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Hungarian Stamps and
Their Background 1871-1940

Copyright 1948, Western Stamp Collector.
Reprinted with permission, 2002

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I have taken this information from a number of sources that I found available, including the catalogues of Scott's, Gibbons, Michel, Szekely, etc., a large number of stamp journals, and have also received invaluable information from Bela Bauer, Ben Reeves, John Grafel, Doris and William Stericker, and the Austro Hungarian Philatelic Society members. I wish to thank all of them for their invaluable aid, which has made this booklet a fund of information which I hope you will find a worthy addition to your philatelic library.


This booklet uses the Types and Catalogue Numbers from Scott's
Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, 1947 edition.

The Regular Postage Issues 1871-1940


No. 1-6

ISSUED: May 1, 1871
PROCESS: Lithographed
PERF: 9½
PAPER: Unwatermarked
DESIGNER: John (Janos) Unrein
PURPOSE: Regular postage
DESIGN: King Francis Joseph I
HISTORY: Francis Joseph I, born 1830, died 1916; was Emperor of Austria from 1848 to 1918; King of Hungary; brother of Maximilian.

#1 to #6 are known to exist imperforate.
The 25 kr. stamp of 1871 (both lithographed and engraved) was intended for the payment of money orders or for special delivery letters. When used for the payment of money orders the stamp shows the town cancellation with the word "PENZUTALVANY" or "GELDANWEISUNG" both of which mean "money order." Should the cancellation not show either of the above words, the stamp was used for special delivery. There are a few known covers showing the use of the stamp for registration.
Mr. John Grafel, president of the Austro Hungarian Philatelic society, explained the 10 types of this issue in the September, 1947 issue of the S.P.A. Journal as follows:

"There is no definite knowledge as to the method used in printing the 1871 issue of the lithographed stamps. The only information available is from older collectors, who recalled seeing a full sheet of the 3 kr. value of 100 stamps in the famous Hungarian collection formed by Lajos Richter. This sheet was sold to the Senf brothers in Leipzig and is our only basis for assuming that the stamps were printed in sheets of 100. This sheet never appeared again and may have been broken up or destroyed.
"The method used in making the stone from which the sheets of stamps were produced is in doubt, on account of not having enough lithographed stamps, let alone pairs, strips, or blocks, which are almost non existent. The first attempt to determine the method of printing was made around 1920 by Hugo Grieber, the great English philatelist, who died in 1923. He was able to assemble enough 5 kr. lithographed stamps to begin his work.
"Based on the process of lithography, during the transfer of the subject from the master engraving to the stone from which the 100 subject stamp sheets were produced, some minute flaws naturally occurred. These included breaks in lines, dots, spots, etc. A study of these flaws led to the possibility of the existence of the types. With the material on hand Hugo Grieber found that from the master engraving ten impressions were made and transferred to the stone and this was repeated nine times more to give the 100 subjects for the stone from which the stamps were produced.
"This gave the first impetus for further studies and, soon after the establishment of the ten types and the death of Hugo Grieber, the great Hungarian philatelist, Miklos Redey, took up these for further study. He also found ten types. However, he believed in the following process:
From the master engraving five impressions were made on transfer paper. This was repeated five times on to a stone until a block of 25 was created. The block of 25 was then transferred three more times, which gave the 100 subjects to the stone.
"From both of these studies the existence of the ten types of the 5 kr. lithographed stamps is an established fact. The writer of this article also was able to work out the ten types of the 10 kr. denomination. But it will be extremely hard to work out the types of any other denomination, because of the scarcity of these stamps.

Diagram Showing the Ten Types of the 5 Kr. Lithographed Stamps.

The Ten Types of the 5 Kr. Lithographed Stamps '

Type 1.
(a). In the circular pearl frame around the head the shading is missing in the pearl in line with the rear lower head ribbon.
(b). Above the forehead, between the inner circular line and the pearl frame, there are two colored dots
Type 2.
(a). There is a double colored line in the elbow of "K."
(b). There are two colored dots on the outer frame line at lower left.
(c). In white circular line above "r" there is a colored dot.
Type 3.
(a). The horizontal outer frame line at the bottom is broken at the left.
Type 4.
(a). There is a colored dot in the flag of the numeral 5.
(b). There is a triangular white spot in the bottom of the vertical bar of "K."
Type 5.
(a). A short line extends into the nose above the moustache.
(b). There is a colored line in the vertical bar of "r."
(c). The upper angular line of "K" is broken.
Type 6.
(a). The horizontal upper frame line is broken at the left.
(b). There is a white spot at the left of the figure 5.
Type 7.
(a). There is a colored line at the left in the outer white circle around the figure 5.
(b). There are two colored dots between the horizontal frame line and the outer circular line around the head.
Type 8.
(a). There is a small colored dot on the inner circular line around the head at the right of the moustache.
(b). There is a small colored dot outside of the stamp design at the right in line with the moustache.
Type 9.
(a). There is a colored dot at the upper left hand corner of the frame line.
(b). A line connects the Hungarian and Croatian coats of arms.
Type 10.
(a). In the upper right rosette one leaf at the right is smaller. Otherwise this type does not show any of the plate flaws described in the other nine types.


