World of Coins

Modern European coins except the euro => Central and Eastern Europe => Central Europe => Topic started by: Figleaf on April 09, 2009, 12:20:53 AM

Title: Hungary: Admiral of the Danube
Post by: Figleaf on April 09, 2009, 12:20:53 AM
This is my favorite Hungarian coin. It has the portrait of admiral Miklós Horthy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miklos_Horthy). So what would an admiral do on a coin of a landlocked country? Horthy was a conservative, royalist officer in the Habsburg fleet. In the first world war, he was based in Trieste. His ships beat the Italian navy several times and defeated the British at the Otranto Barrage.

As the Austro-Hungarian empire fell apart after the first world war, his success made him the candidate of the nationalist right against the communist left's Béla Kun. He was elected leader of Hungary, developing into a proxy-king: His Serene Highness the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary. However, he insisted on his old rank of vice-admiral, the only vice-admiral Hungary ever had, and he continued to wear his medals. A uniform was made especially for him. Somehow, this big aluminium coin reinforces the comical aspect. A Hungarian joke puts it like "during his reign, Hungary was a kingdom without a king, ruled by an admiral without a fleet, in a country without a coastline" wearing decorations of a country that was no more, they could have added.

The story ends badly. Horthy was always just a bit too close to Hitler and just too late to switch sides decisively, paving the way for a communist take-over after the second world war.

Peter
Title: Re: Hungary: Admiral of the Danube
Post by: Austrokiwi on April 09, 2009, 07:38:56 AM
Interesting story......What is the diameter of the coin?
Title: Re: Hungary: Admiral of the Danube
Post by: translateltd on April 09, 2009, 08:03:18 AM
Interesting story......What is the diameter of the coin?

36mm, according to SCWC, getting quite big for an aluminium piece.

Title: Re: Hungary: Admiral of the Danube
Post by: chrisild on April 09, 2009, 10:25:00 AM
In more than one way, Horthy resembled Franco. They were both "leaders" of their countries which were expected to be regular kingdoms again later. As for the diameter of that coin, the size may seem odd first, but the 1943 aluminum piece for his 75th birthday was more or less a copy of the silver coin issued in 1938/39. Same portrait, same CoA with the same angelic holders  ...

Christian