Paper money of the Hungarian pengő

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Hungarian pengő paper money (Hungarian: pengő papírpénz) was part of the physical form of Hungary's historical currency, the Hungarian pengő. Paper money usually meant banknotes, which were issued (either in fact or in name) by the Hungarian National Bank. Later - during and after the second world war - other types of paper money appeared, including emergency money, bonds and savings certificates.

In the beginning, paper money was designed abroad Hungary, and were printed using simple methods. Later, developed techniques were used creating banknotes which reflected stability. After the war, in parallel with the value loss, the quality of banknotes decreased. Finally, not even serial numbers were printed on the notes.

Banknotes[edit]

First series (1926)[edit]

The first series of pengő banknotes were printed in 1926 with the following denominations: 5 P, 10 P, 20 P, 50 P, and 100 P. All banknotes were designed by Ferenc Helbing. Due to the poor printing technology (offset printing) counterfeits appeared in a short time. The situation was so serious that the banknotes had to be replaced with a new series in a short time. As a consequence, these belong to the most valued collector rarities among the Hungarian banknotes.

1926 series
Image Value Dimensions Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse printing issue withdrawal
HUP 5 1926 obverse.jpg HUP 5 1926 reverse.jpg 5 pengő 150 × 75 mm Portrait of Count István Széchenyi by Friedrich Amerling View of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge 1 March 1926 27 December 1926 30 June 1929
HUP 10 1926 obverse.jpg HUP 10 1926 reverse.jpg 10 pengő 157 × 78 mm Ferenc Deák The Hungarian Parliament Building 30 June 1930
HUP 20 1926 obverse.jpg HUP 20 1926 reverse.jpg 20 pengő 166 × 84 mm Lajos Kossuth Géza Mészöly's painting: "Balaton scene" 31 May 1931
HUP 50 1926 obverse.jpg HUP 50 1926 reverse.jpg 50 pengő 175 × 90 mm Portrait of Ferenc II Rákóczi by Ádám Mányoki Károly Lotz's painting: "Stallions in the shower" 31 March 1935
HUP 100 1926 obverse.jpg HUP 100 1926 reverse.jpg 100 pengő 182 × 96 mm Portrait of King Matthias Corvinus by Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio View of the Buda Castle with the Danube 30 April 1933
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

Second series (1927-1932)[edit]

The first denomination of the second series of pengő banknotes was the 1000 pengő note, designed by Zoltán Egri.[1] Contrary to the 1926-series, this banknote (as well as the other bills of these series) was printed using intaglio printing. The next banknote of the series is the 5 pengő note (dated 1928), then the 10 pengő (1929), 20 and 100 pengő (1930), and the 50 pengő notes (1932) were issued. These banknotes were designed by Álmos Jaschik.[2]

1927-1932 series
Image Value Dimensions Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse printing issue withdrawal
HUP 5 1928 obverse.jpg HUP 5 1928 reverse.jpg 5 pengő 150 × 75 mm Portrait of Count István Széchenyi by Friedrich Amerling View of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge 1 August 1928 20 December 1928 31 December 1930
HUP 10 1929 obverse.jpg HUP 10 1929 reverse.jpg 10 pengő 159 × 80 mm Ferenc Deák The Hungarian Parliament Building 1 February 1929 11 December 1929 30 November 1939
HUP 20 1930 obverse.jpg HUP 20 1930 reverse.jpg 20 pengő 165 × 85 mm Lajos Kossuth The Hungarian National Bank building 2 January 1930 20 November 1930 31 October 1943
HUP 50 1932 obverse.jpg HUP 50 1932 reverse.jpg 50 pengő 168 × 86 mm Sándor Petőfi János Visky's painting: "Herding in Hortobágy" 1 October 1932 10 September 1934 6 May 1946
HUP 100 1930 obverse.jpg HUP 100 1930 reverse.jpg 100 pengő 176 × 91 mm Portrait of King Matthias Corvinus by Andrea Mantegna View of the Buda Castle with the Danube 1 July 1930 25 October 1932
HUP 1000 1927 obverse.jpg HUP 1000 1927 reverse.jpg 1000 pengő 192 × 112 mm The Hungária-head from the Statue of Liberty in Arad Gyula Benczúr's painting: "Baptism of Vajk" 1 July 1927 27 December 1927 14 June 1945
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

Low denomination series (1938)[edit]

In 1938, a series of 50 fillér, 1, 2, and 5 pengő bills were designed by Franke Rupert. The aim of the National Bank was to quickly supply the territories of which Hungary gained control according to the Vienna Awards with low denomination money. However, only the 1 and 5 pengő bills were put into circulation but printer's proof of the others also exist. Since the amount of 1 P bills allowed by the serial number proved to be insufficient, a second issue was printed that was marked with a star in the serial number.

