The Austrian Mint has issued the third coin in the “Crowns of the House of Hasburg” series. The gold coin, with a nominal face value of 100 euros, is dedicated to the Holy Crown of St. Stephen of the Kingdom of Hungary.
Around the year 1000, ambassadors of Stephen(965/975-1038), approached Pope Sylvester II for the papal blessing and a crown for the pending coronation on January 1, 1001. The pope acquiesced and sent Stephen a crown and the title of “apostolic majesty.” Unfortunately, nothing remains of the original crown.
The present crown has been put together out of two parts. The lower portion, or “Greek crown,” was a gift from the Byzantine emperor Michael Ducas VII (1071-1078) to King Geza I of Hungary (1074-1077) and features a depiction of both monarchs. The “Latin crown” is formed by two intersecting arches decorated with enamel panels depicting Christ and the apostles. A bent cross is fastened on one of the panels.
The Crown of St. Stephen Gold Coin portrays the Holy Crown on the obverse side. The reverse depicts Maria Theresa on horseback following her coronation as “King” in 1741. The king was required to ride up the Royal Hill in full coronation regalia and there to swing the sword in all four points of the compass, pledging to defend the borders of the Kingdom of St. Stephen.
The coins are struck in .986 fine gold, exclusively in proof quality and with a maximum mintage of 30,000. A numbered certificate of authenticity and replica lapel pin come with each coin.
Next in the series will be the the Bohemian Crown of St. Wenceslas, kept today in St. Vitus’s Cathedral in Prague.