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  • 200 Forint 2001, KM# 755, Hungary, Children's Literature, János Vitéz by Sándor Petőfi
  • 200 Forint 2001, KM# 755, Hungary, Children's Literature, János Vitéz by Sándor Petőfi

Children's literature encompasses literary works crafted for young, yet developing audiences, with the intention of meeting their needs while also introducing them to more complex literary pieces. In a broader context, the realm of children's and young adult literature extends to informative texts and science fiction, which straddle the line between entertainment and education.

An intriguing aspect of young adult literature is its dual nature: many works originally intended for adults have found a place within young adult literature today (such as "Gulliver's Travels" or Verne's utopian novels), while conversely, numerous works initially aimed at young adults have transitioned into the realm of serious literary recognition (for instance, Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland").

The significance of literature targeted solely at children emerged predominantly in the latter part of the 19th century. Prior to this period, literary creations were primarily geared toward adult readers. However, notable exceptions include the collections of tales by János Arany and Elek Benedek (commencing in 1862 and 1885, respectively), which marked the inception of independent children's literature. Even Sándor Petőfi's narrative poem, "János vitéz" (1844), was crafted for adult audiences. Hungarian children's literature boasts timeless masterpieces such as Sándor Petőfi's "Arany Lacinak," Attila József's "Lullaby," János Arany's "Toldi," and Ferenc Molnár's "Pál utcai fiúk."

Engraver: László Szlávics Jr.


Depicts John the Valiant riding on the back of a griffin bird. Along the left edge in a semicircle, the inscription "PETŐFI SÁNDOR: JÁNOS VITÉZ" is readable.

When he gazed all around at the rock-littered crest,
He saw nothing of note but a griffin's nest.
The griffin was feeding her brood on the shelf:
Then a scheme in John's brain began hatching itself.

He stole up to the nest, and the bird didn't blink,
And he jumped on the griffin's back quick as a wink,
He dug his sharp spurs in her flanks, and he steered
Over hollows and hills on his charger so weird.

Oh, thrown him down headlong the griffin would have,
Yes, dashed him to pieces, if she only could have,
But brave John the Valiant, he just wouldn't let her,
And he clung to her waist and her neck all the better.

Over how many countries she'd crossed? Heaven knows.
When suddenly, just as the bright sun arose:
Well, the very first ray of the glittering dawn
Straight onto John's village's steeple shone.

Lord, how John was delighted at such a surprise,
So delighted the teardrops came into his eyes;
But as for the griffin, she was monstrously tired -
And was drooping to earth, which was what John desired.

"John the Valiant" (János vitéz) is a narrative poem penned by Sándor Petőfi in 1844, consisting of 370 four-line verses rich in literary expression. The poem unfolds through five pivotal moments: the separation of Jancsi and Iluska, Jancsi's enlistment in the army, his transformation into John the Valiant, the sorrowful revelation of Iluska's demise, and his eventual journey to Fairyland to reunite with his beloved.

Within the narrative, the author paints an idealized portrayal of the protagonist, Jancsi, a shepherd orphan who ascends to the throne of Fairyland. "John the Valiant" celebrates the triumph of the downtrodden over adversity, blending elements of realistic rural life with folkloric themes. As Jancsi ventures into the wider world, he encounters mythical beings such as witches, griffin birds, and giants, symbolizing the challenges and trials inherent in life's journey.

Throughout his odyssey, the protagonist confronts not only physical and intellectual hurdles but also moral dilemmas, testing his character along the way. Ultimately, the tale culminates in the eternal bliss of Fairyland, where Jancsi and Iluska reign in perpetual happiness. In this fantastical realm, all characters are idealized, reflecting the poet's fundamental belief in the innate goodness of humanity, where sinners receive their just retribution and the virtuous are rewarded accordingly.



Depicts the denomination, year of issue, mint mark (BP), and the engraver's initials. Along the edge, a circular inscription of the country's name (Hungarian Republic) is visible.

200 Forint


200 Forint

Third Republic

Children's Literature
János Vitéz by Sándor Petőfi

Subscribe series
KM# 755 Adamo# EM176
Type Commemorative Issue (Non-circulating)
Material Brass
Weight 9.4 g
Diameter 29.2 mm
Thickness 2 mm
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Budapest Mint (BP)

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