There is a saying “you can never be too rich or too thin.” While we endorse the concept of diet and fitness to keep in shape, we found a faster, easier solution for procuring wealth. Become an instant trillionaire with the Zimbabwe 100 trillion dollar note (that’s 100 with 12 zeros after it). Zimbabwe issued the note in January 2009 and you can find it selling for about $6.00 U.S. on eBay. While this might seem like a bargain, we are sad to say that the 100 trillion dollar note is basically worthless in Zimbabwe. The country abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar as its official currency only months after issuing the 100 trillion dollar note.
But if it is not legal tender, who would want it? Collectors, of course, and people who use it to teach lessons about hyper-inflation. A recent Wall Street Journal article notes that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis) keeps one in his wallet as a reminder of the consequences of runaway inflation. It did get us thinking about large denomination bills, in general, and those who might afford to carry them around in their wallets, like billionaires, specifically.
According to the Forbes annual list of billionaires for 2011, the richest person in the world is Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu who is worth about $74 billion (he was worth a mere $53.5 billion on last year’s list). Surprisingly, the youngest billionaire is one of Facebook’s co-founders, but not Mark Zuckerberg (who at 27 is worth about $13.5 billion). Born eight days
before after Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz is worth $2.7 billion. In comparison, Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page (37 and 38 years old, respectively) are worth about 19.8 billion each. Now you can leapfrog all of these folks, at least on paper, by searching for your very own 50 or 100 billion dollar note. You are sure to find something to fit your budget.
So what was the U.S.’s largest denomination note? The U.S. Dept. of Treasury states that the largest U.S. dollar banknote was issued in 1934 for $100,000.
Unfortunately, the Treasury Department never circulated these notes, using them only for official transactions. The next largest bill in the U.S. is the $10,000 bill, which was circulated at one point and used by the general public. In 1969, though, the government started recalling all the larger denomination bills, leaving only a limited number of $10,000 dollar bills left in existence and making them coveted by collectors. We found one for sale, and several souvenirs and replicas on the site. The current price for a single 1934 $10,000 bill? About $140,000 dollars. Talk about inflation!
Now you know the way to paper wealth, with an eBay spin, of course. Any other secrets to getting rich? Let us know in the comments below.