November 7, 2013
Zimbabwe One Hundred Trillion dollar bill
In February 2006, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said it printed ZW$20.5 trillion to buy foreign currency to pay off debts - a trend which continued.
Eventually political turmoil and hyperinflation eroded the value of the Zimbabwe dollar and it underwent a series of redenominations including a $100 trillion banknote.
In 2008 the government limited cash withdrawals to ZW$100 billion per day, which was less than the cost of a loaf of bread.
The massive bill denomination circulated for just a few months before the Zimbabwe dollar was officially abandoned in 2009.
Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland must be backed pound for pound by Bank of England notes.
Rather than holding huge amounts of currency they instead use massive £100,000,000 banknotes nicknamed 'Titans'.
You can't get your hands on one though - they only circulate internally within the bank.
Photos: REUTERS/Toby Melville
Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination
Not quite a coin and not quite a banknote the Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination or 'quids' were designed by scientists for long-distance cash transfers. Why there would be no computers able to do the transaction onboard remains a mystery to us.
The quid looks pretty cool too - it has no sharp edges and each one contains eight planets orbiting a sun, reflecting the position of the planets in Earth’s Solar System.
Linden Dollars in Second Life
An untold number of videogames have currency either in gold, widgets or fake dollars.
But the popular virtual reality online game Second Life gamers can actually exchange their in-game Linden Dollars for cold hard cash.
While the exchange rate fluctuates and might not bring in as much as a 'real' job - it's still a pretty bizarre currency.
In 2003 Prien am Chiemsee, Germany began producing a currency called Chiemgauer.
Intended to promote local commerce the bills are valued at par with the euro.
Started by a high school teacher as a project with his students, as of 2011 there were 600 businesses participating.
Canadian $1,000 bill
Have you ever seen a Canadian $1,000 bill?
Chances are you haven't because they were discontinued permanently - along with the $1, $2, $25, $500 bills. The last $1,000 was printed in 2000.
Popular with organized criminals, nevertheless the bills are still legal tender.
Photo: QMI Agency
Another local currency that can only be used in Ithaca, New York are the Ithaca Hours - so-called to remind the user they represents someone's labour.
While you can't convert the 'Hours' into regular currency there are over 900 participants accept the bills for goods and services.
Canadian Tire money
It would be hard to ignore our very own Canadian Tire money. While not strictly legal currency, the loyalty program reward started in 1958 is as Canadian as, well, maple syrup.
A revision in 1962 included values of 1-4 cents and in 2012 the company began testing plastic versions of the cash.
Photo: Wikipedia Commons.