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Collector coins to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation

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30 October 2017

To mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank will issue a silver collector coin with a face value of HUF 10,000 and a non-ferrous metal coin with a face value of HUF 2,000. By issuing the collector coin, the Bank wishes to call attention to the importance of the Reformation and its influence on culture, science and the economy.

The Augustinian friar Martin Luther nailed his famous pamphlet consisting of ninety-five theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517. His aim was to reform the Roman Catholic Church. In the pamphlet, Luther defended only the doctrine of justification by faith, while denouncing the selling of indulgences. This marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, which spread with extreme speed, enjoying mass support from society.

By the mid-16th century, the Reformation started to gain ground in Hungary. As a result, new cultural centres were established. The first complete Hungarian translation of the Bible by Gáspár Károli was printed in Vizsoly.

The collector coins commemorating the Reformation are Hungarian legal tender, although they have not been minted for circulation purposes. The silver and the non-ferrous metal coins have the same design. They were designed by sculptor Róbert Csíkszentmihályi.

The obverse of the collector coins bears a representation of the façade of a medieval church, with an open church gate in its focus, alluding to the fact that the Reformation made freedom of religion easier, given that national languages replaced Latin in preaching God’s word. The representation of a pigeon in the window and the five rays radiating from a single point are intended to visualise the descent of the Holy Spirit.

The coin’s obverse features the standard design elements: the inscription ‘MAGYARORSZÁG’, the country issuing the coin; value numerals ‘10000 FORINT’ and ‘2000 FORINT’ in a lower legend; the mint mark ‘BP’ on the upper left side made in special micro lettering containing a safety feature; and the mint year ‘2017’ on the right.

The Reformation placed the emphasis on the Holy Scripture as a single clean source. Therefore, the reverse of the coin bears a representation of the Bible in the centre. The pigeon of the Holy Spirit appears above the open book with its wings spread, symbolising that the Bible can only be interpreted with the help of the Holy Spirit. The thematic unity of the two motives is also suggested by their special polishing. The inscription ‘REFORMÁCIÓ 500 ÉVE’ appears on the lower part of the ribbon extending from it as a bookmark, which sheds light on the reason for issuing the coin, and suggests that the process has not yet reached its end: there is still a need of reformation and renewal. The designer’s master mark is shown on the other side of the ribbon.

Both collector coins are 38.61 mm in diameter. Their edge is milled. The coin with a face value of HUF 10000 is struck in 925‰ silver and the non-ferrous metal coin with a face value of HUF 2000 is made from an alloy of copper (75%) and nickel (25%). The silver coin weighing 31.46 grams is made in proof finish and the non-ferrous metal coin weighing 30.8 grams in made in BU finish. Both coins are issued in a limited quantity: 5,000 pieces can be made of each.

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In order for the collector coins to play their role as a store of value and as educational tools, the silver collector coin will be on sale for three months and the non-ferrous metal coin will be on sale without a time limit, until stocks last, from 30 October 2017 at the company’s coin shop (7 Báthory utca, V Budapest) and in the webshop on the company’s website (http://penzvero.hu/).