1938 series
Image Value Dimensions Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse printing issue withdrawal
50 fillér 81 × 48 mm Female model Value in different languages 15 January 1938 never -
HUP 1 1938 obverse.jpg HUP 1 1938 reverse.jpg 1 pengő 99 × 56 mm 20 January 1941 10 March 1942
HUP 1 1938 star obverse.jpg HUP 1 1938 star reverse.jpg 1 pengő
(2nd issue)
HUPs 2 1938 obverse.jpg HUPs 2 1938 reverse.jpg 2 pengő 110 × 61 mm never -
5 pengő 120 × 65 mm 5 November 1938 31 July 1939
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

War series (1936-1941)[edit]

The first banknote of the series is the 10 pengő bill, which is dated 1936 but was not put into circulation earlier than 1939. This banknote was followed by the 5 pengő bill (dated 1939), then the 2 pengő (1940) and the 20 pengő bills (1941). A 100 pengő note was also planned, however, it was printed in a slightly different version and only used by the evacuated troops in Austria. The banknotes of the series were designed by Endre Horváth[3])

1936-1941 series
Image Value Dimensions Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse printing issue withdrawal
HUP 2 1940 obverse.jpg HUP 2 1940 reverse.jpg 2 pengő 114 × 58 mm Female model Mother with her child 15 July 1940 20 January 1941 10 March 1942
HUP 5 1939 obverse.jpg HUP 5 1939 reverse.jpg 5 pengő 121 × 59 mm Female model Statue of Sebestyén Tinódi Lantos by Gyula Bezerédi 25 October 1939 18 March 1940 5 August 1942
28 April 1945 6 May 1946
HUP 10 1936 obverse.jpg HUP 10 1936 reverse.jpg 10 pengő 158 × 71 mm Mary with Jesus and a female model Statue of king St. Stephen by Alajos Stróbl 22 December 1936 15 May 1939
HUP 20 1941 obverse.jpg HUP 20 1941 reverse.jpg 20 pengő 164 × 75 mm Female model Young wife and old man in the fields 15 January 1941 16 November 1942
100 pengő  ? Female model Coat of arms and male nudes  ? never -
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

Veszprém series (1943)[edit]

Series of banknotes were printed in Veszprém by the evacuated Szálasi government and circulated in the Nazi-ruled part of Hungary in 1944.

First, the 100 P bill of 1930 and the 10 P bill of 1936 were reprinted in late 1944. These banknotes were marked with a star in the serial number (1 pengő bills of 1938 with a star in the serial number are not Veszprém issues), and are much less common than those without it. Some of the 100 P banknotes were overstamped with an 1000 P adhesive stamp - these were later replaced by the 1000 P bill of 1943.

Later in 1944 there was a plan to issue a new series of 10, 100 and 1000 P banknotes - all designed by Endre Horváth. Due to lack of time, only the 1000 P bill was officially put into circulation, 100 P bills were printed but only used by the evacuated troops in Austria, the 10 P bill is only known as printer's proof. The 100 and 1000 P bills were designed using elements of earlier banknotes.

In the last days of the Szálasi government, some of the bills (10 P of 1936, 20 P of 1941, 50 P of 1932, 100 P of 1930 and 1000 P of 1943) were overstamped with a green arrow-cross stamp - however, most of these overstamped banknotes are considered to be fake (i.e. overstamped later to turn these common banknotes into more expensive 'rarities') : stamp inks are tend to be very fresh on these banknotes and it is not clear what the purpose of such overstamping would have been.

1943 series
Image Value Dimensions Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse printing issue withdrawal
HUP 10 1943 reverse.jpg 10 pengő  ? mm Female model Woman with sickle and wheat 24 February 1943 never -
HUP 100 1943 obverse.jpg HUP 100 1943 reverse.jpg 100 pengő 156 × 100 mm Female model Coat of arms and male nudes never (see text) -
HUP 1000 1943 obverse.jpg HUP 1000 1943 reverse.jpg 1000 pengő 183 × 100 mm The Hungária-head from the Statue of Liberty in Arad View of Buda with the statue of St. Gellért 4 November 1944 14 June 1945
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

Postwar inflation series (1945-1946)[edit]

After the war the new democratic government suffered from serious lack of money, so it ordered the national bank to manufacture banknotes quickly and cheaply. There was little time to design new notes, thus the plates of banknotes printed in 1926 were reused (compare the 50, 100, 1 000 000 and 100 000 000 notes with the 50, 100, 20 and 10 pengő notes from the 1926 series, respectively) as well as portraits from other notes (e.g. compare the 500 pengő note with the 500 000 korona note and the 100 000 pengő note with the 2 pengő note from 1940). Beginning with the 1000 pengő note, only denominations of integer powers of ten were used. The uncontrolled banknote issuing aggravated inflation.

