The Gulden or forint (German: Gulden, Hungarian: forint, Croatian: forinta/florin, Czech: zlatý) was the currency of the lands of the House of Habsburg between 1754 and 1892 (known as the Austrian Empire from 1804 to 1867 and the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy after 1867), when it was replaced by the Krone/korona as part of the introduction of the gold standard. In Austria, the Gulden was initially divided into 60 Kreuzer, and in Hungary, the forint was divided into 60 krajczár. The currency was decimalized in 1857, using the same names for the unit and subunit.
Gulden (in German)|
forint (in Hungarian)
florenus (in Latin)
| 1⁄60 (to 1857)|
Kreuzer (in German)|
krajczár (in Hungarian)
|Symbol||F, Frt, Ft (in Hungarian); Fl (in Latin)|
|Banknotes||1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 1,000 Gulden / forint|
5⁄10, 1, 4, 5, 10, 20 Kreuzer / krajczár|
1⁄4, 1, 2, 4, 8 Gulden / forint
1, 2 Vereinsthaler (1 1⁄2, 3 Gulden / forint)
|User(s)||Austria-Hungary, Principality of Montenegro|
|Central bank||Austro-Hungarian Bank|
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.
The name Gulden was used on the pre-1867 Austrian banknotes and on the German language side of the post-1867 banknotes. In southern Germany, the word Gulden was the standard word for a major currency unit. The name Florin was used on Austrian coins and forint was used on the Hungarian language side of the post-1867 banknotes and on Hungarian coins. It comes from the city of Florence, Italy where the first florins were minted.
Until 1806, Austria was the leading state of the Holy Roman Empire. With the introduction of the Conventionsthaler as the principal currency of the Empire in 1754, when it began to replace the Reichsthaler. The Gulden was defined as half of a Conventionsthaler, and it was the equivalent of 1⁄20 of a Cologne mark of silver. The Gulden was subdivided into 60 Kreuzer. Following the winding up of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Gulden became the standard unit of account in the Habsburg Empire and remained so until 1892.
In 1857, the Vereinsthaler was introduced across the German Confederation and Austria-Hungary, with a silver content of 16 2⁄3 grams. This was slightly less than 1 1⁄2 times the silver content of the Gulden. Consequently, Austria-Hungary adopted a new standard for the Gulden, containing two-thirds as much silver as the Vereinsthaler. This involved a debasement of the currency of 4.97%. Austria-Hungary also decimalized at the same time, resulting in a new currency system of 100 Kreuzer (krajczár) = 1 Gulden (forint) and 1 1⁄2 Gulden = 1 Vereinsthaler.
In 1892 the Austro-Hungarian Gulden was replaced by the Krone, at a rate of 2 Krone (korona) = 1 Gulden.
Copper coins were initially issued in denominations of 1 Heller (1⁄8 Kreuzer) up to 1 Kreuzer, with silver coins in denominations from 3 Kreuzer up to 1 Conventionsthaler. The Turkish and Napoleonic Wars led to token issues in various denominations. These included a 12 Kreuzer coin which only contained 6 Kreuzer worth of silver and was later overstruck to produce a 7 Kreuzer coin. In 1807, copper coins were issued in denominations of 15 and 30 Kreuzer by the Wiener Stadt Banco. These issues were tied in value to the bank's paper money (see below). The coinage returned to its prewar state after 1814.
When the Gulden was decimalized in 1857, new coins were issued in denominations of 1⁄2 (actually written 5⁄10), 1 and 4 Kreuzer in copper, with silver coins of 5, 10 and 20 Kreuzer, 1⁄4, 1 and 2 Florin and 1 and 2 Vereinsthaler and gold coins of 4 and 8 Florin or 10 and 20 francs. Vereinsthaler issues ceased in 1867. Vereinsthaler = 1 1⁄2 Florins
Following the forint's introduction, Hungary issued relatively few coins compared to Austria, but the Kingdom of Hungary started minting its own golden coins called, depending on the language, florins/forints, zlatkas, Guldens, in 1329. The only copper coin was a poltura worth 1 1⁄2 krajczár, whilst there were silver 3, 5, 10, 20 and 30 krajczár and 1⁄2 and 1 Conventionsthaler. All issues ceased in 1794 and did not resume until 1830, when silver coins of 20 krajczár and above were issued. Only in 1868, following the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, did a full issue of coins for Hungary begin. Denominations were fewer than in Austria, with copper 1⁄2, 1 and 4 krajczár, silver 10 and 20 krajczár and 1 forint and gold 4 and 8 forint.
|Examples of Austrian 10 gulden notes|
Between 1759 and 1811, the Wiener Stadt Banco issued paper money denominated in Gulden. However, the banknotes were not tied to the coinage and their values floated relative to one another. Although the notes did have a slight premium over coins early on, in later years, the notes fell in value relative to the coins until their value was fixed in 1811 at one fifth of their face value in coins. That year, the Priviligirte Vereinigte Einlösungs und Tilgungs Deputation ("Privileged United Redemption and Repayment Deputation") began issuing paper money valued at par with the coinage, followed by the "Austrian National Note Bank" in 1816 and the "Privileged Austrian National Bank" between 1825 and 1863. In 1858, new notes were issued denominated in "Austrian Currency" rather than "Convention Currency".
From 1866, the K. K. Staats Central Casse ("Imperial and Royal State Central Cashier") issued banknotes, followed from 1881 by the K. K. Reichs Central Casse which issued the last Gulden banknotes, dated 1888.