ONE OF several monetary reforms in the Austro-Hungarian Empire took place 120 years ago. On August 2, 1892, a law introduced the crown currency, which was to be covered by gold. Golden coins called “zlatý” (golden) and smaller grajciars were replaced by crowns and hellers. One kilogram of pure gold was the equivalent of 3,280 crowns. Golden mono-metallism was necessary, as silver kept devaluating after rich silver mines were opened in South America.
The new currency established itself with difficulty, and the gradual withdrawal of old coins and banknotes lasted for eight years. The crown was finally in use by 1900. Its name was derived from the minted picture of a king or emperor with the royal symbol, a crown. In Great Hungary, the crown was called the korona, and the heller was the fillér. Coins were minted in two places: in Kremnica, marked with K.B. (the Hungarian type), and in Vienna without the mint mark. The basic nominal coin since 1892 was – also on the current territory of Slovakia – a silver crown. Coins with a value of 1, 2 and 5 crowns were minted in silver, while the 10, 20 and 100 crown coins were made from gold. The one-crown coin weighed 5 grams and was 23 millimetres in diameter. 200 coins were made of 1 kilogram of minted silver. Banknotes appeared only in 1901 in denominations of 10 and 20. Since 1902, 50, 100 and 1,000 crowns could be paid by banknotes, the TASR newswire wrote.
After the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed, a dispute ensued among the descendant countries over what to call the currency. After Czechoslovakia came into existence, it preserved the same name of currency, the crown, although several different names were proposed, including dollar, hrivna, dinar, groš, falcon, lion, and cnetesima.
On January 1, 2009, the Slovak crown was replaced by the euro. Unlike the 19th century transition, the simultaneous validity of both currencies lasted only for 16 days, as opposed to several years.
20. Aug 2012 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská