Czech Mint has prepared an issue of unique series titled The Period of Charles IV. His reign brought prosperity to the Lands of Bohemian crown and he pushed through many significant decisions which had an impact on politics and culture. The series of silver medals and gold ducats celebrate three magnificent monuments, which began to be built in the 14th century based on the decision of Charles IV and which are today our national pride known worldwide – Charles Bridge, Karlštejn Castle and St. Vitus’ Cathedral.
Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, chose Prague as his residential city and during his life he did a lot to make it thrive. In 1338, he had a town hall built in the Old Town and, ten years later, he founded the New Town of Prague which had its centre on what is today the Wenceslas square, formerly the Horse Market. Prague became a town of artisans and traders where new grand sacral buildings were originating. Charles IV was very pious and he wished to create new Jerusalem in Prague. He also highly respected education and in 1348 he founded a university in Prague –the first of its kind in central Europe.
Charles IV was an unusually learned and intelligent man. He knew very well Gothic architectural style which he saw in France where he was brought up. He therefore decided to build a cathedral whose grandeur would surpass its French model. To fulfil this intention he, of course, needed a builder who could accomplish this aim, and therefore he summoned Mathias of Arras to Prague from Avignon. The foundation stone of St. Vitus’ Cathedral was laid jointly by Charles IV, his father John of Luxembourg and archbishop Arnošt of Pardubice on 21 November 1344. Simultaneously, the Prague bishopric was elevated to archbishopric. Matthias of Arras set to work immediately afterwards, but he died in 1352. After Matthias’s death, his plans for the construction of the cathedral were followed, but in 1356 a new builder, German Peter Parler took on, and later on his sons. Compared with Matthias’s style, Parler’s style was distinctly freer and bore the marks of Late Gothic.
King Wladislaw II Jagielo continued in the vision of Charles IV with master builders Hanuš Spiess and Benedikt Ried. However, the construction was also hit by fire. In 1541 the Lesser Quarter and the Castle flared up, all wooden parts of the cathedral burnt down, the bell was damaged and the three naves destroyed. The reconstruction was carried out under the auspices of Ferdinand I, who invited Paola della Stella and later on Bonifác Wohlmut to do the job. It was completed at the end of the 16th century. In 1621 the church was re-consecrated in relation to the development after the Battle on the White Mountain. Numerous minor alterations of the monument have been carried out since. Final part of the construction was realized by Svatovítská jednota (St. Vitus's Unity) at the turn of the 19th century and in 1929, on the occasion of the millennium of the murder of St. Wenceslas, the cathedral was consecrated. Between 1920 and 1997 the name St. Vitus’ Cathedral was used, while in 1997 the then Archbishop Miloslav Vlk restored the church’s original name Cathedral of St. Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert.
The investment medal St. Vitus’ Cathedral was designed by proficient medallist M.A. Josef Oplištil. On the obverse he pictured the cathedral from an untraditional bird’s eye view. The reverse is dominated by the effigy of the ruler surrounded by notable structures that he initiated during his reign. The text on the reverse includes the name of the series and also years of the king’s birth and death. Czech Mint issues the silver one-ounce medal in a limited edition of 5,000 pcs.
Fine silver offers a good opportunity of appreciating your money. Prices of silver are still very favourable and if you invest in it now, the growth potential is indeed promising. In addition to being a smart investment, silver one-ounce medal St. Vitus’ Cathedral will bring to your collection also an attractive gleam of the period of Charles IV.