Friday, March 25, 2016


I went to a coin show today, and in addition to some fine coins (including coins of both Caracalla and Geta, the Cain and Abel of ancient Rome) I picked up a new banknote.  It was only $1 so I could afford it.

In this post I posted pictures of some of my "inflationary notes".  I now have notes from three of the greatest hyperinflationary periods of the 20th Century.

Weimar Germany, 1923:
click to enlarge

The first note is a 1000 Mark note counterstamped to be worth 1 billion Marks.  It was cheaper and faster to release counterstamped notes than to produce new notes.  But they still produced new notes, and the second one is 5 billion Marks.  It's printed only on one side.  Wikipedia has details on the rate of inflation, which peaked at around 29,500% in one month.

Hungary, 1946, and Zimbabwe, 2008:
My new note is from Hungary, where the unit of currency at the start of 1946 was the pengo.  The first note above is 1 million milpengos, or 1 million million (1 trillion) pengos.  Milpengos were later replaced by b-pengos, or 1 trillion pengos, so my note above was clearly not at the end of the inflationary period.  Wikipedia has details on the rate of inflation, which peaked between 13 and 42 trillion percent in one month.  Hungary in 1946 still holds the Guiness Book record for highest inflation rate of all time.

Zimbabwe's is the most recent hyperinflation, taking place not even a decade ago.  Wikipedia has some details on the rate of inflation, but figures vary so much that it's hard to know which to trust.

A compilation of hyperinflation rates is available here.


Auntie Ann said...

I bought my nephew 160 million dollars (Zimbabwean) a couple years ago for about $5.

Darren said...

Those Zimbabwe notes are usually available at coin/currency shows. They're great fun and, as you point out, very inexpensive.

At one of those Wikipedia links I learned that when Hungary got rid of their pengos and switched to the forint, the value of all pengos in circulation was less than a US cent.