3 July 2023

The Magyar Nemzeti Bank is issuing a silver collector coin with a face value of 15,000 forints named ‘Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár’ and its non-ferrous metal version of 3,000 forints to mark the 300th anniversary of the establishment of Hungary’s countrywide independent archives. The collector coins also highlight the 100th anniversary of the opening of the archives building. The coins were designed by applied artist Gábor Kereszthury.

As a repository of (state) documents of national importance, the history of the National Archives of Hungary, which was established in 2012 with the integration of the Hungarian National Archives and the county archives, dates back to the Middle Ages.

The royal archives was destroyed in the turbulent decades following the Battle of Mohács (1526), and in the 17th century the documents of national importance were stored by the palatines along with their own family documents.

The independent archives was established by Act XLV of 1723: the Parliament decided that the documents of the country and the documents of national significance held by private individuals should be collected and it should be made mandatory to deposit them in the country's archives (Archivum Regni). The institution started operating in 1756, and was reorganised in 1874 by merging several other official archives. Since then, it has functioned as a public collection.

From the very beginning, there had been efforts to construct an independent archives building, and finally, after several attempts, the construction began in 1913, and despite the difficulties caused by World War I and the dire economic conditions thereafter, the archives continued to operate here from 1923. This headquarter was the first in Hungary to be actually and originally built for the purposes of archiving documents.

On the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the adoption of the Act establishing the countrywide archives, the MNB is issuing a silver collector coin and a non-ferrous metal version with denominations of 15,000 forints and 3,000 forints, respectively.

On the obverse, a representation of the country chest is featured, based on a mural painting by painter Andor Dudits in the National Archives of the Hungarian National Archives, with the inscription ‘ORSZÁGLÁDA’ (country chest) below, referring to the time before the institution was founded, when the country's main documents had been stored in a chest. On the outer rim on the obverse the following elements are found: at the top, in a legend the lettering ‘MAGYARORSZÁG’  (Hungary), at the bottom, the denominations ‘15000’ and ‘3000’ as well as the inscription ‘FORINT’ with the mint mark ‘BP.’ on the left and the minting year ‘2023’ on the right.

The obverse of the ‘Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár’ collector coin

Silver collector coin

Non-ferrous metal collector coin


The reverse shows the present-day front side of the central building of the National Archives, the predecessor of the National Archives of Hungary from 1874 to 2012, which was opened in 1923, with the tower, once an integral part of the building, separated by contrasting polishing, in the background. The tower was so badly damaged in World War II that it had to be demolished. On the edge of the reverse, in a legend the lettering ‘MAGYAR NEMZETI LEVÉLTÁR’, at the bottom in the centre the year ‘1923’ with the inscription ‘ORSZÁGOS LEVÉLTÁR’ are seen. The designer’s mark of applied artist Gábor is placed on the right.

The reverse of the ‘Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár’ collector coin

Silver collector coin

Non-ferrous metal collector coin


Both collector coins have a diameter of 38.61 mm, with a finely reeded edge and the inscription repeated twice in Latin ‘UNIVERSALE ARCHIVUM REGNI INSTITUATUR - 1723:XLV. -’, which refers to the law establishing the General National Archives, and the words ‘Let a General National Archives be established’. 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 3,000 forints is produced from an alloy of copper (75%) and nickel (25%) and weighs 30.80 grams. 7,000 pieces can be made of the silver collector coin in proof finish and 7,000 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 ‘Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár’ 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 3 July 2023.