Hungarian forint

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Hungarian forint
Magyar forint (Hungarian)
5000 HUF 2017 ob.jpg Forints.jpg
5000 Hungarian forint banknote Forint banknotes and coins
ISO 4217
Code HUF
Number 384
Exponent 2
 1/100 fillér
Plural The language(s) of this currency does not have a morphological plural distinction.
Symbol Ft
Banknotes 500 Ft, 1000 Ft, 2000 Ft, 5000 Ft, 10,000 Ft, 20,000 Ft
Coins 5 Ft, 10 Ft, 20 Ft, 50 Ft, 100 Ft, 200 Ft
Date of introduction 1 August 1946
User(s) Hungary Hungary
Central bank Hungarian National Bank
Printer Pénzjegynyomda Zrt. Budapest
Mint Hungarian Mint Ltd.
Inflation 2.8% (2018)
 Source Trading Economics

The forint (sign: Ft; code: HUF) is the currency of Hungary. It was formerly divided into 100 fillér, but fillér coins are no longer in circulation. The introduction of the forint on 1 August 1946 was a crucial step in the post-World War II stabilisation of the Hungarian economy, and the currency remained relatively stable until the 1980s. Transition to a market economy in the early 1990s adversely affected the value of the forint; inflation peaked at 35% in 1991. Since 2001, inflation is in single digits, and the forint has been declared fully convertible.[1] As a member of the European Union, the long-term aim of the Hungarian government may be to replace the forint with the euro, but that does not appear to be likely until some time during the 2020s.[2][3][4]

2 Hungarian forint (1989).
Obverse: Coat of arms of Hungary and "Magyar Népköztársaság" (Hungarian People's Republic). Reverse: Face value, year and currency.


Forint from Louis I of Hungary (1342–1382). Reverse: LODOVICVS DEI GRACIA REX. Obverse: S[anctus] IOHANNES B[aptista].
Forint from Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1458–1490). Obverse: S[anctus] LADISLAVS REX. Reverse: MATHIAS D[ei] G[ratia] R[ex] VNGARIE.

The forint's name comes from the city of Florence, where gold coins were minted from 1252 called fiorino d'oro. In Hungary, florentinus (later forint), also a gold-based currency, was used from 1325 under Charles Robert and several other countries followed its example.[citation needed]

Between 1868 and 1892 the forint was the name used in Hungarian for the currency of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, known in German as the gulden or florin. It was subdivided into 100 krajczár (krajcár in modern Hungarian orthography).[5]

The forint was reintroduced on 1 August 1946, after the pengő was rendered almost worthless by massive hyperinflation in 1945–46: the highest ever recorded. The process was managed by the Hungarian Communist Party, which held the relevant cabinet seats. The forint's success was exploited for political gains, contributing to the Communists' takeover of complete power in 1948–49. The forint replaced the pengő at the rate of 1 forint = 4×1029 pengő—dropping 29 zeroes from the old currency. In fact, this was an imaginary exchange rate. With the highest value note being 100 million B. pengő (1020 pengő), the total amount of pengő in circulation had a value of less than 0.1 fillér. (The "B" stood for an old-style "billion", i.e. a million million.) Of more significance was the exchange rate to the adópengő of 1 forint = 200 million adópengő.[citation needed]

Historically the forint was subdivided into 100 fillér (comparable to a penny), although fillér coins have been rendered useless by inflation and have not been in circulation since 1999. (Since 2000, one forint has typically been worth about half a US cent or slightly less.) The Hungarian abbreviation for forint is Ft, which is written after the number with a space between. The name fillér, the subdivision of all Hungarian currencies since 1925, comes from the German word Heller. The abbreviation for the fillér was f, also written after the number with a space in between.[citation needed]

In 1946, a USD was worth 11.7 forints.

After its 1946 introduction, the forint remained stable for the following two decades, but started to lose its purchasing power as the state-socialist economic system (Planned economy) lost its competitiveness during the 1970s and 1980s. After the democratic change of 1989–90, the forint saw yearly inflation figures of about 35% for three years, but significant market economy reforms helped stabilize it.


In 1946, coins were introduced in denominations of 2, 10, 20 fillérs and 1, 2, 5 forints. The silver 5 forint coin was reissued only in the next year; later it was withdrawn from circulation. 5 and 50 fillérs coins were issued in 1948. In 1967, a 5 forint coin was reintroduced, followed by a 10 forint in 1971 and 20 forint in 1982.

In 1992, a new series of coins was introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and (a somewhat different, 500 silver) 200 forint. Production of the 2 and 5 fillér coins ceased in 1992, with all fillér coins withdrawn from circulation by 1999. From 1996, a bicolor 100 forint coin was minted to replace the 1992 version, since the latter was considered too big and ugly, and could easily be mistaken for the 20 forint coin.

Silver 200 forint coins were withdrawn in 1998 (as their nominal value was too low compared to their precious metal content); the 1 and 2 forint coins remained in circulation until 29 February 2008.[6] For cash purchases, the total price is now rounded to the nearest 5 forint (to 0 or to 5).[7] A new 200 forint coin[8] made of base metal alloy was introduced in place of the 200 forint bank note on 15 June 2009.


