What? When Did This Happen?
The Hungarian economy experienced possibly the most catastrophic hyperinflation in history between 1945 and 1946, with inflation topping out at roughly 200 percent per day and prices doubling about every 15 hours.
How the hell did this happen? After being left in economic shambles after losing World War I, Hungary experienced a period of nasty inflation until the League of Nations bailed them out with a loan. The Hungarian korona was replaced by the gold-backed pengo, which for a time was the most stable currency in the region, despite sounding no less made up. However, the Great Depression punched Hungary's agriculture industry in the Hungonads, and this, combined with their willingness to print as much pengo as they damn well felt like, started the inflation train rolling. Eventually it would literally take a truckload of bills to buy a loaf of bread.
Gamma-Keystone via Getty
She's lighting that cigarette with a billion pengo note.
Naturally, the government's response was to print even more money in larger and larger denominations, finally culminating with the 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 pengo note (imagine a hundred quintillion dollar bill).
Only the introduction of a new currency backed by gold, foreign currencies and foreign securities -- the forint -- broke the free fall. After that, there was only one thing left to do with the mountains of surplus pengo: