By Coin & Currency Institute ……
In honor of the 175th anniversary of Hungary’s second national anthem, The Szózat (in English: Appeal or Summons), Hungary issued a large-size, silver commemorative coin on the May 10 anniversary of its premiere. The sterling silver (.925 fine) 20,000 forint coin measures 52.5 millimeters across (2.05 inches) and weighs 77.76 grams. It costs $108.95.
The Szózat’s lyrics, intended to encourage patriotism and loyalty, were penned by Mihály Vörösmarty in 1836. Béni Egressy composed the music in 1843 in response to an open competition launched by the National Theater. Egressy submitted his composition with the motto “May every man be human and Hungarian!” The premiere was at the National Theater on May 10, 1843. The competition’s winner was decided by the audience.
It received a standing ovation and soon became well-known as a popular “national song”. It is called the “second national anthem because there is also the official anthem, the Himnusz. Usually, the official anthem is sung at the beginning of ceremonies, and Szózat is sung at the end.
The coin pays tribute to both the poet and the composer. It is said that the poem addresses all Hungarians, and is complemented perfectly by music that captures the sentiment of the era. The obverse has a half-length portrait of Vörösmarty writing the Szózat and the national flag in the background. The design was inspired by a Miklós Barabás’ painting. On the left is the coat-of- arms of Hungary, while on the right is the anthem’s most significant stanza: “No other spot in all the world / can touch your heart as home— / let fortune bless or fortune curse, / from hence you shall not roam!” Below it is the poet’s signature.
The reverse side of the commemorative coin bears a half-length portrait of Béni Egressy, also inspired by a Barabás’ painting. The old National Theater is in the background. Next to Egressy is part of the sheet music for the Szózat, while the composer’s signature is at the bottom. The master mark of applied artist Gábor Kereszthury, the designer of the coin, is hidden in the design.
In addition to the 20,000 forint silver coin, there is an identically-sized 2,000 forint copper-nickel version in uncirculated quality costing $22.75. It weighs 76.5 grams. The edges of both coins are reeded. The mintage is limited to 5,000 of each.
To order, or for more information on these and other world 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 or Fax at (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].
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