Eight hundred years ago, in 1222, King Andrew II of Hungary signed what has become known as the “Golden Bull”. It was a charter granted by the king to codify the rights of privileges of the nobility and clergy and to establish limits on his own power. It was forced on the king because of his own abuses of power and contained 31 separate articles. From that date on, all Hungarian kings had to swear to uphold it. Historians have often likened it to the Magna Carta that was agreed to by King John of England seven years earlier.
The Hungarian Mint is producing two coins with a unique concept to commemorate the anniversary, one a gold 10,000 forint and the other a patinated 5,000 forint made of a copper-zinc-brass alloy. The uniqueness is that the gold coin interlocks with and fits inside the other one.
The 10,000 forint gold coin is 11 mm and a half gram of. .999 fine gold. The 5,000 forint is 67 mm in size and weighs a hefty 117.5 grams. The authorized mintage of each is 10,000 pieces. Those who wish to make two coins into one can do so by removing them from their plastic capsules and inserting the gold 10,000 forint into the small raised frame on the 5,000 forint.
The obverse side of the gold coin is of the gold bull itself – the seal that was used on the document. On the brass coin, the seal appears as an indentation just below a replication of part of the document’s text into which the gold coin can be placed. The Hungarian Mint cautions “Of course you must be very careful to avoid damaging the gold coin.”
The reverse side of each coin is identical – King Andrew II seated on his throne holding an orb in his left hand and a scepter in his right. He is flanked by the dates 1222 – 2022.
The coins are sold individually with the gold coin at $79.75 USD and the brass one at $29.95.
Among the Golden Bull’s provisions were that the king had to convene the national assembly regularly; he could not imprison a noble without a proper trial; and he could not tax the estates of nobles and the church; nobles no longer had to serve without pay in the king’s army abroad; and foreigners were prohibited from owning landed estates and Jews and Muslims from holding public office. It also increased the nobles’ authority in the counties; the king’s county officials could be dismissed for misconduct, and their positions could not be hereditary. If any king violated the provisions of the Golden Bull, the nobles and bishops had the right to resist without being subject to punishment for treason (source: Encyclopedia Britannica).
Golden Bull is a translation from the Latin bulla aurea, in which the term “bull” refers to an edict with a gold seal. Originally it only meant the seal itself, but the term later also came to refer to the decree. They were issued by numerous Byzantine and western European rulers.
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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 $6.00 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].