gold Hungarian 20 Korona
Actual Gold Content: .1960 troy ounce
The Hungarian 20 Korona gold coin is popular for its history, beauty and the old-world aura it projects. First minted in 1892 to commemorate the Hapsburg Franz Joseph's 1867 crowning as emperor of Austria-Hungary, the coin depicts the emperor on the obverse and angels attending the Hungarian coat of arms on the reverse.
Franz Joseph became emperor of Austria, which controlled Hungary along with much of central Europe, in 1848 at the age of 18. It was during his reign that the old Hungarian Constitution was restored, and Franz Joseph was accordingly also crowned King of Hungary in 1867, creating the dual Monarchy of Austria�Hungary. The two realms were governed separately with two parliaments and two administrations, but a common monarch, military, and foreign office. Economically, the empire was a customs union.
In the wake of defeat in World War One, the union with Austria was dissolved. Hungary became a republic, then the Hungarian Soviet Republic, and finally a kingdom again. Though a curious one - no monarch ever took the throne, the nation being ruled instead by Miklos Horthy, who became regent in 1920. He would remain in power until World War Two, which would leave Hungary economically devastated.
Hungary's tragic inflationary nightmare (1946) that followed the war is generally considered by scholars to be the most virulent episode of hyperinflation in history -- one that dwarfs in scale the better-known German experience of the 1920s. In fact, the Hungarian hyperinflation holds the record for the largest denomination bank note ever issued by a central bank -- 100 quintillion pengo. In addition, history's largest monthly inflation rate was posted by Hungary in that period at 41.9 quadrillion per cent -- prices were doubling every thirteen and a half hours.
The cause of the inflation was the same as the cause of every other inflationary debacle in history, i.e. the government's uncontrolled and mismanaged issuance of paper currency. Some historians believe that the Hungarian hyperinflation was instigated by Marxists who were determined to destroy Hungary's middle and upper classes. Whatever the causes, if you happened to have been a Hungarian citizen and had the wisdom to own the nation's most famous gold coin, the 20 Korona (pictured above), you would have survived the debacle and, in fact, probably prospered, even though the central bank would not have honored an official exchange of pengos for gold.