One Hundred Million Marks

100 million marks

Weimar Republic 100 million mark banknote

The 100 million mark banknote I am holding was mere pocket change compared to the value of the banknotes yet to be issued in 1923. In early 1921 German currency was trading at 60 marks to the U.S. dollar. By November 1921 there were 330 marks to the dollar. A year later a dollar bought 8,000 marks. In December 1923 the exchange rate was 4,200,000,000,000 marks to the U.S. dollar.

The Wiemar Republic did not have the worst hyperinflation in history — Hungary holds that “honor”. Zimbabwe was the second worst offender, followed by Yugoslavia, and then Germany. Greece and China round up the top six hyperinflators of all time.

The highest denomination in Germany was a 100,000,000,000,000 mark banknote issued in 1923. Workers were paid three times a day and wives would meet them to rush to the store to pay 200 billion marks for a loaf of bread.

The hyperinflation was caused by the government issuing massive amounts of new money. This caused prices to rise. Germans with money saved had it wiped out, making them destitute. The German government essentially monetized its debt, much like the U.S. is doing of late. Germany failed to raise its interest rate sufficiently, just as in the U.S. at present.

The main force in the 1920s which gave the nightmare German inflation its momentum was the relentless decrease in the real value of currency in circulation.

Just like in the United States in 2010.
Rickety signature.


  1. Good article :)
    Can I add it to my blog? I will give backlinks back to this page…?

  2. I love collecting old or strange currency notes and coins, but I’ve never been able to acquire something like this.

    I like how you mentioned the connection between our current financial situation in the States to that of Germany 80+ years ago, it’s definitely a wake-up call.

    • I got this note and the Zimbabwe and Hungarian notes by bidding on eBay. I bid between 99 cents and $4. The shipping varied between free and $5. I am not a collector, I just wanted to draw attention to the risk of hyperinflation the dollar faces. I just got a 500 billion dinara banknote today that I am going to post on.

      • Hi there, thanks for getting back to me.
        I have never been one to buy many things online, I guess I’m just a bit overly skeptical about giving my financial information out. I have occasionally looked on eBay for older currency by I think timing is a big part of it, a lot of the notes that I saw were quite expensive. Granted the last time I looked on eBay for currency was a couple years ago, maybe I’m missing out?

        • My family buys online often. I don’t use ebay much but when I do I use PayPal. When I was looking for currency I just wanted banknotes from hyperinflation times. Hence there were a lot of notes available because that’s how they got hyperinflation in the first place – by printing lots of notes. Also, I just wanted a high denomination note, so I had a lot to choose from.

  3. Wow, wish i had one of those little notes!!

  4. i also hope will have one a my own collection

  5. Andrew Leary says:

    We have found 2 of these notes while going through paperwork of our recently deceased parent. If you are interested, contact my e-mail and I can send you photos.

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