In 1946, 10 and 100 forint notes were introduced by the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Hungarian National Bank). A new series of higher quality banknotes (in denominations of 10-, 20 and 100 forint) were introduced in 1947 and 1948. 50 forint notes were added in 1953, 500 forint notes were introduced in 1970, followed by 1000 forint in 1983, and 5000 forint in 1991.

A completely redesigned new series of banknotes in denominations of 200-, 500-, 1000-, 2000-, 5000-, 10,000 and 20,000 forint was introduced gradually between 1997 and 2001. Each banknote depicts a famous Hungarian leader or politician on the obverse and a place or event related to him on the reverse. All of the banknotes are watermarked, contain an embedded vertical security strip and are suitable for visually impaired people. The 1000 forint and higher denominations are protected by an interwoven holographic security strip. The notes share the common size of 154 × 70 mm. The banknotes are printed by the Hungarian Banknote Printing Corp. in Budapest on paper manufactured by the Diósgyőr Papermill in Miskolc.

Commemorative banknotes have also been issued recently: 1000 and 2000 forint notes to commemorate the millennium (in 2000) and a 500 forint note to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1956 revolution (in 2006).

Forgery of forint banknotes is not significant. However, forged 20,000 forint notes printed on the paper of 2000 forint notes after dissolving the original ink might come up and are not easy to recognize. Another denomination preferred by counterfeiters was the 1000 forint note until improved security features were added in 2006.

Banknotes that were previously in circulation are withdrawn and recycled as materials for briquettes.

List of current banknotes

All banknotes are 154 × 70 mm in size.

Current series
Value Image Main Colour Description First Series Latest Series
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
500 Ft 500 forint elolap.png 500 forint hatlap.png Pink prince sovereign Francis II Rákóczi Castle of Sárospatak Series 2018 Series 2018
1000 Ft HUF 1000 2018 obverse.png HUF 1000 2018 reverse.png Blue King Matthias Corvinus the Hercules Fountain from the Castle of Visegrád Series 2017 Series 2017
2000 Ft 2000 HUF 2017 ob.jpg 2000 HUF 2017 rev.jpg Brown prince sovereign Gabriel Bethlen Viktor Madarász painting "Gábor Bethlen among his scientists" Series 2016 Series 2016
5000 Ft 5000 HUF 2017 ob.jpg 5000 HUF 2017 rev.jpg Yellow count István Széchenyi the Széchenyi Mansion in Nagycenk Series 2016 Series 2016
10,000 Ft 10000 HUF 2014 ob.jpg 10000 HUF 2014 rev.jpg Purple and orange King Stephen I view of Esztergom Series 2014 Series 2014
20,000 Ft 20000 HUF 2015 ob.png 20000 HUF 2015 rev.png Green and orange Ferenc Deák the old House of Representatives in Pest Series 2015 Series 2015

Current exchange rates

Current HUF exchange rates

Historic rates

See also


  1. ^ BBC News Hungary lifts last currency restrictions. 18 June 2001
  2. ^ "Hungary's New Notes Speak of Late Conversion to Euro". The Wall Street Journal. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Hungary mulls euro adoption by 2020". BR-epaper. 19 July 2016.
  5. ^ "A stable currency in search of a stable Empire? The Austro-Hungarian experience of monetary union". History & Policy. 19 April 2017.
  6. ^ [1] 1 and 2 forint coins were withdrawn from use from 1 March 2008.
  7. ^ [2] The sum of total purchases is rounded
  8. ^ [3] The new 200 forint coin

Further reading

  • Gyula Rádóczy; Géza Tasnádi (1992). Magyar papírpénzek 1848–1992 (Hungarian paper money 1848–1992). Danubius Kódex Kiadói Kft. ISBN 963-7434-11-9.
  • Károly Leányfalusi; Ádám Nagy (1998). Magyarország fém- és papírpénzei 1926–1998 (Coins and paper money of Hungary 1926–1998). Magyar Éremgyűjtők Egyesülete, Budapest. ISBN 963-03-6023-3.
  • Károly Léányfalusi; Ádám Nagy (2006). Magyarország fém- és papírpénzei 1946–2006 (Coins and paper money of Hungary 1964–2006). Magyar Éremgyűjtők Egyesülete, Budapest. ISBN 978-963-7122-16-3.
  • Mihály Kupa id. dr. (1993). Corpus notarum pecuniariarum Hungariae I-II. (Magyar Egyetemes Pénzjegytár) (General Hungarian Banknote Catalog). Informatika Történeti Múzeum Alapítvány, Budapest. ISBN 963-04-3658-2.

External links

  • Official Daily Exchange Rates Archive, Hungarian National Bank
  • (in Hungarian) (in English) (Hungarian banknote catalog)
  • (in Hungarian) (in English) (Roman and Hungarian related numismatic site)
  • (in Hungarian) (pictures of Hungarian banknotes)
  • (in Hungarian) (in English) (in German) (in French) (homepage of the Hungarian Coin Collectors' Society)
  • Hungarian banknotes (high resolution pictures, also including old forint banknotes)
  • Comprehensive catalog of Hungarian coins
  • Hungarian National Bank – "Information on forint banknotes and their security features, and forint coins"
Preceded by:
Hungarian pengő
Reason: inflation
Ratio: 1 forint = 4×1029 pengő
Currency of Hungary
1 August 1946 –
Concurrent with: adópengő until 30 September 1946
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Hungarian adópengő
Reason: inflation
Ratio: 1 forint = 2×108 adópengő
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