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Hungarian Hyperinflation
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Historical Background
Inflation, page 1        Inflation, page 2
Adópengö, page 1        Adópengö, page 2

For the "Russification" of Hungary, the Russian Army sent specially trained, fanatic Marxists, who were particularly educated in the destruction of national economies, as well as pacification of anyone they considered or identified as enemies of the Soviet system.  Their first goal was to ruin the middle and upper classes, and they achieved by constant impression of banknotes, so that money lost its value.  Little by little the population had to sell all their possessions in order to have enough money to pay for the absolute basics for survival.  Eventually the income tax payment certificates "Adópengö" came into use in order to avoid too many zero's.  This unhappy practice influenced also the postage rates that raised not less than 27 times during the period 1st May 1945 - 24th July 1946.

Change No. Date Duration Change No. Date Duration
1 01 May 1945 62 days 15 10 May 1946 10 days
2 02 July 1945 76 days 16 20 May 1946 7 days
3 19 September 1945 46 days 17 27 May 1946 5 days
4 01 November 1945 15 days 18 01 June 1946 10 days
5 16 November 1945 59 days 19 11 June 1946 6 days
6 14 January 1946 18 days 20 17 June 1946 7 days
7 01 February 1946 28 days 21 24 June 1946 7 days
8 01 March 1946 15 days 22 01 July 1946 3 days
9 16 March 1946 10 days 23 04 July 1946 4 days
10 26 March 1946 6 days 24 08 July 1946 4 days
11 01 April 1946 10 days 25 12 July 1946 6 days
12 11 April 1946 12 days 26 18 July 1946 6 days
13 23 April 1946 8 days 27 24 July 1946 8 days
14 01 May 1946 9 days      

The first postwar stamp issue was the "FELSZABADULAS" (liberation) overprint on May 1, on blue and yellow toned paper.  Below are two singles and two blocks of 4 showing the overprint and surface-tints.   The single stamps are shown largely oversized for a better view.  Scans of the single stamps by courtesy of Jay Carrigan (USA).

  • Hungary 1st May 1945.  Liberation issue with overprint "FELSZABADULAS".  Scott # 636.
  • Hungary 1st May 1945.  idem.  Scott # 647. 

Note that the selvedge on the blocks is still white.  

  • Hungary 1st June 1945.  10 pengö on 80 filler.  Scott # 655.
  • Hungary 1st June 1945.  7 pengö on 1 pengö.  Scott # 694.

In November 1945 Hungary started a "reconstruction" series of which the first face value was 20 pengö.  The series was finished on 5th February 1946 with a face value of 3,000 pengö, the domestic first rate up to 20 gr., and was the highest value until 12th February 1946.  During period 7 (see table above) the postage for foreign, ordinary letters was 15,000 pengö, shown on the below letter to Sweden, sent on 11th February 1946 -- the day before a single 15,000 pengö stamp was issued.

  • Hungary 1946.  Letter to Sweden franked with Scott # 722.
  • Hungary 1946.  Single stamp with face value of 15 ezer p.  "ezer" means "thousand". Scott # 724.

Until March 1, 1946 ordinary citizens were allowed to send parcels only up to 10 kg, but by privilege employees of the Hungarian postal administration could apply for a special grant to send parcels up to 20 kg.  Such grants were given by a special cancellation on the reverse side of the address card, but may also occasionally be found on the front side of the card, in such cases marked with blue chalk "Kedv." = "kedvezményés", meaning "special grant".  There was a lot of money to save on a special grant, particularly during the summer 1946.  The grant was only valid for the postage; the fee for the address card was to be paid normally.  Below is a "privilege address card" for a parcel sent 5th November 1945. 

  • Hungary 1945.  Address Card, front and reverse side.  The word "Kedvezményés" is handwritten at the top of the front side of the card (left image.  The postage for the parcel was 2 pengö, while a normal non-privilege parcel would have cost 200 or 300 pengö, according to the travelling-distance.  

Jay Carrigan informs about this card:  The tax fee for the parcel card was 1 Pengö (10 filler printed on the card plus 3x30 filler general revenues), not 30 filler."  But in thinking about this it's actually more complicated.  Notice the "Ára 11 fillér" in the lower right corner.  Originally the price of the card was 11 fillér, which breaks down to a 10 fillér tax (paid to the Treasury) and 1 fillér for the card itself (this part of the fee kept by the post office).  So on your card, the 1P (10f+3x30f) is just the tax portion.  This doesn't work for the Period 4 rates, but it does for Period 3 (Sept. 16 - Oct. 31, 1945, PLUS A 15 DAY GRACE PERIOD!).  The period 3 rate the parcel card cost 1.50P, so evidently the rate was 1P for the tax and 50f for the card itself. 

Historical Background
Inflation, page 1        Inflation, page 2
Adópengö, page 1        Adópengö, page 2


Revised 02 nov 2006 
Copyright © by Ann Mette Heindorff
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