The Numizon catalog for Hungarian banknotes is currently being compiled for the period from 1846 to 1926. Today's article is partly related to this news and so it is a little by chance that we we are interested in one of these banknotes, the 5,000 korona Type 1923 (1). Dated July 1st, 1923, the note was issued between March 18, 1924 and June 30, 1927. Its dimensions are 140 x 83 mm. The denomination bears the signature of Tibor Kállay, Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of Hungary between 1921 and 1924. The note is classified as very common in World Paper Money (WPM) with a rating in UNC grade not exceeding € 5! Our first questions began to emerge when we looked for visuals to illustrate the catalog card for this banknote. Not only, our search proved to be very difficult and the few notes found were not suitable in quality. Why was such a cheap banknote so hard to find? So we decided to see more clearly ...

Historical context

Towards the end of the 19th century, the forint was the official currency of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy (1867-1918). In 1878, the Austro-Hungarian Bank was founded. From 1880, it put into circulation its first banknotes with one side printed in Hungarian and the other side printed in German. The financial institute then becomes the sole regulator of the cash flows of the “Danubian monarchy”. But this monopoly came to an abrupt end after the First World War and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1921, the Royal Hungarian State Institute was then created and was responsible for preparing banknotes for the new Kingdom of Hungary.

Between 1920 and 1926, State notes were issued by the Ministry of Finance. First, small notes of low value (from 50 Fillér to 20 korona) were printed in 1920 in Budapest by different printers. Then a series of larger format banknotes (from 50 korona to 25,000 korona) designed by the artist Ferenc Helbing (2), were printed in 1920 and 1922 by the Swiss printer Orell Füslli in Zurich. A second series of banknotes (from 100 korona to 1,000,000 korona) but this time in a smaller format, were printed in 1923 by Orell Füslli and by the new Hungarian printing institute, Magyar Pénzjegynyomda Rt. located in Budapest.

The 3 Types of 5,000 Korona

There are three versions of the banknote:

1) the 5,000 korona Type 1920 (Ref. Pick: # 67). This bill with imposing dimensions of 205 x 135 mm, is numbered in red at the top of the front with a serial letter higher than the numbers. Banknote printed by Orell Füslli in Zürich.


2) the 5,000 korona Type 1923 (Ref. Pick: # 76). This smaller version of the Type 1920 (140 x 83 mm) features a serial letter of the same height as the numbers. Printed by Magyar Pénzjegynyomda Rt. in Budapest.


3) the 40 Fillér on 5,000 korona Type 1925 (Ref. Pick: # 82). This note differs from the previous type only by two surcharges in green affixed to the front: "40 FILLÉR" and "NEGYVEN FILLÉR". Banknote printed by Magyar Pénzjegynyomda Rt. In Budapest.


For your information, all these notes have initials printed at the bottom of the front in the margin: "T.W", "TW", "TW.","W"or "T.WILLI". These initials would be those of Traugott Willi (unconfirmed spelling), the name of the inventor of a photo guilloche technique used for state notes. Note that the bills are also printed with or without the mention of the name of the printer in the margin (variants).


Inventory of 5,000 korona Type 1923

To obtain answers on the possible rarity or not of the 5,000 korona Type 1923, we therefore carried out an initial inventory, the results of which we are publishing in the summary table below:

