Hungary 5 Pengo - 1938-1939


Quick Coinage Facts

Years Minted: 1938 to 1939
Silver Content: 0.640 silver, 0.5145 ounces
Diameter: 36 mm
Weight: 25 grams
Obverse Design: Admiral Miklos Horthy
Reverse Design: Hungarian coat of Arms
Unique Features: Smooth Ornamental Edge


The Hungarian 5 Pengo is a beautiful example of 20th Century European silver coinage that anyone would be pleased to have in a type set.

Besides being Hungary's last large silver circulating coin during the Regency Coinage era, what truly makes this coin attractive is the interesting history associated with the coin.

On the obverse we have a portrait of Admiral Miklos Horthy, the Regent and leader of Hungary from 1920 to 1944. The first interesting piece here is that after WWI the Austro-Hungarian Empire (Horthy served as an Admiral in the Austro-Hungarian fleet) was broken up and Hungary became a landlocked nation. Additionally, after the formation of Hungary and the supression of a communist uprising, Hungary re-established the Hungarian Kingdom and elected not to recall Charles IV as King. Instead, government officials elected Admiral Horthy as Regent. After these events Horthy was commonly referred to as:

"An Admiral without a navy in charge of a kingdom without a King”

The second note of historical interest is the more obvious one as this is a WWII era coin. Hungary’s role in WWII was as an ally to Germany. Yet, given their proximity between Germany and Russia, and the popularity of communism and fascism during these times makes for a fascinating story defining Hungary’s ability to maintain independence and survival during these tumultuous times.

General Market Notes

Anyone not familiar with Hungarian coins would look at the mintages and believe that these are rare coins with astronomical prices. To the contrary of the low mintages, examples in AU can be had for around $15 and BU examples for around $25. Even the 1938 issue with a mintage of only 50 examples commands a price of $950 in BU. Fortunately for collectors, interest and demand for Hungarian coins has traditionally been non-existent and this small demand has kept prices very reasonable. Though prices are reasonable, you may still have to hunt for some time before a decent specimen pops up for purchase.


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