What is the largest overnight currency depreciation? How large, which currency and when?

When examining historical records of currency depreciation, it is helpful to have a better understanding of what is normal, so that one can understand the impact of an abnormally large depreciation.

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    I assume you are asking for some historical context regarding the recent depreciation of the rouble. I would suggest refining the question along the lines of 'how often has a currency depreciated ≥x% within 24 hours'? One other thing: devaluation is when a country deliberately lowers the value of its currency. When a currency just falls in value, it's called depreciation. The opposites are revaluation and appreciation.
    – Ne Mo
    Dec 18 '14 at 17:28
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    @JustinNorth: Mark C Wallace's edits were designed to make your question SE compliant. List questions are against site rules, which is why I rolled back your edits to restore Mark's.
    – two sheds
    Dec 19 '14 at 15:28
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    I'd still want to add a time-frame. Say nineteenth century to present. But the edit makes this far better. +1.
    – Rajib
    Dec 19 '14 at 17:12
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    @MarkC.Wallace - would you then say it is devaluation? Depreciation has taken place even in ancient history. We are perhaps not in a position to compare.
    – Rajib
    Dec 19 '14 at 20:03
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    I perceive a difference between devaluation ("today we are change the value of the dollar from $100/troy oz to $500/troy oz") and depreciation "The dollar fell against the Ruble today, from a level of 70 rubles/dollar to 30 rubles/dollar"). Bretton Woods is a special case. Devaluation is an outright financial manipulation by a clearly identfied actor. Depreciation can be the result of many interacting market forces. Personally I don't think it is possible for specie based currency to depreciate except as a result of devaluation.
    – MCW
    Dec 19 '14 at 20:09

An "overnight" change in the value of a currency is a devaluation, not a depreciation.

Probably the biggest overnight devaluation ever was the January 31, 1934, devaluation of the dollar from $20 per ounce to $35 per ounce, a 40% devaluation. The money supply was about $8 billion plus at least another $12 billion in gold-backed bonds. So, perhaps the total erasure was 40% of $20 billion or $8 billion dollars, worth 400 million ounces of gold (before the devaluation). As of right now 400 million ounces of gold would be worth $480 billion dollars (2014).

If the U.S. government was to pull a stunt like this today, it would result in a loss of about $12 trillion to people around the world.

Another biggie on this list is the Gorbachev erasure. In 1989, the Soviet Union under Gorbachev invalidated all 50 and 100 ruble notes. There is no telling how much cash the Soviet citizens had squirreled away, but it could easily have been 100 billion dollars.

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    Soviet Russia has seen much worse hyperinflation in 1919-1923, with something like 1,000,000 times overall devaluation of Soviet Ruble. Unfortunately I don't have the data at hand to tell what was the biggest overnight devaluation during that period.
    – Michael
    Dec 23 '14 at 21:56

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