János or Johann Kemény was a Transylvanian prince and writer in the 16th century.
From an aristocratic Hungarian family, he was relied on as a political and military leader by Princes George I and II Rakoczi, and dispatched with an army to gain Poland for the latter, though he thought the mission ill-conceived in the face of Turkish opposition.
Captured as a result of this failed campaign, he wrote his memoirs, which became regarded as one of the great works of Transylvanian literature during that era.
Kemény was later elected prince and attempted to make a stand for Transylvanian independence which was threatened by the Ottoman Empire. He died in battle fighting for the cause under a year later.
Earlier this month, a gold coin from Kemény's brief reign appeared as lot 186 in a sale at a Hungarian auction house: Nudelman Numismatica.
Depicting the aristocrat in very regal form, facing right with ceremonial hat, sceptre and clothing. With the Transylvanian crown surrounded by an oval shield on the reverse, the gold coin was offered at €12,000.
Bidders however fought furiously over the piece, and pushed it all the way up to an extraordinary €50,000, demonstrating the worldwide strength in the coin markets at this time.
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