Welcome to the Hungarian Philatelic Society of
Great Britain's website
On this site you will find information about the
society, information about the stamps and postage rates, a gallery of selected
stamps and much, much more.
Firstly though, a little background
Hungary is now a land-locked
European country situated in the Danube basin, and possesses a very chequered
history - from its establishment by invading hordes from the east, to a
powerful nation - from to its occupation by the Ottoman Empire, to its
annexation by Austria - from its short-lived independence between the Wars, to
an Iron Curtain country - and finally to democracy, pressing to become a
member of the European Union.
Along with this history comes
an incredible variety of stamp and postal history collecting themes, made that
little bit more challenging by the tricky language that has more in common with
Japanese than with other European languages.
The use of Hungarian
stamps began in 1850 following the suppression of the War of Independence of
1848/49. As this was a province of the Austrian Empire, the stamps used were
those used in Austria. However the first proper Hungarian stamp was designed
during this war and now takes pride of place in the Stamp Museum in Budapest.
This is a tint drawing designed by Mor Than. It was intended to be put on
general release but when the war was lost, this did not happen.
Austrian postage stamps were used in Hungary until 1867, either carrying the
eagle blazon or the portrait of the Monarch, Franz Joseph. There were five issues in all, and these stamps can be included in
Hungarian collections as long as they show a clear Hungarian postmark.
the Hungarian Postal Service became independent on 1 May 1867, it was not
allowed to produce purely Hungarian stamps, and so new stamps had to be printed
in Austria, and these were used both in Hungary and Austria between 1867 and
to print and issue Hungary's own stamps had already begun in 1868, but the first
Hungarian postal stationery items (postcards and postal money orders) to be
valid only in Hungary were issued in 1871. After several attempts, the first stamps were issued on 1 May 1871. These were printed by lithography and replaced the 1867 stamps gradually. However with the arrival of the copperplate machine it became possible to
engrave these stamps, which were more attractive.
the end of 1874, with the permission of the King, stamps showing his portrait were changed to an issue of new design
showing an envelope and the inscription 'MAGYAR KIR.POSTA'
(HUNGARIAN ROYAL POST) This
issue is called 'Krajcz? Issue with Coloured Numerals', and were used together
with the 1871 issue for a while.
1881 postage stamps were printed on watermarked paper. In 1888, the letter post, stage-coach, and telegraph posts (for which
special telegraph stamps had been issued) were united, necessitating the
production of stamps with a much larger variation in face values. These are the 'Krajcz? Issue with Black Numerals',
printed by typography.
1900, owing to change in the monetary system, the 'Forint-Krajcz?' stamps were
followed by the 'Korona-Fill?' issue. The
Fill? face values depict the mythical bird 'Turul', while the high values show
Franz Joseph's portrait again. Its
various watermarks and perforations add a richness to any collection, and the
series lasted until the end of World War I.
1918 definitive stamps were
issued for postal use, and special stamps for collectors, including Air Mail issues.
and newspaper tax stamps had been issued from the start for the transmission of
newspapers only, but Postage Due stamps were introduced in 1903.
inflation that occurred after the two World Wars (First Inflation 1919-1926 and
Second Inflation 1945-46) is reflected in the increasing face value of the
stamps. Particularly interesting
items of postal history were produced in the immediate years after World War II
with these stamps.
issued between 1946 and 1980 are not only interesting because they reflect
Hungary's post war history, but also because they are beautiful for their choice
of themes. Since 1980 the Hungarian
Postal Authorities have curtailed their annual output and now produce some of
the best designed and printed stamps in the world.
stamps before 1946 are usually printer's waste and were never issued as such.
From 1946 to 1991 the Post Office issued a small quantity of all issues
in imperforate form. These were
sold only to members of the National Stamp Club at five times the face value. They are widely collected and some are in short supply.
They were all valid for postage, and still are.
the period following the First and Second World Wars several local or
'occupation' stamps were issued in the occupied areas of Hungary with overprints
on Hungarian stamps.
growing collecting area is for Revenue Stamps, both National and Municipal.
reader can see from this short history that there is a wealth of subjects to
choose to collect, and many of our members have chosen to concentrate on a
specific subject, such as the first Turul issue or Second Inflation covers.
the Society will enable you to find out much more about your chosen topic.