Around the smooth edge of the coin runs a circular legend with King Stephen’s title from a document of the Archabbey of Pannonhalma “STEFANUS SUPERNA PROVIDENTE CLEMENTIA UNGRORUM REX ●” (Stephen, by the Mercy of Supreme Providence, King of Hungary).