In December 1945, the government tried (and failed) to take the inflation under control by a one-time capital levy. This meant that the 1000, 10 000 and 100 000 pengő banknotes had to be overstamped with a stamp that could be bought for 3 times the value of the banknote. Banknotes without stamp were worth 1/4 of their nominal value after this campaign. Later the 100 000 pengő note was issued again with different colors - this banknote and higher denominations did not fall under the capital levy.

Although there were plans to issue ten billion (1010) pengő notes (similar in design as the 1946-version 10 Ft note), denominations higher than one billion were renamed milpengő (which stands for million pengő) and the indicated value was reduced with a factor one million. The next denomination after the one billion pengő note became the 10 000 milpengő, which was equal with ten thousand times million (that is ten billion) pengő, and had similar design as the 10 000 pengő note. The aim was to alleviate everyday money handling and accounting as well as to reuse the designs of earlier banknotes with little changes.

After the one billion milpengő note a new abbreviation had to be found out, since further higher denominations were necessary. This became the b.-pengő (which stands for billion pengő; billion is on the long scale i.e. million times million) and the designs could be reused again with changes in the color and adding "B" letters. The highest printed denomination - the one billion b.-pengő (i.e. 1021 pengő) note - was never released into circulation.

This naming scheme and reuse of the designs is the reason of the cycle pattern in the hyperinflation pengő notes. The cycle was 6 digit, meaning that notes with the same number before the denomination (e.g. 10 000 pengő, 10 000 milpengő, 10 000, b.-pengő) had the same design.

