German Inflation Money...with a bit of humor

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Mr. Fri's picture
Mr. Fri
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 21 2009
Posts: 220
German Inflation Money...with a bit of humor

I though you all would get a kick out of this.  A few years ago when I lived in Germany, a friend gave me this note.  It's a five billion Mark note printed in 1923 at the height of Germany's hyper-inflation. 

It has a few interesting features:

- A map of North America.

- Images of US coins, complete with "United States of America."

- A poem about how America has a better life than Germany.

- And my favorite... Along the edge of the bill there's a comparison of how much things cost in July of 1914 and the same items on Nov 30, 1923.  It starts out with a liter of water, a pound of salt, a pound of sugar, etc. with the cost of each item going higher and higher.  What's really funny about this is someones sense of humor because the last item (ein Sarg) is a coffin.


Michael Höhne's picture
Michael Höhne
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 16 2008
Posts: 119
Re: German Inflation Money...with a bit of humor

Here's a translation of what's written on the note:

Goethe's Xenien 1830:

America, you are better off than our continent, the old.
At the time of living, you are not disturbed in your interior by useless memories and futile disputes.

(The original German text is hard to read, even for me, but I tried my best). 


Price comparison 1914/Nov 30, 1923

One Liter of water: 0,02 Pfennig / 250 million Mark
One pound of salt: 10 Pfennig / 100 billion Mark
One pound of sugar: 22 Pfennig / 650 billion Mark
One liter of milk: 20 Pfennig / 560 billion Mark
One pound of potatoes: 3 Pfennig / 85 billion Mark
One herring: 10 Pfennig / 130 billion Mark
One pound of bread: 15 Pfennig / 400 billion Mark
1 pound of port dripping: 60 Pfennig / 2.6 trillion Mark
One egg: 8 Pfennig / 700 billion Mark
A man's suit: 75 Mark / 200 trillion Mark
A pair of soles: 3.50 Mark / 10 trillion Mark
A coffin: 80 Mark / 90 trillion Mark

One Mark equaled 100 Pfennig, so a liter of water in 1914 was 0,0002 Mark and one pound of salt was 0,10 Mark. 

In Germany, "Millarde" means billion and "Billion" means trillion, so "Fünf Billionen Mk." is five trillion Mark ( You could have bought 7 eggs with this note.

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