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Postally Used Commemorative Cancellations During Hungary’s Record Inflation, 1945-1946

30:4 3 1999
POSTALLY USED COMMEMORATIVE CANCELLATIONS
DURING HUNGARY’S RECORD INFLATION, 1945 – 1946

Dr. Paul J. Szilagyi

The collection of correspondence from the infamous world record inflationary period following WWII is a favorite subject of Hungarian philatelists. It is well known that the postal rates changed not less than 27 times during the period between May 1, 1945 and July 31, 1946. The illustration of these rate changes for the various postal services in effect at the time is the subject of most such collections.

The fact that during this postal period a few events were commemorated with a stamp issue and/or special cancellations is also common knowledge. Post offices were authorized to use special cancellation, usually only during a brief period of a day or a few days. The fact of the matter is that most of these cancellations are rare, and many examples survived only as favor cancellations (CTO) on a piece of paper or on an envelope without passing through the postal system. Because of the destruction of the country brought about during the closing days of the war, the surviving population had other priorities besides worrying about collecting commemorative stamps or cancellations or sending such items through the postal system.

The postally used material showing commemorative cancellations is very rare and is much coveted as exhibition quality material. There were 21 examples of such emissions (along with several minor varieties such as town names, post office numbers and color of ink used), and these are listed below.

    1. May 1, 1945 – The First Free May First – Budapest 7 cds (red)
    2. May 1, 1945 – The First Free May First – Francotype cancellation (red)
    3. May 27, 1945 – Commemorating Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinszky – Budapest 72 (Bajcsy-Zsilinszky was an anti-German, elected politician executed by the Szálasi government at the end of the war. The occasion was his reburial and state funeral in Budapest. It has also symbolized the break with the old, pro-Nazi government of Hungary.)
    4. June 10, 1945 – MADISZ (Magyar Demokratikus Ifjúsági Szövetség) – The Day of the Hungarian Democratic Youth Organization.
    5. July 29, 1945 – Rákosi Mátyás in Szeged (red) – (This was the communist leader Rákosi’s first visit in the southern Hungarian city and was also his first step in assuming control of Hungary with the aid of the Red Army.)
    6. August 12, 1945 – The First Free Harvest. Békéscsaba (blue).
    7. October 30 – November 11, 1945 – XIV Autumn Fair. Budapest 72
    8. October 30 – November 11, 1945 – Autumn Furniture Fair. Francotype (red)
    9. December 3, 1945 – One Year Anniversary of Freedom. Miskolc 1.
    10. December 5-15, 1945 – Debrecen was Freed a Year Ago / Debrecen Fair / Arany Bika. (World famous Golden Bull Hotel and Restaurant.)

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  1. December 22-31, 1945 – OFIT-BOE III. Philatelic Propaganda Exhibit. Budapest. (Dec 22 = blue, Dec 26 = red)
  2. February 1, 1946 – Hungarian Republic (blue). There were 9 different variations. Bp 4, 7, 57, 62, 72, 114. (The Parliament chose a republican form of government and elected Zoltán Tildy as President of Hungary.)
  3. April 4, 1946 – First Anniversary of Hungary’s Liberation. 10 different varieties.
  4. May 1, 1946 – First Anniversary of a Free May 1st. 2 variations.
  5. May 1, 1946 – Labor Day. 2 variations.
  6. May 1-5, 1946 – IV. Hungarian National Stamp Exhibit in honor of the 75 Years of Hungarian Stamps. Cancellations in black, blue, and green/red. (Note: this was the second “4th National Stamp Exhibit” since there already was one with the same label before WWII.) 2 variations.
  7. May 27, 1946 – 50th Anniversary of Opening the first Budapest Subway.
  8. July 7-9, 1946 – First National Congress of the Hungarian – Soviet Cultural Organization. (Red and green).
  9. July 15, 1946 – 100 Year Anniversary of the Hungarian Railroads. 3 types.
  10. July 18 – August 11, 1946- Exhibit of JOINT (Job and Small Business Partnerships Group). 2 types.
  11. July 21, 1946 – Workers-Peasants Meeting of Northern Hungary. (red) 2 types.

Although I had not even seen some of these cancellations during the past 30 years of collecting Second Inflation material, most can be found as favor cancellations on pieces of paper. These I would not include in an exhibit. However, examples which have been legitimately used postally are great rarities, have added philatelic value and are exhibition-quality material. These are the gems, which will take some luck to acquire and add to your collection and probably will cost you a pretty penny!

The cancellations are described in Mihályfi’s catalog while some of the postal history is described in the Filatéliai Szemle article by Dr. Kadocsa.

References:

Mihályfi, A Magyar Alkalmi Bélyegzések Katalógusa, Budapest, Mabéosz, 1988, pp. 82-4.Kadocsa, Dr. Gyula, Május 1. – 23 Éve, Filatéliai Szemle, May 1968, p. 3.

Used with permission from the Editor