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Home > Members' Coin Collection Galleries > Stkp > HUNGARY: The Earliest Arpads (1000-1095)
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Huszár 1; Tóth-Kiss 1.3 legend variation 1; Unger 1; Réthy I 1; Frynas H.1.2; Adamovszky A2; Csákvári p. 30; Kovács pp. 33-35
Hungary. István/Stephen I (Grand Prince 997-1000; King 1000-1038; canonized in 1083)

AR denomination unknown (per Huszár and Adamovszky) or denar (per Tóth-Kiss, Unger, Frynas, Kovács, Csákvári and Gyöngyössy) (average .76 g, 15-19 mm.); .84 g., 18.04 mm. max., 0°

Obv: + STEPHANVS REX, cross within pearled border, wedges between the arms of the cross.

Rev: + REGIA CIVITAS, cross within pearled border, wedges between the arms of the cross.

Struck at Esztergom, and issued continuously, probably for decades (per Tóth-Kiss), beginning ca. 1020 (per Gyöngyössy), or 1018-1038 (per Jonsson). According to Jonsson, this type was struck according to two weight standards; a "heavy denar" (average weight 1.24 g.) and "light denar" (average weight .80 g.), with different issuance dates. However, no catalog differentiates the type by weight. It would appear that Jonsson's "light denar" corresponds to this type (which has an average weight of .78 g.) and that his "heavy denar" corresponds to the similar Huszár 4; Tóth-Kiss 1.7, Réthy I 7 (which has an average weight of 1.24 g).

Faintich speculates that the wedges on this coin are cometary symbols that may represent the comet of 975 (the year of Stephen's birth).

Huszár rarity 9, Toth-Kiss rarity 200, Unger rarity 65, Frynas rarity N.

Note: “[T]he half denars or obols of the Bavarian princes, coined at Regensburg, have been identified as the direct models for the first Hungarian coins. . . Yet the design of the Hungarian coin refrained from a servile imitation of the Bavarian model, partly by omitting to copy the representation of the Carlovingian [sic] church from the reverse of the Bavarian obols, partly by showing independent taste in shaping the cross, and applying the linear Greek cross. Finally the capital letter types of the legend on Bavarian coins completely differ from the peculiar characters to be seen on the first Hungarian coins, which are engraved with unusual forms actually reminiscent of runic marks” (Huszár 1963, 6-7).
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Mark Fox  [Mar 20, 2010 at 01:14 PM]
A person sure doesn't see these types every day! The coin looks a bit Anglo-Saxon. A fascinating piece!
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