2,000 forint – Irene of Hungary (1088-1134)

Series: Hungary – Commemorative 2000 forint coins

Image of 2000 forint coin – Irene of Hungary (1088-1134) | Hungary 2019.  The Brass coin is of BU quality.
To commemorate Saint Irene, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank is issuing gold and non-ferrous metal collector coins with face values of HUF 50,000 and HUF 2,000, respectively, as the second piece in its series presenting the saints of the House of Árpád, to follow the Saint Margaret coin issued in 2017. The collector coin was designed by the goldsmith Fanni Király.
Saint Irene (the daughter of Saint Ladislaus, and married to Byzantine Emperor, John II Komnenos) is venerated as a saint in both the Western and Eastern churches. As the wife of the Byzantine Emperor, Piroska was given the new name Irene meaning ‘peace’. She was not directly involved in politics, although she supported the Hungarian opponents of Coloman who sought refuge in the Byzantine Empire. She regularly received Hungarian delegations and pilgrims to the Holy Land, and mediated between the Kingdom of Hungary and the Byzantine Empire on several occasions. She was active in social issues, supporting the poor and sick, and helping to organise medical services for them.
In 1118, she founded the monastery of Christ Pantocrator in Constantinople (now Istanbul), the world's largest monastery at that time. From the beginning, the monastery also included a 50-bed hospital, which served as the example for later Arabic and European hospitals.
On the name day of Piroska, the MNB is issuing a gold collector coin with a face value of HUF 50,000 and its non-ferrous metal version of HUF 2,000 to honour Saint Irene of Hungary. The collector coin was designed by the goldsmith Fanni Király. The face value on the collector coins issued by the Magyar Nemzeti Bank serves to maintain the collector value of these coins. Primarily, collector coins play an educational and a commemorative role, therefore they are not to be used in everyday payments.
By issuing the collector coins today the Bank aims to pay tribute to one of the outstanding saint in Hungarian history, who is undeservedly lesser known today. The gold and the non-ferrous metal versions have the same design, the only difference being their denominations. With their selection of motifs the collector coins depict an authentic picture of Saint Irene offering a complex overview of her life.
The central motif on the obverse features the monastery of Christ Pantocrator in Constantinople, which was founded by Saint Irene. Its construction was completed by her husband. The monastery also housed the crypt of the imperial family, and it became the most important religious and social institution in Constantinople. Moved a bit to the left, the obverse of the coin bears the upper circular legend ‘PANTOKRÁTOR KOLOSTOR’ (Monastery of the Christ Pantocrator), the lower circular legend features the denominations 50,000 and 2,000 and the lettering ‘Ft’, and also the mint mark ‘BP.’ to the left, and the mint year ‘2019’ to the right.
The obverse shows a half-portrait of Saint Irene holding the founding documents of the monastery in her hand. This side of the coin was inspired by the mosaic found in Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, considered to be the only authentic depiction of Saint Irene. To the left of Saint Irene is her Hungarian name (Szent Piroska) and the dates of her birth and death (1088-1134), with her name as the Byzantine Empress in Greek letters (Eiréné) to the right. The master mark of the coin's designer, Fanni Király, is found to the bottom left of the Saint. The upper circular legend shows the inscription ‘MAGYARORSZÁG’ (Hungary).

Both collector coins are 22 mm in diameter. Their edge is smooth. The collector coin with a face value of HUF 50,000 is struck in .986 fine gold and weighs 6.982 grams (2 ducats). The non-ferrous metal coin with a face value of HUF 2,000 is produced from an alloy of copper (75%), nickel (4%) zinc (21%) and weighs 4.2 grams. 2,000 pieces can be made of the gold collector coin in proof, while 5,000 pieces of the non-ferrous metal version in BU finish.