Forint, the Hungarian currency

The Forint is the Hungarian currency. It is subdivided into 100 fillers. Its name comes from the city of Florence and it will be soon replaced by the euro.

The forint is the Hungarian currency. It is divided into 100 filler, even if those coins are no longer in use. The introduction of the forint dates back to 1946 and it represented a crucial step for the stabilization of the Hungarian economy after World War II. The currency remained relatively stable until 1980.

The origins

The word forint comes from the city of Florence, where golden coins were minted from 1252 and were called indeed fiorino d’oro. In Hungary, the gold-based currency Florentinus was used from 1325 under the reign of Charles Robert; after that, several other countries followed this example. Later on, between 1868 and 1892, the forint became the currency of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, known in the German language as Gulden or Florin.

The forint was reintroduced on August 1st 1946, after that pengő (the previous currency) became almost worthless by a massive hyperinflation that occurred in 1945–46.

The original coins

In 1946 coins were introduced in denominations of 2, 10 and 20 fillers. The silver 5 forint coin was issued only in the following year before it was withdrawn from circulation.

In 1948 coins were introduced in denominations of 5 and 50 filler, while in 1967 was reintroduced the 5 forint coin, followed by a 10 forint coin in 1971 and by a 20 forint coin in 1982.

In 1946 notes in denominations of 10 and 100s were introduced by the Magyar Nemzeti Bank, that is to say the Hungarian National Bank. A new series of higher quality banknotes in the denomination of 10, 20 and 100 forint was introduced in 1947-1948. Moreover, 50, 500, 1000 and 5000 forint notes were introduced in the following years.

The new series of coins

The forint was subdivided into 100 filler, which are similar to cents. Due to a new inflation that occurred during the 90s, they have no longer been in circulation. The forint was devaluated due to the transition to market economy. In 2000 this negative devaluation stopped and the forint was declared officially convertible.
In 1992 a new series of coins was introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 forint. The 200 forint coin was partly made of silver; however, it was withdrawn in 1998 because its nominal value was getting too low compared to the value of its precious metal content.

It was only in 2009 that a new 200 forint coin made of different metal was introduced.

The new series of banknotes

A redesigned series of 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000 and 20,000 forint was gradually introduced between 1997 and 2001. Each banknote was watermarked, containing an embedded vertical security strip which makes it suitable also for blind people.

Each banknote depicts a famous Hungarian prince, leader or politician on one side, and a place or an event related to that person on the opposite site. Such as:

The possible adoption of the Euro

As a member of the European union, the long term goal of the Hungarian government could be the replacement of forint with euro. However, it looks like that the adoption won’t happen before 2020.