The Banca Nationala’ a Romaniei have issued (24th December) new gold collector coins in remembrance of one of Romania’s historic gold coins issued during the rule of a national hero, Mihai Viteazul, translated as “Michael the Brave” (1558–1601). Prince of Wallachia,
Born under the family name of Pătraşcu, it is believed that his birth year was 1558 owing to a portrait sitting while visiting Prague in 1601. The painter Aegidius Sadeler noted on the picture the words aetatis XLIII, or, “in the 43rd year of life.” Very little is known about his childhood and early years as an adult, though most historians believe Mihai to have been the illegitimate son of Wallachian Prince Pătraşcu cel Bun, or Pătrașcu the Good (died 1557), of the Drăculeşti branch of the House of Basarab. Other historians have hypothesised that he merely invented his descent to justify his rule. His mother, however, was of noble and royal birth. She was Theodora Kantakouzene, a member of the Kantakouzenoi noble family present in Wallachia and Moldavia, and was thought to have been descended from the Byzantine Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos.
Mihai’s political rise was quite spectacular, as he became the ban of Mehedinţi in 1588, stolnic at the court of Mihnea Turcitul by the end of 1588, and ban of Craiova in 1593. Curiously, during the rule of Alexandru cel Rău, the latter had him swear before 12 boyars that he was not of royal descent. In 1599, Mihai, already a prince of Wallachia, won the Battle of Șelimbăr and soon entered Alba Iulia, becoming the imperial governor and the de facto ruler of Transylvania. A few months later, Michael’s troops invaded Moldavia and reached its capital, Iaşi. The Moldavian leader fled to Poland and Michael was declared
Mihai was assassinated by orders of the Hapsburg Emperor Rudolf on the 9th August 1601, as he attempted to win back Transylvania. The province had been fought for and overcome by the Hungarian nobles who were allied with the Hapsburg Crown, though Mihai’s forces defeated the Hungarian army and their allies.
During his rule, Mihai Viteazul issued magnificent gold coins in 1600 that were valued at 10 ducats. The splendid portrait of Mihai shows him in a three quarter pose wearing an ornate hat; his likeness is surrounded with a legend attesting to his authority over the three regions he united. The simple reverse design included text espousing Mihai’s further leadership over what was the greatest uniting of Romanian lands during and after the authority of the Ottoman Empire was ended.
The coins are produced by the Monetăria Statului at their facilities in Bucharest on behalf of the National Bank. The obverse side includes a depiction of Prince Michael the Brave on horseback, the inscription ROMANIA is placed in an arch shape above the primary design. The face value 10 LEI, the coat of arms of Romania, and the year of issue, 2018, are incorporated into the design.
The reverse design cleverly re-creates the gold coin issued in 1600 with the portrait of Michael the Brave, as depicted on the obverse of the 10-ducat coin
|10 lei||.999 gold||1.22 g||13.9 mm||Proof||500|
Each gold Proof coin is encapsulated and included in a custom case which includes the certificate of authenticity containing the signatures of the NBR governor and the central cashier. The gold Proof quality coins are dedicated to Romanian history of gold coins, and the 10-ducat coin of Michael the Brave will be available directly through the Bucharest, Cluj, Iasi, and Timişoara regional branches of the National Bank of Romania.
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