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Inflation 1923

Article Index



This was the era when the money system, hit with crippling hyper-inflation, went crazy.............and eventually collapsed!!

For reference : in 1921 a loaf of bread was 1.35 marks : in 1923, at the beginning of...............and at the height of .............. the hyper-inflationary period, when prices had totally run out of control, a loaf of bread which cost 250 marks in January had risen to 200,000 million marks in November!! (200 milliarden mark).

The following scan of 3 notes all show a 'private' issue from Bremen, with a face value of 5,000,000m. Top note has a hand-written date, 2nd note has been hole-punched cancelled (but not usual circle shape) and the 3rd note has been hole-punched cancelled ('BEZAHLT') but also very unusual indeed, has also got a hole-punched date!! -  '27.9.1923'. It is the first notgeld piece I have ever come across with a date like that!!



The peak of the hyper inflation period in Germany was late 1923. Notes were being issued with face values of Billions of marks! The note above for 2.5 million, is unusual as a face value. (They would usually issue pieces with face values like 100,000 : 500,000 : 1,000,000 : 2,000,000 : 5,000,000


  • 1,000,000                                 - 1 millionen
  • 1,000,000,000                           - 1 milliarde (1000 million)
  • 10,000,000,000                         - 10 milliarden
  • 100,000,000,000                        - 100 miliarden
  • 1,000,000,000,000                     - 1 billionen (1000 milliarde)
  • 1,000,000,000,000,000               - 1 billiarde
  • 1,000,000,000,000,000,000         - 1 trillion
  • 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000   - 1 trilliarde




It's nice sometimes to see a note with the face-value in words and numbers!!


The note below, has the word 'scheck' on it (cheque). It's format is similar to the modern day cheques. It was issued in Oberhausen and is dated September, 1923. Just like the Reichbanknotes (issued by the state), notgeld issues began to be affected by the runaway inflation that Germany experienced during this period. By late 1923, notes were being issued in Billion Mark denominations - in Germany this was equal to 1,000,000,000,000! There were many issues, (see under the 'introduction' tab on the homepage) and many were from private companies, as can be seen by the scan above. 





Pre 1914; 1$ = 4M.......Nov.19th 1923; 1$ = 4,200,000,000,000M)!!!!!


Some of these hyper-inflationary issues can be fairly plain, but others like the note below, issued in Bamberg and dated 'Nov.1923 are absolutely beautiful in design. All true German Billion mark notes from this period will have the word Billion or Billionen on them. 1,000,000,000 was not a Billion, but a Milliarde (1000, millionen). A Billion was 1000 Milliarde! The highest face-value notgeld was issued in Crefeld. It had a face value of 200 BILLION marks (200,000,000,000,000m!!)