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Awards of the Hungarian Finance Guards and Customs Guards


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Some background info on the Hungarian Finance Guards and the Customs Guards.

The Hungarian Finance Guard was established on 10 March 1867. This came about as a result of the compromise between Austria and Hungary which granted sovereignty to Hungary. The main task of the Finance Guard was to stop smuggling and the violation of fiscal laws and rules. Between 1867 and 1950 the two organizations were joined to form a single organization, divided to provide two separate organizations and even abolished for a short period by the Hungarian Soviet Republic following WWI.. This convoluted history is not of interest to us until the 23rd of March 1950 when the National Directorate of the Finance Guard (OPF) was established. In 1953 the Customs Guards performing Customs related tasks was separated from the Finance Guard?s Organization and their General Directorate (VOP) was subordinated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1963 the VOP was dissolved and the Customs General Directorate was established and placed under the supervision of the Minister of Finance. Following this, the National Directorate of Finance and Customs Guard was established by merging the Customs General Directorate and the OPF. On the 5th of February 1966 the name of the organization was finalized as the Customs and Finance Guard. This remained the primary organization of this force until 1990. This background info is provided to give some understanding of the many medal changes that took place to the Finance Guards and Customs Guards awards between 1951 and 1966. Pictures with a black background are from the Large Medals Book and those with a white background from my personal collection. These medals are not commonly available. I would class the earlier ones as rare.

Awards of the Hungarian Finance Guards and Customs Guards

A P?nz?győrs?gi ?ren arany fokozata, 1951 (gold)

A P?nz?győrs?gi ?ren ez?st fokozata, 1951 (silver)

A P?nz?győrs?gi ?ren bronz fokozata, 1951 (bronze)

(The Medal of the Finance Guards)

Instituted on 15 December 1951 by the Council of Ministers. Awarded to those guards and officers who promoted and displayed good work. Awarded in three grades-gold, silver and bronze. Awarded by the Minister of the Finance Guards. The medal is 42mm in diametre and has the date 1951 on the obverse side. The ribbon is 40mm wide. Ribbons and medals are worn consecutively as awarded. This holds true for all awards in this series with the same ribbon for all classes.

Edited by Gordon Craig
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A P?nz?győrs?gi ?ren arany fokozata, 1953

A P?nz?győrs?gi ?ren ez?st fokozata, 1953

A P?nz?győrs?gi ?ren bronz fokozata, 1953

In 1953 the medal was introduced in a totally new design that incorporated the 1949 coat of arms. The medal was made of bronze and was 35mm in diametre. It was presented in Gold, Silver and Bronze classes. For the Gold class the medal was gilded, for the silver the medal was silver coated and for the bronze not coated.

A P?nz?győrs?gi ?ren arany fokozata, 1957

A P?nz?győrs?gi ?ren ez?st fokozata, 1957

A P?nz?győrs?gi ?ren bronz fokozata, 1957

In 1957 the medal was redesigned once again but only to replace the 1949 coat of arms with the 1957 coat of arms. All other details remained the same as the 1953 design.

Edited by Gordon Craig
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#578 A V?mőrs?gi Szolg?lati ?rem 1961

(The Customs Service Medal 1961)

On the 14th of December, 1961, the Hungarian Revolutionary Workers and Peasants Administration founded for customs officials who served for long periods of time in successful work periods - the bestowal of the Customs Service Medal. The medal could be awarded by either the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Trade or the Head of the Customs Service. The medal as awarded in three classes. The medal is made of bronze and the different classes are coloured accordingly. The medal is 40mm in diamtre with a 40mm ribbon. The ribbon is different in design and colour from other Finance and Customs Guard medals shown here. The reverse of the medal displays an exact image of the wreath of wheat on the front. Ribbons and medals are worn consecutively as awarded.

Gold: for 25 years of consecutive work

Silver: for 15 years of consecutive work

Bronze: for 5 years of consecutive work

Edited by Gordon Craig
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A V?m- ?s P?nz?győrs?gi Szolg?lati 1966

(Customs and Finance Guards Service Medal 1966)

In 1966 the Customs and Finance Guard?s Administration were brought together under the direction of the Minister of Finance and Security. On February the 5th the Customs and Finance Service Medal was instituted.. It was very similar to the design of the Finance Guards medal except that the state symbol was changed to that of the 1957 one and the crossed pistols were replaced by the new combined Finance and Customs Guards insignia. It was awarded for growth, promotion and displaying good work over a period of time. The three classes of this award were presented for service over long periods of consecutive years.

Gold - 20 years

Silver - 15 years

Bronze - 5 Years

On the 17th of February, 1977 the Minister?s Council determined that the medal was to be cancelled and replaced with similar criteria from the Service to the Fatherland Medal in corresponding grades.

This is actually the silver class of this medal. The silver has "disappeared" from the obverse but is still mostly there on the obverse.

Edited by Gordon Craig
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Graet article! Any photos of them in wear? how many customs guards were there?

So to summarize, there were medals established in 1951, new ones in 1953, then again in 1957 and 1966 and they were abolished in 1977?

Are they common to find?

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Ulsterman,

To answer your questions-

1-I don't have any photos of them in wear but I will posting a 1966 uniform thread soon (eventually?). Unfortunately it does not have any medal loops on it. It is the only tunic from this organization I have ever seen and comes from the store at the Military Museum;

2-The only figures I have for them are for 1872 when there were 52 Customs Officers with a staff (civilian?) of 300 managed by the central customs office in Pest and headed by the Hungarian Royal Minister of Finance. There were separate organization for Finance Guards and Tax Guards at this time. I have no numbers for them. They were united into a single force of arms in 1896. During times of war (WWI in particular) the border platoons were under military control;

3-Your summary of the dates of the medals is correct;

4-They are not common. The two I recently purchsed, bronze and silver for 1966 were only the second and third I remember seeing. I have only seen pictures of the earlier ones. Now that I have done some research on them perhaps they will more readily pop out at me in visits to stores, shows etc.

Regards,

Gordon

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...I still boggle at the thought of the Military Museum STORE selling off things-

Can we have the snaps for OMSA?

Really interesting thread-I'd bet there weren't many of these guys, but they had great border stories.

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Ulsterman,

I'll take a picture of the Museum Store next week some time. I doubt I will buy any more tunics there as they have just doubled the prices on everything they have for sale at the moment and they are just run of the mill tunics that I can get at a flea market for much less.

I think you are correct in that there were not very many of these guys. Hungary lost approxiamtely 50% of her land mass and population as a result of the Treaty of Trianon in 1920. If we consider that they only had 52 Customs Guards in the late 1800s and 40 years later you lose half your land mass IE shorter borders, your Customs Service certainly isn't going to grow.

The Finance Guards were situated along the borders in platoons so probably they were greater in number. My reference material daesn't indicate the size of these platoons nor how many of them there were. The lack of awards for Customs and Finance Guards would indicate a small force.

Regards,

Gordon

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Hi Gordon,

This is a very goood summary of the Finance and Customs Guards medals.

A little mistake on the post# 3: of course the text is not correct, this is the V?mőrs?gi Szolg?lati ?rem 1961.

The last (1966) forms of the medals had different ribbons for every grades:

Edited by Zsolt
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Zsolt,

Thanks for the correction. I should have paid more attention to the ribbons on the medals in my collection. They do indeed have different ribbons. I'll have to review what I said and make the corrections necessary. I cut and pasted the wrong text for 1961. That has been corrected. Your input is greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Gordon

Edited by Gordon Craig
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