6 June 2023

To commemorate the 120th anniversary of John von Neumann’s (Neumann János in Hungarian) birth, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB) is issuing a non-ferrous metal collector coin with a face value of 3,000 forints, in honour of the world-famous Hungarian mathematician. The special, rectangular collector coin is the 13th piece of the popular non-ferrous metal collector coin-series presenting Hungarian scientists, inventors and their inventions. The coin was designed by sculptor Balázs Pelcz.

John von Neumann, one of the world's most renowned Hungarian mathematicians, was born in Budapest on 28 December 1903. During his scientific work of nearly three decades, he brought his discoveries to many scientific areas, making ground-breaking discoveries in set theory, game theory and quantum mechanics, while laying the foundations of computer science as we know it today.

His early talent was further improved by his teachers at one of the most prestigious educational institutions of the time, the ‘Fasori’ Lutheran Secondary School. Famous for his quick thinking and his extraordinary ability to reckon in his head, János Neumann enrolled at the University of Budapest to study mathematics in 1921. During his university years, he had the chance to study abroad with some of the great scientists of the time, which laid the foundations for his subsequent successful career. He earned his doctoral degree in mathematics in 1926. A year later he taught as a private tutor at the University of Berlin, and from the 1930s, at an exceptionally young age, he became a visiting professor at Princeton University in the US, and later a professor. His involvement in military engineering research during the Second World War brought him numerous scientific awards and high-profile government contracts. In the 1940s, he laid down the principles of the computer and was instrumental in building the EDVAC, the first electronic, digital, universal computer with internal programme control. By the early 1950s, he had built the IAS computer, based on the architecture he had conceived, which was already considered a modern computer and went down in computer history as the forerunner of many computers constructed later. In the construction of digital computers, the implementation of the Neumann principles (fully electronic computer, the binary system, use of the arithmetic unit and the central control unit, internal programme and data storage) brought about a revolution in science and everyday life. A combination of hard work and cancer weakened his body and he died in 1957.

The MNB is issuing a non-ferrous metal collector coin with a face value of 3,000 forints, called ‘Neumann János’, to honour the 120th anniversary of the birth of the world-famous mathematician and his scientific work.

The composition on the obverse, created with the thematic contribution of the John von Neumann Computer Society, founded in 1968, is a plastic representation of gradually smaller, regular pentagons in a whirlpool pattern, referring to the idea of an automatic machine capable of reproducing itself. Below the representation, the inscription ‘TÜRELEM · RUGALMASSÁG · ÉRTELEM’ (Patience, Flexibility, Intellect) is read, referring to the internationally renowned mathematician's thoughts on development in the 1950s, that ‘there is no cure for development’, and these three human qualities can help us to respond to challenges and adapt to change. The compulsory design elements of collector coins are placed on the obverse: on the edge, at the top, the wording ‘MAGYARORSZÁG’ (Hungary), at the bottom the denomination ‘3000’ and the inscription ‘FORINT’ are seen with the minting year ‘2023’ and the mint mark ‘BP.’ appearing above the image in the centre. The designer’s mark of sculptor Balázs Pelcz is positioned in the bottom left corner of the central motif.

The obverse of the ‘Neumann János’ collector coin

Proof finish

BU finish


The reverse features a portrait of John von Neumann, inspired by a 1940s photograph of the world-famous scientist at the height of his creative powers. To the left and right of the portrait, the years ‘1903’ and ‘1957’ are found, displaying the time of birth and death of the world-famous Hungarian mathematician. The lower part of the reverse bears the signature of Neumann, with the inscription ‘NEUMANN JÁNOS’ below.

The reverse of the ‘Neumann János’ collector coin

Proof finish

BU finish


Weighing 14 grams, the non-ferrous metal collector coin was produced from an alloy of copper (75%) and nickel (25%), it is 28.43 x 28.43 mm in size, with smooth edges. A total of 11,000 collector coins can be produced: 6 pieces in proof finish, 5 pieces in BU finish.

In order to promote the role of these collector coins to transfer value and raise awareness as widely as possible, the non-ferrous metal coin of 3,000 forints will be available for purchase for one year after issuance, while stocks last, 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 6 June 2023.