Hyperinflation in Hungary following WWII results in high-denomination notes being issued in 1945

Readers Ask column from the July 28, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Coin World
Published : 07/14/14
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I was cleaning out a desk the other day, getting ready to move out of town, and found what looks like foreign paper money.

I know nothing about foreign paper money, if that’s what these are, so I am hoping you can help me.

Can you tell me what these are and if they are worth anything?

J.O. Vicardo, Ellisville, Mo.

The two notes you have were issued by the Hungarian National Bank in 1945. In their fairly worn condition they may be worth a couple of U.S. dollars each.

However, the story these notes tell of a nation grappling with post-World War II finances is a fascinating one.

The 100,000-pengo note depicts a woman wearing the national dress of Hungary.

The 1-milliard-pengo note also depicts an elegantly dressed woman, though no other details are known about who she may be or what she may represent.

The pengo denomination was in use in Hungary from 1927 to 1946 as part of a stabilization program following the end of World War II.

The word “milliard” means a thousand million in parts of Europe. In the United States it would be the equivalent of 1,000,000,000 or a billion.

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