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Pretty Girls on Banknotes - Hungary


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Detail of the Magyar princess.




This 10 Pengo from 1936 started a series that culminated with the 20 Pengo of 1941 shown above. This note has a lovely young girl on the front, a vignette of the Virgin Mary, and St. Stephen on the reverse of the note.

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The year 1848 was momentus and memorable in European history, it's lasting effects would be felt decades afterwards. The social upheaval was brought about by revolutionaries seeking much needed reform in the area of human rights etc. in many countries of Central Europe. The initial activity began in Sicily, but spread to France, resulting in the toppling of the French King. Subsequently revolutionary activities spread into the Austro-Hungarian Empire, especially Hungary, where it fanned the flames of an movement for greater autonomy at first, but then for independence of the Hungarian State. Lajos Kossuth was appointed Regent-President of the Hungarian movement in 1848. After the suppression of the rebellion in 1849 he travelled to Great Britain and the United States seeking funds in support of the cause of Hungarian independence. He was well received in the United States, and had paper money printed, which was in affect a donation receipt. This One Forint bill was printed by Toppan Carpenter of Philadelphia and sold to enthusiastic American supporters for the sum of one dollar each. Notice the symbolic representation of Hungary slaying the Habsburg monarch.






Many of the feminine vignettes were created for the use of these notes, but others, such as the top image, were also used on 1850's era American notes. Curiously because these notes were printed in large numbers at the time, and often saved as souvenirs, they are very affordable means of collecting fine 19th century art.

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