In Hungary in the 1940’s, while the country was experiencing the worst hyperinflation in recorded history, they issued a bank note with a denomination of 100 quintillion Hungarian pengős, which was worth approximately US $0.20.
It was practically illegal to own gold in the US from 1933 to 1974. Roosevelt signed an Executive Order to force all citizens to turn in almost all gold for about $20 per ounce, then declared the value of $20 in gold to be worth $35 in paper currency – creating a massive inflation.
From 1945 to July 1946, Hungary had the highest inflation ever recorded. The highest banknote value went from 1,000 Pengő in 1944 to 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 Pengő in mid-1946. At this time, the total value of all Hungarian banknotes in circulation combined amounted to $0.00001 USD
German hyperinflation after WWI was so bad by 1923 the US dollar was worth 4.2 trillion marks (before the war it was about four marks). Restaurants even stopped printing menus because by the time food arrived prices had gone up. One guy ordered coffee at 5000 marks, the second cup cost him 9000.
In 1923, Germany’s hyperinflation was so high, the exchange rate went from 9 marks to 4.2M marks to $1 USD. One German worker, who used a wheelbarrow to cart off billions of marks that were his week’s wages, was robbed by thieves who stole the wheelbarrow but left the piles of cash on the curb.
Dictator Robert Mugabe tried to stop a critic of Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation by levying ridiculous taxes on his newspaper; the writer retaliated with advertisements printed on trillion-dollar-bills, which was cheaper than actual paper.
After World War I, Germany experienced a period of ridiculous inflation so rapid that, reportedly, the value of a cup of coffee could double during the time it took to drink it. This also meant that everyday goods could suddenly be priced at millions or billions of marks (with salaries changing just as fast). As a result of the sudden confusion and anxiety that accompanied every purchase (“Is 50,000 marks a lot for a can of beans?” “Well, you can get a cup of coffee for 35,000 marks — oh, wait, they changed it again …“), Germany saw the rise of a brand new and unique mental disorder specific to that place and time: zero stroke. The persons afflicted with the malady are perfectly normal, except “for a desire to write endless rows of ciphers…“. Cashiers, bookkeepers, and bankers were most prone to this affliction. Besides a compulsion to write endless strings of zeros, individuals who suffered from this condition would reportedly become confused when referring to numbers and would state that they were 10 billion years old or had 40 trillion children.
In Germany around 1923, banknotes had lost so much value that they were used as wallpaper.