Hungary is celebrating 70 years since that nation's national currency, the Forint, was first introduced in 1946. To commemorate this milestone the Hungarian National Bank(Magyar Nemzeti Bank) has tasked the Hungarian Mint to release commemorative collector's coins to mark the occasion.
Following the Second World War the Hungarian economy was in absolute ruins. The currency at the time, the Pengő, was suffering hyperinflation that would eventually reach astronomical proportions. At the height of the crisis in 1946 the official inflation rate was 1.3 x 1016% per month. The highest inflation rate ever recorded. As a result prices would effectively double every 15 hours. According to an article published in the American Economics Review of 1948 the peak inflation rate was 41.9 quadrillion percent(41 900 000 000 000 000%). The country was in crisis and things could simply not go on unchecked.
And so on August 1st 1946 the Pengő was scrapped and the Forint introduced in it's place. The exchange rate, for what it was worth, was set at 1 Forint to 400 octillion Pengős(or a rate of 1:400 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000). This rate was more of a theoretical number used by economists though as many people simply discarded their old banknotes for being worthless.
Two coins are being released by the Hungarian Mint for this issue. The first is a silver proof quality ten thousand Forint coin and the second is a two thousand Forint coin struck from copper-nickel to a brilliant uncirculated finish. Apart from the denomination, both coins share the same design.
The coin's obverse depicts details from the new twenty thousand forint banknote, which is the very latest circulating currency that has been issued by the Hungarian National Bank. These details are depicted to the right and centre of the coin. The words “ÉRTÉKEK – FEJLŐDÉS – TRADÍCIÓ – IDŐTÁLLÓSÁG – STABILITÁS”(VALUES – PROGRESS – TRADITION – ENDURANCE – STABILITY ) can be seen in very small lettering to the right. Between these appear the signature of Dr György Matolcsy, the current governor of the Hungarian central bank. To the top left appear the word “MAGYARORSZAG”(HUNGARY), while “10000 FORINT” and “2016” are inscribed to the lower left in three lines. For the uncirculated copper-nickel coin the denomination reads “2000 FORINT” instead.
The reverse of the coin has a legend that reads : “HETVENEVES A FORINT”(SEVENTY YEARS FORINT) along the rim to the left of the design. The date of “1946” is written at the bottom. The rest of the design is dominated by images of Forint coins, as issued in 1946. The signature of Dr Imre Oltványi, who was the governor of the Hungarian National Bank in 1946, appears on the reverse. At the middle of the design, slightly off-centre to the right, appears the national Coat of Arms of Hungary, also known as the Kossuth Coat of Arms.
Both coins are traditional crown sized coins at 38.61 mm(1.52 inch). The silver proof HUF10 000 coin is struck from 1oz of sterling(.925 Fineness) silver and has a total weight of 31.46 grams. A limited mintage of 5000 coins will be stuck for this coin.
The cupronickel HUF2000 coin bears the same mintage figure of five thousand coins but is considerably more affordable at only €9.50 which includes a blue clamshell display case. The Silver Proof coin will be available for €25.00 upon release in comparison. Although from a numismatist' point of view the silver coin offers far greater value than the base metal coin does.