No. 7-12

ISSUED: August 31, 1871
PROCESS: Engraved
PERF: 9½
PAPER: Unwatermarked hand made paper
DESIGNER: Janos Unrein
ENGRAVER: Janos Unrein
PURPOSE: Regular postage
DESIGN: King Francis Joseph I

There are known reprints on all values, perforated 11½ and watermarked "kr" in circle.
The 2k is known in yellow, the 3k in blue green and 5k in carmine.


No. 13-17

ISSUED: October 1, 1874
PERF: 9½, 11½, 12½, 13½ and compound.
PAPER: Unwatermarked
DESIGNER: Janos L. L'Hiver
ENGRAVER: Ferenc Haske and Emanuel Jung
PURPOSE: Regular postage issue.
DESIGN: Crown of St. Stephen, surmounting an envelope and a post horn, enclosed in a wreath, with light corners

The 2, 3 and 5 are known in violet, blue green and a dull red. The 5 is known imperf.
Although the official date of issue is October 1, 1874, stamps were placed in general use on January 1, 1875, except the 20 Kr, which was first used on June 6, 1876 according to the Austro Hungarian Philatelic society.


No. 18-22

ISSUED: April 5, 1881
PROCESS: Engraved
PERF: 11½, 12½, 13, 13½ and compounds.
PAPER: Watermarked "kr" in circle extended over 4 stamps.
DESIGNER: Janos L. L'Hiver
ENGRAVER: Ferenc Haske and Emanuel Jung
PURPOSE: Regular postage issue.
DESIGN: Crown of St. Stephen surmounting an envelope and a post horn, enclosed in a wreath, with light corners.

Collectors in Hungary naturally specialize in their own stamps to a greater degree than do we over here. They watch for inverted watermarks, either vertical or horizontal, and make a very minute study of them. Do not think you have something too special if you find that the watermark is not in the natural position. They come all four ways. However, those not normal are scarcer. The 2 is known in rose lilac, also in slate, and the 3 is known in yellow green. There are known covers with postmarks as early as February, 1881, but the April date is the official date.


No. 22A-35

ISSUED: June 1, 1888
PROCESS: Typographed
PERF: 11½, 12 x 11½
PAPER: Watermarked kr in circle
DESIGNER: Janos L. L'Hiver
PURPOSE: Regular postage issue
DESIGN: Crown of St. Stephen surmounting an envelope and a post horn, enclosed in a wreath.

In 1888 Hungary changed the design adopted in 1874 by changing the colored numerals on the back of the envelope in the design to black. In addition, fine colored lines were used as a background over which the design was printed. All the stamps except the 1 kr were produced in three operations: (1) the colored background lines by the lithographic process, (2) the stamp design was typographed, (3) the numerals were typographed. Originally the 1 kr was produced in two operations; no background lines were used, the design was typographed and then the figure 1 was printed. Only 4,500,000 were produced by this method. Later the denomination (the numeral 1) was inserted in the plate and the stamp printed in one operation. About 160,000,000 were so produced. There is a difference in the two printings the intersecting lines portraying the flaps of the envelope are complete on the first printing; the numeral 1 is seldom placed in the center of the intersection of those lines. While on the second type the intersecting lines have been cleaned away to accommodate the insertion of the numeral "1."
The 3 forint value comes perf 111½ only.


No. 35A-46

ISSUED: October 1, 1898
PROCESS: Typographed
PERF: 11½, 12 x 11½
PAPER: Watermarked crown in circle over four stamps
DESIGNER: Janos L. L'Hiver
PURPOSE: Regular post, high values, no forint values, on paper with new watermark
DESIGN: Same as previous, with numerals in black.

On January 1, 1898 the Department of Commerce announced a competition for a design of a new Hungarian stamp. Specifications were that the design should have a typical Hungarian motif to show other nations the high standard of Hungarian art and culture.
Fifty six artists competed submitting 166 designs. Some of the designs won prizes but none were accepted for stamps. Later two designs were selected from artists whose work did not win any of the prizes.


No. 47-66

TYPE: A 4, A 5
ISSUED: January 1, 1900
PROCESS: Engraved
PERF: 11½, 12 x 11½
PAPER: Watermarked crown in circle over four stamps
DESIGNER: (A4) Johann Bohm
DESIGNER: (A5) Edmund (Odon) Tull
PURPOSE: New monetary values necessitated new stamps. 100 filler equals 1 korona
DESIGN: (A4) A turul soaring over the Hungarian crown. (The mythical bird of the Magyars).
(A5) Emperor Franz Joseph wearing the Hungarian crown.

