2014 brings a number of significant anniversaries, among them the 100th anniversary of the birth of the greatest of Czech “Palavelers” and writer of kind-hearted stories Bohumil Hrabal, celebrated on 28 March. On this occasion Czech Mint issued a special edition of a gold half-ounce commemorative medal, which reminds us of the greatness of simple stories, in which the writer expressed his loving approach to life.
This commemorative medal is the first in a series inspired by CZK 200 commemorative coins of the Czech National Bank. With the bank’s kind approval we will gradually introduce the most beautiful unrealized designs of a CNB-organized art competition in which the best Czech medal designers participated. The magic attraction of the entire collection will be enhanced by limited editions - each issue consists of just 99 pieces hand-numbered on the edge.
Bohumil Hrabal was born one hundred years ago in Brno. His father, an officer in the Austrian army, did not recognize his son and Hrabal was initially raised by his mother alone. However, she soon married František Hrabal, who adopted Bohumil and provided him with the same loving care as his own son and Bohumil’s half-brother Slávek, born shortly after the wedding.
František Hrabal worked in a brewery in Nymburk where Bohumil attended the primary school and the grammar school. The author drew valuable inspiration for his first books from this environment. Before he became a writer, Bohumil Hrabal held a number of jobs. After graduating from a law school he worked as a labourer in a steel mill in Kladno, then as a waiter, dispatcher in Kostomlaty nad Labem, clerk, paper-packer in a scrapyard and stage technician. Each of those jobs gave him a glimpse into the intimate lives of seemingly ordinary people that Hrabal then used in his books with incredible charm and grace. His unique style easily captivated readers not only in the Czech Republic but also across the world – he has become the most translated Czech writer of the 20th century. Between 1968 and 1975 his books were banned and could be published only in underground (samizdat) editions or abroad. His stories did not remain on paper only, but lived on in a number of theatre and film works. The film inspired by his book Closely Watched Trains, directed by Jiří Menzel, won an Academy Award (Oscar) for best foreign language film in 1968. Bohumil Hrabal died in 1997.
The obverse side depicts the profile of Bohumil Hrabal. The detailed relief of the medal was artfully designed by the academic sculptor Zbyněk Fojtů. On the reverse side is a typewriter and a sheet of paper with the most famous titles of Hrabal’s works. By purchasing this unique item you can honour the memory of one of the most popular writers of the past century and, at the same time, make another exclusive addition to your collection.