HUNGARY Bela III 1172-96 or Bela IV 1235-70 scyphate follis


HUNGARY, Bela III, 1172-96 or Bela IV, 1235-70, follis, no date, Obverse: king & queen enthroned facing, Reverse: Madonna seated facing, SANCTA MARIA, scyphate, copper, 26mm, 2.77g, H72, R98, VF

1 in stock

SKU: 3181250 Categories: ,


Bela III was involved in matrimonial politics and war with Byzantium at various times during his reign. Bela IV had to fight the Mongols. This odd coin, rather common, possibly the subject of modern fakery, I think is more likely of Byzantine-oriented Bela III.

Hungary is ancient Pannonia. The land was occupied by the Avars, then the Huns. The ancestors of modern Hungarians were Uralic nomads possibly related to the Huns who bothered the Romans, their language related to Turkish. When the Hungarians came to Pannonia they were called On Oghur, or “Ten Oghur tribes,” which, in reference to what seemed to contemporary observers as extraordinary cruelty, gave us the word “ogre.” The became Christians starting in the 9th century and developed an efficient bureaucracy that enabled them to prey upon their neighbors. After several centuries of playing in the European big leagues they got swallowed up by the Habsburgs, who kept them on a leash until the end of World War I.

The political arrangements that resulted in the nations of modern Europe began to emerge out of anarchy starting in the 7th century AD or so. Europe, for our purposes stretches from Greenland to somewhere in Russia. Collectors of Europe would likely include Russia. Collectors of Asia, even though about 2/3 of Russia is in Asia, probably not.

By “Modern World Coins” we mean here, generally, the round, flat, shiny metal objects that people have used for money and still do. “Modern,” though, varies by location. There was some other way they were doing their economies, and then they switched over to “modern coins,” then they went toward paper money, now we’re all going toward digital, a future in which kids look at a coin and say “What’s that?” We’ll say: “We used to use those to buy things.” Kids will ask “How?” The main catalog reference is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, to which the KM numbers refer.