ISSUED: July 1, 1940
PAPER: Watermarked double cross on pyramid.
DESIGNER: Gyula Toth
PURPOSE: In commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of King Matthias at Kolozsvar, Transylvania.
PICTURES: (SP52) Raven Coat of Arms and “Hollos Cimer” (meaning Raven Coat of Arms)
(SP 53) Castle of Hunyadi and “Hunyadvara” meaning Castle of Hunyadi.
(SP54) King Matthias or Matyas I, or Matthias Corvinus and “Matyas.”
(SP55) Equestrian statue of King Matthias and “A Hadvezer” (The Army Leader).
(SP56) Rare manuscript and “A Konyvkedvelo” (The book lover).
HISTORY: Matthias was born February 22, 1440, second son of Janos Hunyadi, the national hero of Hungary. In 1458 Matthias was elected King of Hungary although only 18 years of age. King Matthias was known as the “Raven” hence the raven holding a ring in its beak on the coat of arms, said to denote a story that King Sigismond gave a ring to Matthias’ mother, who was a peasant; the crescent and star in the coat of arms refer to his defeat of the Turks. He also defeated Bohemia and took Vienna and a large part of Jugoslavia as the leader of the Hungarian Army. King Matthias ruled from the Hunyadvara shown on a hill overlooking Buda. The crown of Laurel (SP54) alludes to his literary accomplishments, while the rare manuscript (SP56) tells us that King Matthias was a book lover, having had a library of more than 50,000 books and 3,000 manuscripts as early as the 15th century. The word ‘Buda” 1473 on the left hand page refers to the city of Budapest and the date on which the first Magyar Codex or parchment book was published. The words “Corvin” and “Codex” on the right hand page of the book refer to his surname Corvinus and again to the Codex or parchment book. Matthias died in 1490 and is shown in his prime on the equestrian statue in full armor. The statue stands before the old gothic church of St. Michael’s in Kolozsvar, former capital of Transylvania and near his birthplace. The statue is the work of the sculptor John Fadrusz.