King Matthias I (Matthias Corvin, originally Mátyás Hunyadi) the first elected king and one of the most popular historical figures of Hungary, was born 575 years ago today on 23 February, 1443 in Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) as the second son of the great Hungarian military leader, János Hunyadi and Erzsébet Szilágyi. In 2018 the Matthias Memorial Year will be celebrated across the country and in Kolozsvár, to mark the anniversary.
Front: As the central motif on the obverse a part of the Matthias relief of Bautzen is shown. This piece of art is known to have been approved by Matthias himself, and although it does not resemble the well-known Matthias portraits, his representation in arms complemented by regalia (a sceptre in his right hand and a globus cruciger in his left with a crown above his head) is authentic. The king of the Enlightenment considered the development of science and arts important and he adored books. Allegedly, 2000 hand-written codices were kept in the royal palace, which was almost the size of the library in the Vatican. Therefore, the main motif taking up the lower design area is an ornamental fragment of Matthias’ corvina depicting a coat-of-arms making an attempted reference to the king’s commitment to sciences and arts. Beneath the coat-of-arms the master mark of the sculptor and coin artist E. Tamás Soltra is shown who designed the coin. The compulsory design elements of collector coins are placed here: the denominations 20 000FORINT, the inscription MAGYARORSZÁG, as well as the mintmark ‘BP.’
Back:The reverse makes a reference to the results Matthias achieved in organising the military, and to the role he took in state affairs, as well as his financial reforms. The lower third of the reverse is decorated with another reliable source: a piece of Matthias’ mass clothing made from his throne drape, with a depiction of gothic helmet and armour fragments in the centre representing Matthias’ achievements as a strategist and an organizer of the military. Matthias was the first of the Hungarian kings, who constantly kept an army of paid mercenaries from the significantly increased royal income. Matthias was the first Hungarian king, whose signature on official charters is still available in great numbers. The king took a significant part in state affairs: his calligraphic signature appears on the reverse. Just as a coin on a coin, Matthias Corvinus’ golden forint is featured on the upper part of the reverse, which is a reference to the financial reform implemented by the king, and to the novelty of the Madonna composition on coins determining the design for a long time. To the left of the coin from the Middle Ages, the years 1443, -58 and -90 are featured: the years Matthias was born, enthroned in and when he died highlighting the first two digits, which refer to the millennium and the century. To the right, the mint year 2018 is shown with the mint mark ‘BP.’ beneath. A raven, the Hunyadi family’s heraldic animal, keeps the ring-shaped digit 0 in the mint year in its beak.
Keywords:history, king, kings, silver, large coin, 2018