One Hundred Thousand Milpengo

Hungarian Milpengo

Hungarian 100,000 Milpengo banknote

I recently wrote that I was concerned about the increased deficit spending by the Obama Administration. I showed what happened to Zimbabwe when the government failed to control their currency and their spending. Although hyperinflation destroyed their currency and their citizens lives, the worst offender of all time was Hungary.

Above is a 100,000 Milpengo banknote if I am reading it correctly. A Milpego is a million pengos. So this note is a 100 billion pengo banknote. However this is small change. The largest denomination banknote in history was in circulation in Hungary in 1946. It was for 100 quintillion pengo or 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 pengo.

Hungary had the highest monthly inflation rate ever — 41,900,000,000,000,000% in July, 1946. Prices doubled every 13.5 hours.

When I show friends this banknote and the Zimbabwe note, handling them brings home the fragility of our own Federal Reserve Notes. They know that our printing presses are bigger and faster than any that Zimbabwe or Hungary ever ran. Their economies were destroyed by hyperinflation.

And the same fate could befall us.

Rickety signature.


  1. Hmmm..Zimbabwe currency!! How much is the value? I mean is it too high or low when compared to the dollars?

  2. For the record, macroeconomic conditions in the United States circa 2010 were not actually very similar to those in postwar Hungary. US inflation averaged 1.7% over the six years since this was written.

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