Samuel Michaelis

Born:Oct 28 1875 In:  Besztercebanya, Hungary (now Banska Bystrica, Slovakia)
Died:June 29 1936 (at age 60)In:  Visegrad, Hungary


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Immediate family

Erzsebet Edit Viski Hanka
His wife
Samuel Arpad Imre Michaelis
His son
Samuel Michaelis
His father
Anna Hugyecz or Hudec
His mother
Mathilda Anna Michaelis
His sister
Karolina Anna Michaelis
His sister
Ilona Michaelis
His sister


Mining and Electrical Engineer
Electrical and Mining Engineer
 Head of the Hungarian Mint (Magyar Pénzverő)



Michaelis Samu was born in 1875 in Bestercebanya, Hungary (now Banska Bystrica, Slovakia).

He attended secondary school in his hometown, and graduated from the forestry and mining college in Selmecbanya, Hungary (now Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia).  

He might have had a wife before Erzsebet Hanka.  In 1897 Feb Elemer Gusztav Michaelis was born to Samu Michaelis and Maria Huppan in Selmecbanya (see IGI). 

After graduating from college, he went to work for the J. J. Geramb Mining Association's silver production factory at Szandrik in the town of Also-Hamor (now Hodrusa-Hamre, Slovakia), where he soon became the technical director.

In 1899, he received a degree in Metallurgical Engineering and went to work for the state.  In Budapest he worked at the "main metal hallmark" office, in Rezbanya he reconstructed the Horgospatak (now Strambu-Baiut, Maramures, Romania) gold, silver and lead smelter, and soon after he became the director of the main smelter in Selmecbanya.

 In 1910, he wrote an article called “The reasons for the decline of Copper Mining”.  It is available at the National Library in Budapest.

In 1912, his occupation was Royal Engineer, Aranyida Mine.  He wrote an article on some complicated engineering stuff .... Too difficult to translate.  The article is available on-line.

In 1913, his occupation was Engineer, Aranyida Mine.  He wrote another complicated article. It is available on-line.

During WW1 he served in the military:  on behalf of the Ministry of Defense he established a thoroughly modern, American military-style copper smelter in Zam, Hunyad County (now Zam, Hunedoara, Romania), where he worked until the end of the war.

From there, he went to the Ministry of Finance working as the Smelter Affairs officer.

After the Treaty of Trianon, Hungary lost its 2 biggest mines and its mint to Slovakia.  In 1918, Hungary began to dismantle its mint in Kormoczbanya (Kremnica, Slovakia) and ship the machinery to Budapest.  For several years, the mint operated out of an old factory on Csepel Island near Budapest, at the Manfred Weiss factory. The mint produced coins with the old Kormocbanya mint mark (K*B).

In 1922, Samu began working for the State Mint, where, after several months he was appointed to the position of Director.  He was appointed the Principal Mining Councillor for Hungary.  He was responsible for the planning and technical development of the Mint, and also for the production of coins.  He developed a patent for the extraction of ore from low-grade mines, which was also used by the United States, England, Mexico, Russia and Germany.

In 1924, the new location for the Royal Hungarian Mint was chosen in Budapest (102 Ulloi street).  Construction began in 1925.  Besides supplying ore for Hungarian needs, the Mint produced coins for several Balkan states. 

In 1925, Samu was the Principal Mining Councillor and the Director of the Mint.  He went to London to visit and study the London Mint.

In 1926, Samu went to the Vienna Mint on engraving and administrative matters.

The new Royal Hungarian Mint began operating in 1926.  The first coins with the Budapest mint mark (Bp) were produced then.

In 1927, Samu (Ministerial Councillor and Director of the Mint) gave a tour of the new mint to the Royal Court judges.

In 1928, Samu went “abroad” (I don’t know where) to try to get business producing the coins for other countries.  (From what you’ll read below, maybe he went to Bulgaria and Egypt???).

In 1929, Samu married our grandmother, Hanka Erzsebet.  Samu was Erzsebet’s 2nd husband.  She divorced her first husband sometime in the mid 1920s.  They lived in Buda, possibly in the II. Kerulet (arrondisement).  My mother Lily was 10 years old when they married, and her brother Csaba was 6.

In 1929, Samu went to Sofia to obtain an order for producing coins.

In 1929, he and the Director of the National Bank were on a committee to choose some new coins.

In 1929, he travelled to the Balkans to buy raw ore.

In 1930, their son Samuel Arpad Imre Michaelis was born.

In the 1930s, the Mint produced coins for Bulgaria and Egypt.

In 1932 Feb 23, the Regent of Hungary, Miklos Horthy, allowed the Secretary of State to present Samu with, and allow him to wear, the Bulgarian Cross of the Order of Saint Alexander (middle-range cross).

In 1932 July 25, Samu was promoted to the position of “Royal Hungarian Ministerial Councillor” and a Class 5 salary (don’t know how much that was).

In early 1934, Samu published a document called “The New Hungarian Mineral Economic Policy.”

In March 1934, there was a review of his document that said “... Samu Michaelis ... Is one of the best professionals in the fields of the policy of metal economics, the history of metal economics during the war, and the metal market and metal production today.  He has now published an urgent economic policy to radically reorganize the metal and mining industry ..... ...... ..... ..... We believe that the weight of the words of the man who created the new Hungarian Mint from scratch should be enough for those responsible for the re-creation of the metal industry.”

In May 1934, he “voluntarily retired” from the Hungarian Association of Engineers and Architects.  Why???

Why did he “voluntarily” retire?  I found out a little bit on-line, but this is perhaps a real mystery for you to solve.  Here’s what I read.  The Mint produced a commemorative medal of Pronay Pal.  Pronay Pal was not a great guy, but he was responsible for helping Horthy get in power.  Horthy became embarrassed byPronay and tried to distance himself from him, by charging him with some crimes.  Why would Samu produce a medal of Pronay?  Here’s someone’s comments from the internet about this:

Samu “was a tough, principled man, and therefore I respect him, too.  Of course he knew what he risked, and what he was doing.  What is even more interesting is that they did not go after him directly but, instead, in the usual Hungarian manner, attacked him from behind, undermined him, and then retired him.  What they brought agains him was not that the medal was produced, but that he did not notify the authorities of its production.  The case was dealt with by Horthy.  He deserves that his name stands here as the Director of the Mint:  Michaelis Samu”

In 1936, according to my mother, Samu died suddenly at the family dinner table.  She was there.  He died quickly, she said.

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