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Exhibition by Érem Verde Hungary’s only mint

Published: November 15, 2012

Decorative & commemorative medals & coins

The Exhibition had three main themes:

• Historical – Kings of Hungary
• Cities & Important Hungarian Inventors (e.g. the scientists Szent-Györgyi awarded
the Nobel Prize 75 years ago for work on vitamin C extraction from paprika)
• A demonstration of the production methods, from original sculpture to gypsum and final
casting & polishing.

The Érem Verde History

The Szabo family can be traced back to 1623, when the ancestor of the present director, Tamas, was appointed chief of the King’s bodyguard. More recent family members have included a poet, a priest, the inventor of the method of injecting gas bubbles in water, another was head gardener of Szeged after the great flood of 1879.

The son of the family at that stage was the first to become a jeweller, the grandfather of Tamas. The family of his maternal grandparents had been paprika farmers and when an old family mill came into his hands, they decided to change the use for the premises. He built his own press for casting in the refurbished premises on his return from World War One. This press was stronger than anything then in use for stamping, so the finish was better than competitors’.

Tamas grandfather was born in 1929, so avoided being called up for military service in World War Two due to his young age, and the factory was registered as the maker of military buttons. After a spell in Passau, he returned to Szeged and the jewellery profession. During the Soviet era, he was arrested, spending many months in a barn on the Hortobagy plain while the factory languished in state possession, only to be re-acquired by the family many years later. The various police raids and attempts to stop the company producing medals in the 1930’s and again in 1959 eventually petered out.  He died in 1968.

In 1982, another generation, Tamas’s father, Géza, now qualified, was commissioned to make a medal commemorating the centenary of the great flood. Initially allowed only use for a few hours on someone else’s press, he eventually succeeded in getting back to using his own. In 1987 Géza won a jewellery award and was ten  years on the national board and  received a “lifetime achievement” award in Szeged in May 2012. Tamas joined the family company in 1994, after reading economics at Szeged University, and professionally qualifying in 1999, after apprenticeship in Edmonton, Canada.

The Érem Verde mint has become internationally well-known and receives many visitors. It now makes medals for the Church, governments, universities and recently signed with the University of Fine Arts to take six to twelve students each year from the sculpture faculty for training in commemorative medal making.

The Method has not basically changed even if the equipment has been dramatically up-dated. The customer’s commission via sculpture is converted to a gypsum model (two to three times eventual size)  the design is finalised and gypsum dies made to the actual size and hand engraved,  to finalise it is hardened and polished then finally minted in gold, silver or bronze.

The exhibition was held:
8 Oct – 4 Nov 2012
Whipple Museum (Free School Lane, Cambridge)

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