The Magyar Nemzeti Bank has issued the second coin, which is part of a collector series entitled “Nation-Building Sovereigns of the Arpad Dynasty,” honouring the founding royal house of the Hungarian nation. The distinguished Arpad Dynasty gained prominence as the ruler of the Principality of Hungary during the 9th and 10th centuries. It continued to rule after the creation of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1301. The dynasty was named after Grand Prince Árpád (c. 845–c. 907), who was the head of the Hungarian tribal federation during the conquest of the Carpathian Basin, c. 895. In total, there were six princes of the Arpad dynasty between the years 895 and 1000 and 21 kings until the year 1301. The latest coin honours Andras I, remembered for having secured the Christian faith in the Kingdom after succeeding the last pagan monarch in 1046. The parentage of King Andras and those of his brothers Levente and Béla (c. 1015–1063) were in question, but chroniclers and tradition concur they were the sons of Vazul (c. 997–1032) and an unknown woman believed to be from the Tátony clan. During the rule of King Stefan, it was Vazul, the king’s cousin, who had the strongest claim to the Hungarian throne after the death of Stefan’s only surviving son, Emeric, in 1031. This put his life in danger as Stefan sought to name his nephew Peter Orseolo as his successor since Vazul was still a practising pagan. To this end, and to ensure his wish for Peter’s succession, Stefan had Vazul blinded, rendering him unable to rule. As a consequence, Andras, Béla, and Levente fled from the kingdom and sought refuge first in the Kingdom of Poland as the guest of King Mieszko II. Brother Bela had married Richeza, a daughter of King Mieszko II, and remained in Poland, but Andras and Levente decided to leave Poland, travelling to the court of Yaroslav, Grand Prince of Kiev (r. 1019–1054) in the late 1030s. It was at this time Andras was married to Yaroslav’s daughter Anastasia, who became queen consort and the mother of the couple’s son Solomon, who would become king in 1063. In Hungary, King Peter Orseolo, who had succeeded King Stefan in 1038, alienated many lords by solemnly recognising the suzerainty of the Holy Roman Emperor and reducing the autonomy of the kingdom. At this time, envoys representing the nobles approached Andras and Levente in 1046 to persuade them to return to Hungary and oppose Peter Orseolo but before they could even agree to do so, a revolt against Peter’s rule had already begun. Led by pagan factions, they had sought to eliminate all traces of the Christian state. Peter was deposed and attempted to flee to Austria, but he was captured and suffered the same fate as Vazul, blinded and jailed until his death around the year 1055.
Andras went to his coronation during the last quarter of 1046 or in the spring of 1047. As most Hungarian lords and the prelates opposed the restoration of paganism, the devoutly Christian Andras seemed the right choice. Although his older brother Levente (c.1014–1047) had precedence regarding a claim to the throne, he was a pagan, but chroniclers recorded he did not oppose his younger brother’s ascension to the throne. The three bishops who had survived the pagan uprising crowned Andrew in Székesfehérvár with a crown that the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos had sent to him. Soon after this solemn ceremony, where he had vowed to uphold the teachings of the Christian Church, Andras broke with his pagan supporters and restored Christianity to the Hungarian Kingdom while at the same time declaring pagan rites illegal. After the birth of Andras’ son Solomon in 1053, he sought to secure the succession of his son over that of his younger brother Bela. As such, after suffering a stroke in 1056, Andras acted to crown his son over a one-year-long series of ceremonies. To solidify and strengthen his son’s rule, Andras arranged the engagement of his five-year-old son to the sister of the new German monarch, Henry IV (r. 1056–1105). However, Béla had no intention of renouncing his claim to succeed his brother in favour of his nephew and sought military assistance from his nephew by marriage, King Boleslaus II of Poland (r. 1058–1079). Andras, on the other hand, received military assistance from the Dowager Empress Agnes, regent and ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, in the name of her minor son. Henry IV sent troops to assist the father-in-law of her minor daughter. A decisive battle was fought in the regions east of the river Tisza, with Andras suffering injuries and a loss of his throne. He attempted to flee to the nearest border of the Holy Roman Empire, but his brother’s partisans captured him at Moson, near present-day Slovakia. Andras was taken to Zirc, a town and stronghold, where he died in the royal manor before Bela was crowned king on the 6th December 1060. Andras was buried in the crypt of the church of the Tihany Abbey. Ultimately, it was Andras’ son Solomon who was to succeed his uncle Bela in 1063, remaining King of Hungary until his death in 1087. In turn, he was succeeded by his cousin Geza, the eldest son of King Bela.
The coins are produced by the Mint of Hungary at their facilities in Budapest on behalf of the National Bank and designed by artisan András Szilos. The obverse side depicts the royal seal of King Andras; he is shown seated on the throne. Behind the seal is a representation of parchment, and to the left of the seal is the monogram of King Andras I found on the Tihany Abbey’s deed of foundation from 1055. On the right of the seal is the text REX, and above the primary design is the additional text that reads I. ANDRÁS (“Andrew I”), with the years of his reign 1046 – 1060 shown below.
Emphasising the link between the two sides, the reverse side includes a faithfully replicated obverse image of a silver one-denar coin minted during the reign of King Andras. Above the primary design is the name of the issuer MAGYARORSZAG (“Hungary”), and the mintmark BP, along with the year of release 2023, is placed just under the parchment paper line. The denomination 500000 FORINT (gold), 15000 FORINT (silver), or 3000 FORINT (copper) is placed below the year. The smooth edges of the gold and silver coin include incused lettering which reads ANDREAS DEI GRACIA VNGARIORUM REX * (“Andrew by the Grace of God King of Hungary *”).
|23.4 g||34 mm||Oxidised||
|31.1 g||34 mm||Proof||
|31.1 g||34 mm||Proof||
The silver Proof and bronze coins in the series “Nation-Building Sovereigns of the Arpad Dynasty” will be available for purchase at face value from their date of release. The gold Proof coins are available for purchase only by pre-registering, and then ballots are chosen through a draw. Collectors residing in Hungary can visit the coin shop of the Hungarian Mint Ltd. located at 7 Báthory Street — Budapest, distr. V or visit the website starting from the 20th August.