On 3 July, the Hungarian National Bank issued a commemorative coin on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the National Archives of Hungary and the 100th anniversary of the handover of the building of the archives in the Buda Castle.
The commemorative coins created for the dual anniversary of the National Archives of Hungary feature the national treasury on one side and the archive’s building on the other, which was specifically built for archival purposes 100 years ago, said the director-general of the archives, Csaba Szabó at the ceremonial release on Monday.
The national archives preserve several documents related to monetary history, the director-general said. He added that important documents of the country, counties, and Hungarian aristocracy were once kept in a large iron chest. The national archives now safeguard approximately 90 kilometres of archival material, he remarked. The Hungarian National Bank considers the preservation of values, raising awareness, and undertaking the cultural mission of knowledge dissemination of primary importance. Therefore, since 1969, the institution has regularly issued commemorative coins to mark significant historical, scientific, and cultural events and anniversaries related to Hungary, as well as international events, Deputy Governor of the National Bank Barnabás Virág emphasised.
He announced that on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the enactment of the legislation that laid the foundation for the operation of the national archives, the bank is issuing a silver commemorative coin with a face value of 15,000 forints and a coloured metal version with a face value of 3,000 forints. The silver commemorative coin can be minted in a mirror-like version, with a quantity of 7,000 pieces, while the coloured metal version can be minted in a satin-like version, also with a quantity of 7,000 pieces. The coins were designed by Gábor Kereszthury, an applied artist.
The obverse side features the depiction of the national treasury based on one of the murals in the archives by painter Andor Dudits. The depiction on the obverse refers to the time before the establishment of the institution when the country’s important documents could still fit in a single chest.
On the reverse side of the coin, the current facade of the central building of the National Archives of Hungary, which was put into use in 1923, is featured, with the tower that was an integral part of the building but had to be demolished due to severe damage during World War II appearing in the background, Barnabás Virág explained. He added that depending on the available inventory, the silver commemorative coin can be purchased at face value for three months after the issuance, while the coloured metal version can be purchased for one year from Monday at the coin shop and online store of the Hungarian Mint, which produces and distributes the coins.
According to István H. Németh, a historian and head of the archives’ department, little is known about the national treasury chest. From the records, it can be deduced that the chest, presumably made of iron, was passed on between the palatines, and in the Middle Ages, it served, among other things, for preserving international agreements. Later, during the reign of the Anjou kings, the supervision of the then archival office in Visegrád and later in Buda was carried out by the treasury. An independent archival institution was established by a law enacted in 1723. At that time, the National Archives of Hungary (Archivum Regni) was obliged to collect the country’s documents as well as national-level documents held by individuals and place them in the national archives.