29 September 2022

 The Magyar Nemzeti Bank will issue a silver collector coin with a face value of 15,000 forints named ‘Hugonnai Vilma’ and its non-ferrous metal version of 2,000 forints to mark the 175th birth anniversary of the first female doctor in Hungary. The collector coin was designed by sculptor Virág Szabó.

Vilma Hugonnai was born on 30 September 1847 into a family of counts. From a young age, she was self-taught, learning the basics of nursing and medicine. Later with the permission of her husband and father, but without financial support, she moved to Switzerland, where women were allowed to study at universities. To finance her studies, she put her family jewels up for sale. Thanks to her dedication, she graduated in 1879 and was admitted as a doctor in Switzerland.

She experienced extraordinary difficulties in having her diploma accredited. In 1881, she had passed a matriculation examination, which was essential to pursue university studies in Hungary before applying for recognition of her medical degree, but due to the educational regulations of the time it was not possible. Vilma Hugonnai emphasised health education; therefore, she also gave lectures to poorer people. She fought for women's equality, wrote a paper on balancing work and family life and the importance of the education of girls. In 1895, the law allowed women to attend the faculties of medicine, liberal arts and pharmacy, and even to have diplomas, obtained abroad, recognised As a result, in 1897, Hugonnai passed a comprehensive examination in Hungary, and was the first Hungarian woman to receive her medical degree in the presence of Franz Joseph. During the World War I, at the age of 65, she completed a course in military surgery and, although she did not serve on the front line, she established patient monitoring centres in fourteen rural towns. In 1915 she was awarded a medal for her work in military medical care.

Vilma Hugonnai died in 1922. Not only did she set an example as a doctor, but thanks to her fight for women's rights, women had more and more opportunities: they could accept jobs, further their education or even gain a diploma.

The MNB pays tribute to the work of Vilma Hugonnai on the occasion of the 175th birth anniversary of the first Hungarian female doctor by issuing commemorative silver coins with a face value of 15,000 forints and their non-ferrous metal version of 2,000 forints. The coin designs of the coins are identical with their denominations being the only difference.

The obverse of the coins features a full-length portrait of Vilma Hugonnai on the left, with a stylised section of a medical diploma in the centre, and a portrait of a woman sitting in a waiting room on the right. On the left-hand edge of the obverse, at the bottom, in two lines, the mint year ‘2022’ and ‘BP.’ are seen; the inscription ‘MAGYARORSZÁG’ (Hungary) is placed in a circular legend at the top of the right-hand edge. The denominations ‘15000’ and ‘2000’ and the word ‘FORINT’ are found in two slightly offset lines at the bottom.

The obverse of the Vilma Hugonnai collector coins


Silver collector coin

Non-ferrous metal collector coin


The portrait of Vilma Hugonnai is featured on the reverse of the coin. The years 1847 and 1922, indicating the year of birth and death of the doctor, are positioned to the left of the portrait, and her surname and first name on the right, in two lines. On the edge of the reverse, to the right of the portrait, at the top, in a circular legend, the inscription ‘AZ ELSŐ MAGYAR ORVOSNŐ’ (the first Hungarian female doctor) is seen, and at the bottom, on the right - inserted into the portrait - is the master mark of the designer Virág Szabó.


The reverse of the Vilma Hugonnai collector coins

Silver collector coin

Non-ferrous metal collector coin


Both collector coins have a diameter of 38.61 mm with a reeded edge. 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 2,000 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 5,000 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 ‘Hugonnai Vilma’ 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 29 September 2022.