Pick: #€ 4005B01087854UNC
Pick: # 76awikiwand.com5B01667551
Pick: # 76aDarabanth€ 585B02380556VF-
Pick: # 76aBank Note Museum5B02541796VG
Pick: #€ 635B02794085VF
Pick: #€ 35B02837501G
Pick: # 76akoleksiyonmarket€ 115B03197167G
Pick: # 76aatsnotes.com5B04241931F
Pick: #€ 65B04612620Poor
Pick: # 76aebay5B05252014VG
Pick: #€ 1835B05341475XF+
Pick: #€ 255B05878696G
Pick: #€ 445B06379978F
Pick: # 76aColnect.com5B06587635
Pick: #€ 985B06897615XF
Pick: #€ 1305B06947081XF
Pick: # 76abanknoteworld.org5B07377907
Pick: # 76aNumis Numismatics€ 565B07397388F
Pick: # 76anavonanumis.blogspot5B07605046
Pick: # 76aebay€ 3005B08686356XF
Pick: # 76abankjegy.org5B08758467
Pick: # 76aChristoph Gärtner€ 405B09306746VF-
Pick: #$ 3005B09349378UNC
Pick: # 76aNudelman Numismatica5B09505586XF
Pick: # 76aeremshop.hu5B09925640XF
Pick: # 76aebay5B10541780Poor
P-76aLyn Knight Auctions€ 145B11416936
Pick: # 76aWorthPoint5B11629229XF
Pick: # 76aLyn Knight Auctions€ 705B11742441VF
Pick: # 76aebay$ 1,1995B11958955PMG 64 EPQ
Pick: # 76bNumis Numismatics€ 475B13425196F
Pick: #€ 305B13822921G
Pick: #€ 225B15511395F
Pick: #€ 205B16008729G
Pick: # 76bebay€ 235B16080459G
Pick: #€ 4005B17241388UNC
Pick: # 76bColnect.com5B17642348
Pick: # 76bNudelman Numismatica5B17642355UNC
Pick: # 76bLyn Knight Auctions5B18313458VF-
Pick: # 76bWorld Paper Money5B18919138

Editor's note: we did not have access to all the sales results and the statements are those indicated by the sources.

Our analysis

For a first score, we collected 41 copies that we can break down as follows:

ReferenceInventorySmallest numberLargest number
Pick: # 76a30 copies5B01 - 0878545B11 - 958955
Pick: # 76b10 copies5B13 - 4251965B18 - 919138
Pick: # 76as1 copy5B00 - 000000

Pick: # 76a = variant with mention of the printer in the margin. Pick: # 76b = variant without mention of the printer in the margin. Pick: # 76as = specimen perforated "MINTA" horizontally (3).

By observing the score results, we can see that the 5B12 series is still missing. It also seems that this makes the link between the two variants (Pick: # 76a) and (Pick: # 76b) with and without the name of the printer in the lower margin on the front. Regarding the second variant (Pick: # 76b), the 5B14 series is also missing, but it must logically exist.

This first inventory reveals above all that the prices indicated by the WPM are not in line with the reality of the market. The lowest selling price observed is € 3 but for a note in G grade and numbered 5B02-837501. This is the only bill offered by the auction house since 1995! The highest selling price found is numbered 5B11-958955 currently for sale on ebay for ... $ 1199! Yes, you read that right. The copy is graded PMG 64 EPQ (ebay item: 333824028395). Three other, cheaper copies are currently available for sale and there is something for all budgets: the 5B08-686356 at $ 299.99, the 5B02-794085 at 22,500 forint (or around € 63) and the 5B05-252014 to € 99.99!

Finally, we would like to point out that we have not found any traces of sales at a few major international houses such as Heritage Auctions, Stack's Bowers, Sincona or Spink ... So, a real rare note or a regular banknote that doesn't interest anyone? If you have a copy, please send us the photo and indicate the quality! And we'll see over time if our assumptions are correct or not.


(1) Known references: Pick: # 76, Rádóczy: # 10, Adamo: # K39 and Leányfalusi-Nagy I. 58.

(2) Ferenc Helbing was born in 1870 in Érsekújvár, Kingdom of Hungary (today Nové Zámky, Slovakia). He started his career as a lithographer. After studying graphic design and applied arts, he became print director. He taught at the College of Applied Graphics (from 1906) then at the College of Applied Arts (from 1910), then directed the latter until 1936. He did pioneering work in the field of Hungarian commercial graphics. He has been the designer of many Hungarian banknotes and has also created posters, stamps, illustrations for books, glass paintings and murals. He has won numerous prizes in applied arts and graphic design competitions. Some of his works can be seen at the Hungarian National Gallery. He died in Budapest in 1958.

(3) Only one specimen is known in specimen. This one is classified in XF grade and was offered at Teutoburger Münzauktion GmbH in 2016, Auction # 104 (lot # 982).

Our sources

  • website.
  • "Hungary" Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1368-1960, 12th edition (page 688).

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