The 1, 2, 3, 5, 20 and 1 kr are known to exist in horizontal pairs, imperf between; the 3-20 and 1 kr. are known to exist imperf all around.
If you are interested in the watermarks, the paper on which the 1900 issue was printed was obtained from a paper manufacturing plant located in the town of Nagyszlabos. The watermark, consisting of intersecting circles each containing a St. Stephen's crown, appears throughout the sheet. The circles are 441½ to 46 mm. in diameter. A star appears in every third space formed by the intersecting circles. This star is the trade mark of the paper manufacturer. Underneath, and in the next row of spaces of the intersecting circles, there appears the Roman numeral IV. This is the mark of the quality of the paper. The quality and trade watermarks appear in four places in each sheet of 100 stamps. The position of the watermark depends upon the method used to feed the paper into the press. Four different positions may exist. These positions can be determined from the position of the small cross on top of the crown and the numeral IV.


No. 67-83

TYPE: A 4, A 5
ISSUED: November 1, 1904
PROCESS: Typographed
PERF: 12 x 12½, 15
PAPER: Watermarked crown
DESIGNER: (A4) Johann Bohm
DESIGNER: (A5) Edmund Tull
PURPOSE: Regular Postage; change in watermark
DESIGN: Same as above.

Scott lists 2 types of watermarks # 134 two straight lines or ribbons hanging from the crown, # 135 three lines each ending in a semi circle suspended from the crown. The Hungarian catalogues show the second watermark was used in 1908, while a third watermark a very square crown rather than round at the top was used from 1909 through 1913.
The stamps perf 15 are those with #135 and the unreported watermark, while those with # 134 are perf 12 x 11½.
The 5 and 1k exist imperf and imperf between, and there is one known error in the set, the 50f in magenta instead of lake.


No. 84-103

TYPE: A4, A5
ISSUED: August 26, 1913
PROCESS: Typographed
PERF: 15
PAPER: Watermarked double cross.
DESIGNER: (A4) Johann Bohm
DESIGNER: (A5) Edmund Tull
PURPOSE: Regular postage, but change in water mark
DESIGN: Turul and Emperor wearing Hungarian Crown

Again we find the watermark running vertical or horizontal or vice versa in the stamps. There is one known error the 35 cliche is found in the plate of the 50f, making it a wrong color. Beware of stamp #97. In their zest to find stamps with the watermark sideways, some have been known to bleach the "salmon" No. 98 (which is comparatively common with sideway watermark) to make it be #97. One way to be sure you have a genuine No. 97 with watermark sideways is the cancellation this should be either in 1913 or the first two months in 1914. As is usual with European countries, in the cancellation the year is shown first, then the month, then the day of the month, and lastly the hour of the date of posting.


No. 104-105

TYPE: A 6, A 7
ISSUED: December 30, 1916
PROCESS: Engraved
PERF: 15
PAPER: Watermarked double cross
DESIGNER: Gyula Pethely
DESIGNS: King Karl (Charles I) Queen Zita
PURPOSE: In commemoration of the Coronation of Charles I as King of Hungary and Emperor of Austria.
HISTORY: Charles I, born 1887, was the son of Archduke Otto and Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony; grandson of Francis Joseph I. Married Princess Zita of Bourbon Parma on October 11, 1911. Succeeded to the throne of his grandfather on November 21, 1916. Renounced participation in Austrian affairs on November 11, 1918, and in Hungarian affairs on November 13, 1918. Moved to Switzerland in 1919. Made a futile attempt to regain the Kingdom of Hungary in 1921 and died in 1922.

Both are known to exist imperf.
Both were printed on the same sheet hence 104 and 105 exist setenant. There were two special post marks used the day of the coronation one pictures two angels holding up the Hungarian crown, the other the crown and ornaments; but either is a splendid addition to any collection.


No. 106-107

ISSUED: November 1, 1915
PROCESS: Typographed
PERF: 15
PAPER: Watermarked double cross
DESIGNER: Edmund Tull
PURPOSE: New designs of regular postage since a new design was about to be issued, and the 10 and 15 values were needed they were issued before the balance of the set.
DESIGN: Harvesting wheat, symbolical of the fertile plains of Hungary and their farm industry. White numerals.


No. 108-118

ISSUED: November 1, 1916 through the 40.
PROCESS: Typographed
PERF: 15
Same as above, except stamps have colored numerals.

Forty is known in a dark green.
Five and 15 are known on thick paper.


No. 119-126

TYPE: A 10
ISSUED: January 18, 1917 and into 1918.
PROCESS: Typographed
PERF: 14½ x 14
PAPER: Watermarked double cross
DESIGNER: Vilmos Brandmayer
PURPOSE: Regular postage, high values
DESIGN: Parliament building at Budapest, on the Pest side of the river. Work on the building stretched over a period of 19 years and was finished soon after the beginning of the 19th century.

Dark background behind white figures of value in lower left and right corners. The entire set is known to exist imperf. The 1k is known on a thick paper.


No. 127-132

TYPE: A 11, A 12
ISSUED: Aug. 30, 1918
PROCESS: Typographed
PERF: 15
PAPER: Watermarked double cross
DESIGNER: Emery Foldes
PURPOSE: Regular postage
DESIGN: King Karl Queen Zita in royal robes
HISTORY: King Karl only reigned from 1918 until the beginning of World War I. In 1918 the National council proclamed Hungary a republic and elected Count Karolyi the Provisional President.

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