By Coin & Currency Institute ……
Count Ödön Széchenyi laid the foundations for organized fire departments in Hungary, with the recruitment of the first volunteers, the creation of professional associations, and finally the nation-wide collaboration of different associations across the country. As a result of his efforts, the Hungarian Firefighters’ Federation, the legal predecessor of today’s Hungarian Firefighter Association, was established in 1870. In Hungary, Firefighter’s Day has been officially celebrated annually on May 4 since 1991 in commemoration of St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters.
In consideration of this anniversary the MNB (Central Bank of Hungary) is releasing a silver commemorative coin with a face value of 10,000 forints, a copper-nickel coin of 2,000 forints, and a 50 forint circulating commemorative coin, all entitled “150 Years of Organized Fire Departments in Hungary.”
The identical obverses of the 10,000 forint silver and 2,000 forint copper-nickel coins have a decorated helmet above two crossed fire axes, with an arch-shaped inscription of the fire department motto “From a Glorious Past to a Worthy Future”. Saint Florian is on the reverse standing in the uniform of a Roman officer holding a flag in one hand and a bucket of water in the other, with which he is extinguishing a small house on fire.
The legend reads “150 Years of Organized Fire Departments in Hungary” with his name below. Saint Florian was a Christian martyr and is the patron saint of firefighters. The cult of Saint Florian became popular in Central Europe in the late Middle Ages. According to legend, he saved a house from complete destruction by a dreadful fire when he was a child.
The .925 silver 10,000 forint is in proof quality and limited to 5,000 coins. It weighs 31.46 grams and is 38.61 mm (1½ inches) in diameter. It costs $67.50. The 2,000 forint is the same diameter and weighs 30.8 grams. The issue limit is also 5,000 coins at a cost of $19.95.
In addition to the commemorative coins, the bank is issuing two million copper-nickel 50 forint circulation coins on the same topic. 12,000 of these were placed in a special “First Day of Issue” blister pack and are offered at $12.95 each. The 50 forint has the same obverse design as the other two coins with the normal circulation coin reverse. It is 27.4 mm and weighs 7.7 grams.
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: [email protected], or click on the Hungarian flag at www.coin-currency.com 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 [email protected].