hungary-1020-or-100-quintillion-hungarian-pengc591-obverse-2

Hungary (1946) – The Days of Hyperinflation

Hungary 1 Millió B Pengő Banknote – Face and Back
Hungary 100 quintillion pengos banknote, front
Hungary (1946), Szazmillio B.-Pengo, FRONT, the highest denominated currency ever circulated.

This is a Szazmillio B.-Pengo banknote. “Szazmillio” is Hungarian for one hundred million, so, this is a hundred million B.-Pengos.  “B.-Pengo” means a billion pengo. But Hungary used the “long scale” as did much of eastern Europe at that time. Thus “billion” means a million million, or a trillion. (“Short scale” billion means a thousand million. See here and see below). Thus our banknote is the equivalent of 100 million million million pengos, or one hundred million trillion pengos, or one hundred quintillion pengos.

photograph of the earth as seen from space

How much is one hundred quintillion? If in individual pengo banknote was 2″ wide x 4″ long, 100 quintillion banknotes would completely cover our planet, 2000 layers deep!

photograph of Alpha Centauri star

If those individual banknotes were laid end to end, 100 quintillion banknotes would reach to our nearest star Alpha Centari and back again to Earth, 90 times!

Here is someone’s illustration of what just one quintillion pennies would look like……… 1 quintillion pennies. Envision that multiplied by one hundred!

But a pengo was worth far less than a penny in those days.

Hungary 100 quintillion pengos banknote, back
Hungary (1946), Szazmillio B.-Pengo, BACK, the highest denominated currency ever circulated. This is the Hungarian Parliament Building on the Danube River.

What did hyperinflation feel like? The worst year was from August 1945 through July 1946 during which prices increased an average of 19% per day. On the worst days, prices would triple from one day to the next. A loaf of bread that cost a dollar yesterday costs 3 dollars today and nine dollars tomorrow and 27 dollars the day after tomorrow.

Says the Technical People: “Hyperinflations are caused by extremely rapid growth in the supply of “paper” money. They occur when the monetary and fiscal authorities of a nation regularly issue large quantities of money to pay for a large stream of government expenditures. In effect, inflation is a form of taxation in which the government gains at the expense of those who hold money while its value is declining. Hyperinflations are very large taxation schemes.” http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Hyperinflation.html

How fast did they grow the money supply during that fateful year? How fast did they print more paper money? From what I’ve read, the money supply in July 1945 was 25 billion pengo, and then in January 1946 1,646 trillion pengo, and then in May 1946 65 quadrillion pengo and then in July 1946 47 septillion pengo. They were printing money like it was going out of style. They were printing money so fast that halfway through they stopped collecting taxes (now That had to be Fast!), because the tax value of collections one day late had lost so much value.

It stopped in August 1946 when a new currency was introduced, the florint, at the rate of 1 florint equal to one octillion pengos. And of course, they unplugged the printing presses too.

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 = 1 octillion

Whew!

From Wikipedia…..

“The long and short scales are two of several large-number naming systems for integer powers of ten that use the same words with different meanings. The long scale is based on powers of one million, whereas the short scale is based on powers of one thousand.

Short scale

Every new term greater than million is one thousand times larger than the previous term. Thus, billion means a thousand millions (109), trillion means a thousand billions (1012), and so on. Thus, an n-illion equals 103n + 3.

Long scale

Every new term greater than million is one million times larger than the previous term. Thus, billion means a million millions (1012), trillion means a million billions (1018), and so on. Thus, an n-illion equals 106n. “

…..from Wikipedia.

As always, if you have something to add to this story, or a recommended landmark for visiting, I welcome your comments!

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Poland 50 Zloty 1982 banknote back (2)

Poland’s Copernicus – The Revolutionary of Revolutions

Poland 1000 Zloty Banknote, Year 1982 – Face and Back
Poland 1000 Zloty Banknote front, featuring portrait of Nikolai Kopernik
detail from front of 1000 zloty banknote, Poland, Nikolai Kopernik

Copernicus wrote the book when he was around 40 years old. But because he anticipated that his ideas would be controversial, he delayed publication until just before his passing about 30 years later.

He didn’t seek to be controversial but merely sought a more elegant explanation for the truth of the observed universe. He sought Beauty. He built upon the ideas of predecessors, many of them out of the mainstream of contemporary thought.

His book is considered now to mark the beginning of the Scientific Revolution which has completely transformed our understanding of the world.

Poland 1000 Zloty Banknote back, featuring revolution of the planets
detail showing the insight of Copernicus: Revolutions of Planets around Sun, back side of 1000 zloty banknote, Poland

The Sun at center surrounded by 6 circles for the orbits of the 6 planets. (Copernicus assumed orbits were circular as did his predecessors. Later, the true ellipse shape of orbits was uncovered.)

Our Earth is shown in the third orbit at its 4 prime astronomical locations, Spring equinox, Summer solstice, Autumn equinox and Winter Solstice.

closeup detail of Poland 1000 Zloty Banknote, year 1982  back, featuring positions of Mercury and Venus
detail from back of 1000 zloty banknote, Poland, showing positions of Mercury and Venus

The two nearest planets, Mercury and Venus.

☿ Mercury occupies the innermost orbit.

♀

 Venus occupies the second orbit from the Sun.

Our Earth occupies the third orbit from the Sun. It’s four prime orbital positions are illustrated on our banknote.

closeup detail of Poland 1000 Zloty Banknote, year 1982  back, featuring position of Mars
detail from back of 1000 zloty banknote, Poland, showing position of Mars
♂

 Mars occupies the fourth orbit from the Sun.

Two of the four prime orbital positions of Earth are shown in the third orbit in this detail.

closeup detail of Poland 1000 Zloty Banknote, year 1982  back, featuring orbits of jupiter and saturn
detail from back of 1000 zloty banknote, Poland, showing orbits of Jupiter and Saturn

♃ Jupiter occupies the fifth orbit from the Sun.

♄ Saturn occupies the sixth orbit from the Sun.

 Poland 1000 Zloty Banknote, year 1982  back
Poland, 1000 zloty banknote, back
Poland 50 Zloty 1982 banknote front
Poland, 1000 zloty banknote, front

Nicolai, you’re awesome.

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Hungary 10,000,000,000,000 Pengo 1946 banknote front (2)

Hungary – 1946

Hungary 10,000 Pengő Banknote – Face and Back
Hungary 10,000 Pengő Banknote back
Hungary
Hungary 10,000 Pengő Banknote face
Hungary