1945-1946 series
Image Value Dimensions Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse printing issue withdrawal
HUP 50 1945 obverse.jpg HUP 50 1945 reverse.jpg 50 pengő 175 × 90 mm Portrait of Ferenc II Rákóczi by Ádám Mányoki Károly Lotz's painting: "Stallions in the shower" 5 April 1945 5 June 1945 6 May 1946
HUP 100 1945 obverse.jpg HUP 100 1945 reverse.jpg 100 pengő 183 × 97 mm Portrait of King Matthias Corvinus by Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio View of the Buda Castle with the Danube 9 May 1945
HUP 500 1945 obverse.jpg HUP 500 1945 reverse.jpg 500 pengő 177 × 86 mm Female model Value in different languages 15 May 1945 1 June 1945
HUP 1000 1945 NOS obverse.jpg HUP 1000 1945 NOS reverse.jpg 1000 pengő 185 × 90 mm Female model Value in different languages 15 July 1945 16 July 1945 31 December 1945
HUP 1000 1945 OS obverse.jpg HUP 1000 1945 OS reverse.jpg 1000 pengő
(red adhesive stamp)
185 × 90 mm Female model Value in different languages 19 December 1945 6 May 1946
HUP 10000 1945 NOS obverse.jpg HUP 10000 1945 NOS reverse.jpg 10 000 pengő 171 × 82 mm Female model Value in different languages 15 July 1945 17 October 1945 31 December 1945
HUP 10000 1945 obverse.jpg HUP 10000 1945 reverse.jpg 10 000 pengő
(brown adhesive stamp)
171 × 82 mm Female model Value in different languages 19 December 1945 5 July 1946
HUP 100000 1945 blue reverse.jpg 100 000 pengő 179 × 81 mm Female model Coat of arms and value in different languages 23 October 1945 12 December 1945 31 December 1945
HUP 100000 1945 blue OS obverse.jpg HUP 100000 1945 blue OS reverse.jpg 100 000 pengő
(green adhesive stamp)
179 × 81 mm Female model Coat of arms and value in different languages 19 December 1945 5 July 1946
HUP 100000 1945 obverse.jpg HUP 100000 1945 reverse.jpg 100 000 pengő
(2nd issue)
179 × 81 mm Female model Coat of arms and value in different languages 27 December 1945 31 January 1946
HUP 1M 1945 obverse.jpg HUP 1M 1945 reverse.jpg 1 000 000 pengő 167 × 84 mm Lajos Kossuth Géza Mészöly's painting: "Balaton scene" 16 November 1945 28 February 1946 24 June 1946
HUP 10M 1945 obverse.jpg HUP 10M 1945 reverse.jpg 10 000 000 pengő
(107 pengő)
184 × 84 mm Lajos Kossuth Dove carrying an olive branch 2 April 1946
HUP 100M 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 100M 1946 reverse.jpg 100 000 000 pengő
(108 pengő)
159 × 79 mm Female model The Hungarian Parliament Building 18 March 1946 30 April 1946 10 July 1946
HUP 1000M 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 1000M 1946 reverse.jpg 1 000 000 000 pengő
(109 pengő)
174 × 84 mm Female model Value 13 May 1946
HUP 10000mil 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 10000mil 1946 reverse.jpg 10 000 milpengő
(1010 pengő)
171 × 82 mm Female model Value 29 April 1946 27 May 1946 31 July 1946
HUP 100000mil 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 100000mil 1946 reverse.jpg 100 000 milpengő
(1011 pengő)
179 × 81 mm Female model Coat of arms and value 3 June 1946
HUP 1Mmil 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 1Mmil 1946 reverse.jpg 1 000 000 milpengő
(1012 pengő)
167 × 84 mm Lajos Kossuth Géza Mészöly's painting: "Balaton scene" 24 May 1946 12 June 1946
HUP 10Mmil 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 10Mmil 1946 reverse.jpg 10 000 000 milpengő
(1013 pengő)
184 × 84 mm Lajos Kossuth Dove carrying an olive branch 18 June 1946
HUP 100Mmil 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 100Mmil 1946 reverse.jpg 100 000 000 milpengő
(1014 pengő)
159 × 79 mm Female model The Hungarian Parliament Building 3 June 1946 24 June 1946
HUP 1000Mmil 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 1000Mmil 1946 reverse.jpg 1 000 000 000 milpengő
(1015 pengő)
174 × 84 mm Female model Value 27 June 1946
HUP 10000B 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 10000B 1946 reverse.jpg 10 000 b.‑pengő
(1016 pengő)
171 × 82 mm Female model Value 3 June 1946 1 July 1946 31 July 1946
HUP 100000B 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 100000B 1946 reverse.jpg 100 000 b.‑pengő
(1017 pengő)
179 × 81 mm Female model Coat of arms and value 2 July 1946
HUP 1MB 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 1MB 1946 reverse.jpg 1 000 000 b.‑pengő
(1018 pengő)
167 × 84 mm Lajos Kossuth Géza Mészöly's painting: "Balaton scene" 4 July 1946
HUP 10MB 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 10MB 1946 reverse.jpg 10 000 000 b.‑pengő
(1019 pengő)
184 × 84 mm Lajos Kossuth Dove carrying an olive branch 8 July 1946
HUP 100MB 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 100MB 1946 reverse.jpg 100 000 000 b.‑pengő
(1020 pengő)
159 × 79 mm Female model The Hungarian Parliament Building 11 July 1946
HUP 1000MB 1946 obverse.jpg HUP 1000MB 1946 reverse.jpg 1 000 000 000 b.‑pengő
(1021 pengő)
174 × 84 mm Female model Value Never -
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre.

Soviet Red Army issues[edit]

In 1944, during the Soviet occupation of Hungary, the Red Army issued paper money without cover in the areas under its control. These banknotes were of poor quality, and aggravated the inflation of the pengő.

Red Army series
Image Value Dimensions Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse issue withdrawal
HUP 1 1944 obverse.jpg HUP 1 1944 reverse.jpg 1 pengő 135 × 70 mm Value Value 1944 28 February 1946
HUP 2 1944 obverse.jpg HUP 2 1944 reverse.jpg 2 pengő 138 × 69 mm
HUP 5 1944 obverse.jpg HUP 5 1944 reverse.jpg 5 pengő 135 × 67 mm
HUP 10 1944 obverse.jpg HUP 10 1944 reverse.jpg 10 pengő 161 × 81 mm
HUP 20 1944 obverse.jpg HUP 20 1944 reverse.jpg 20 pengő 165 × 84 mm
HUP 50 1944 obverse.jpg HUP 50 1944 reverse.jpg 50 pengő 179 × 90 mm
HUP 100 1944 obverse.jpg HUP 100 1944 reverse.jpg 100 pengő 184 × 97 mm
HUP 1000 1944 obverse.jpg HUP 1000 1944 reverse.jpg 1000 pengő 194 × 104 mm

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ (Hungarian) www.penzportal.hu (Designers of the pengő banknotes: Zoltán Egri)
  2. ^ (Hungarian) www.penzportal.hu (Designers of the pengő banknotes: Álmos Jaschik)
  3. ^ (Hungarian) www.penzportal.hu (Designers of the pengő banknotes: Endre Horváth)