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Hungary Releases Second in “Gold Florins” Series
By Lisa Bellavin
August 20, 2013

The Hungarian National Bank has released the second coin in the series “Gold Florins of Medieval Hungary”. It features the gold florin of Louis the Great.

Louis the Great, son of Charles I from the Italian branch of the house of Anjou and Elizabeth Piast of Poland, was crowned king of Hungary on July 21, 1342. He was 16 years old. He inherited from his father a politically stable, economically balanced realm, along with a rich treasury. As a result, the Kingdom of Hungary grew to be a powerful region under his reign.

Louis I essentially followed his father’s financial and economic policies, but at the same time he introduced a number of changes. His reforms were most visible in the field of financial administration, but his name is also associated with the creation of the golden florin, and its particular Hungarian appearance.

Standard Catalog of World Coins Book Trio 1601-1900
Standard Catalog of World Coins Book Trio 1601-1900

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Minting of gold coins began in Hungary in 1325. At first the appearance and standard were modeled on Florentine patterns. Starting from 1350s, the traditional forms of the coins were intentionally transformed in several steps. The first gold coins issued by Louis I were identical in appearance to the florin gold coins issued by his father. The obverse featured a Florentine fleur-de-lis, with a depiction of St. John the Baptist on the reverse. In the second step, the fleur-de-lis on the obverse was replaced by an escutcheon party per pale containing the arms of Hungary and the house of Anjou inside a hexafoil, thus uniting the arms of the country (Hungarian stripes) and the royal house (Angevin fleurs-de-lis). Thus, the obverse of the coin departs from the Florentine pattern, while the reverse still featured St. John the Baptist.

The process of change was completed with a coin, the reverse of which depicted Hungarian King Saint Ladislaus, who was revered by Louis I. Saint Ladislaus holds in his right hand his main attribute, the battle-axe, and the orb in his left hand, with a halo around his crowned head.

The new gold florins were produced in several mints, including Buda, Kremnica and Transylvania. The privy mark “P” between the saint’s legs on this coin indicates that this piece was likely struck in the mint of Buda in the 1360s, under chamberlain Petrus Chimle. The rosettes on the two sides of the saint are not merely decorative, but probably also function as emission marks.

These gold florin coins with their particular Hungarian appearance were also very popular beyond Hungary’s borders, and variations on the Hungarian St. Ladislaus motif began to appear on other coins in Europe, just as the Florentine patterns had been copied in the past. The motif of St. Ladislaus lived on long after the reign of Louis I, and Hungarian gold florin coins bearing his image on the reverse were still being minted as late as the end of 16th century.

The first coin in the series featured the first gold florin of Hungary issued by King Charles I (1288-1342).

To order, or for more information on these and other coins of Hungary, contact the Hungarian Mint's North American Representative at P.O. Box 399, Williston, VT 05495. Toll-free 1-800-421-1866. Fax 802-536-4787. Email:, or click on the Hungarian flag at for secure website ordering. Add $5.75 to each order for shipping and handling in the U.S.A. Shipping to other countries will be based on actual cost. Vermont residents add 6% sales tax. Those desiring to receive information and photographs electronically on a regular basis can provide their email address to  

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