Zimbabwe

The Banknote Book chapters now available in print

covers_of_print_editions
In response to popular demand, several chapters of The Banknote Book are now available in printed format:
  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Bangladesh
  • Bermuda
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Pakistan
  • Zimbabwe
Each chapter is professionally printed on demand by Lulu.com in full-color, on high-quality US letter-sized paper with a saddle-stitched, heavyweight glossy cover. At present, only those chapters 20 pages or longer are available in print, but if you are interested in purchasing printed copies of other chapters, please click here to write to me using the Contact form.

Zimbabwe chapter of The Banknote Book is now available

Zimbabwe cover

The Zimbabwe chapter of The Banknote Book is now available for individual sale at US$9.99, and as a free download to subscribers. Also available in print.

At the time of initial publication, this 27-page catalog covers every note (187 types and varieties, including 49 notes unlisted in the SCWPM) issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe from 1980, and the Cargill Cotton Group from 2003 until present day.

Each chapter of The Banknote Book includes detailed descriptions and background information, full-color images, and accurate valuations. The Banknote Book also features:
  • Sharp color images of note’s front and back without overlap
  • Face value or date of demonetization if no longer legal tender
  • Specific identification of all vignette elements
  • Security features described in full
  • Printer imprint reproduced exactly as on note
  • Each date/signature variety assigned an individual letter
  • Variety checkboxes for tracking your collection and want list
  • Red stars highlight the many notes missing from the SCWPM
  • Date reproduced exactly as on note
  • Precise date of introduction noted when known
  • Replacement note information
  • Signature tables, often with names and terms of service
  • Background information for historical and cultural context
  • Details magnified to distinguish between note varieties
  • Bibliographic sources listed for further research

Subscribe to The Banknote Book
If you collect the entire world or a large number of countries, buying a $99 annual subscription is the best deal because it's less expensive than buying chapters individually, and it entitles you to every chapter currently available as well as everything published—or revised (click here to see the Change Log)—during the next 12 months.

Subscribe
Sign up for Email Notifications
If you would like to receive email notifications whenever a new chapter of The Banknote Book is published, please join the email list.

Sign up

Zimbabwe's inflationary notes selling well to curious collectors

There’s an excellent article in The Wall Street Journal about how Zimbabwe’s large-denomination banknotes are selling well to collectors as well as the general public curious about the huge number of zeros on these inflationary issues. Be sure to read it soon as I seem to recall that the WSJ blocks access to articles after a few days.

Courtesy of Abdullah Beydoun.

IBNS's Rhodesia-Zimbabwe chapter publishes 15th issue of newsletter

The Rhodesia-Zimbabwe chapter of the International Bank Note Society has just published the 15th issue of its newsletter as a PDF. Anyone with an interest in joining this topical chapter is encouraged to write to Steve Milner for details. The newsletters are a wonderful resource for anyone who collects notes from this interesting and challenging African country.

Zimbabwe lined paper 500,000-dollar note confirmed


500,000 dollars, 2008. Like Pick 76, but instead of plain paper, this variety is printed on lined paper.

Courtesy of Andrew Roberts.

Zimbabwe lined paper 50,000-dollar note confirmed


50,000 dollars, 2008. Like Pick 74, but printed on paper with horizontal lines.

The only other denomination observed printed on lined paper is the 20,000-dollar note (Pick 73). Based upon the serial numbers reported so far, it appears the $20,000 note was first printed on lined paper, then switched to plain paper, whereas the $50,000 note appears to have been printed on plain paper first, then lined paper.

Courtesy of Andrew Roberts.

Zimbabwe halts use of own currency for one year

According to a BBC News article dated April 12, 2009, Zimbabwe has suspended the use of the Zimbabwe dollar for at least a year following the legalization of foreign currencies (most notably the United States dollar and South African rand). "There was nothing to support the value of the Zimbabwean dollar," admitted Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma. As previously reported on this site, the use of foreign currency has been allowed since January to combat the hyper-inflation that quickly devastated the value of all Zimbabwean dollar-denominated notes, no matter how large. The legal and widespread use of foreign currency has coincided with consumer prices falling for three months in a row. The state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper said the unity government of Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai decided the Zimbabwe dollar should only be reintroduced when industrial output reaches about 60 percent of capacity from the current 20 percent average.

Zimbabwe issues new revalued notes

According to a BBC News report dated January 29, 2009, while delivering the annual budget to parliament, acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced, “In line with the prevailing practices by the general public, [the] government is therefore allowing the use of multiple foreign currencies for business transactions alongside the Zimbabwean dollar.” Previously only licensed businesses could accept foreign currencies, although it was common practice in the black market.

According to a report in The Zimbabwe Times dated February 2, 2009, Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, says that Fidelity Printers can churn out only two million notes per day, an amount insufficient to meet the public’s demand for currency. Nonetheless, the country has announced that it is yet again revaluing the dollar, this time by removing 12 zeros. That means the highest denomination in the “old” money, Z$100 trillion, is now equal to Z$100. New notes are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 dollars. They all feature a color-shift stripe with RBZ, a color-shift Zimbabwe bird, and chevrons as registration devices. The older notes will circulate in parallel until June 30, 2009.










Courtesy of Thomas Krause, Aidan Work, Abdullah Beydoun, and Paul Nahmias.

Zimbabwe allows use of foreign currency

According to a BBC News report dated January 29, 2009, while delivering the annual budget to parliament, acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced, “In line with the prevailing practices by the general public, [the] government is therefore allowing the use of multiple foreign currencies for business transactions alongside the Zimbabwean dollar.” Previously only licensed businesses could accept foreign currencies, although it was common practice in the black market. Although it is not clear if the local currency will still be printed, it’s possible that this move marks the end of an era for Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe unveils notes as large as Z$100 trillion

At the beginning of this week, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced 20- and 50-billion-dollar notes, and today, just four days later, it has unveiled even larger, record-breaking denominations: 10-, 20-, 50-, and 100-trillion-dollar notes. The 10-trillion-dollar note is going into circulation immediately (January 16, 2009), with the others to be introduced gradually.










"The $10 trillion note has the image of the RBZ building and the Conical Tower at the Great Zimbabwe National Monuments," says the state-run Herald newspaper. "The $100 trillion note has the image of a buffalo and the Victoria Falls, the $50 trillion the Kariba Dam spilling and an elephant, while a mineworker drilling in an underground shaft and the GMB grain silos appear on the new $20 trillion note."

The new notes have the same security features as the existing ones: a color-shift stripe printed RBZ, a color-shift Zimbabwe Bird, and the denominations as registration devices.

The 100-trillion-dollar note (that’s 100,000,000,000,000) could buy 20 loaves of bread at current rates, but the Washington think-tank Cato Institute has estimated inflation is running at 89.7 sextillion percent—a figure expressed with 21 zeroes—so vendors adjust prices almost constantly.

Courtesy of Abdullah Beydoun, Thomas Augustsson, Wally Myers, and Frank van Tiel.

Zimbabwe issues new $20- and $50-billion notes

On January 12, 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced another pair of new high-denomination notes, coinciding with the lifting of withdrawal restrictions this week. The design of the new 20-billion-dollar note includes the Chiremba balancing rocks in Epworth on the front. The back depicts the RBZ headquarters building and the Great Zimbabwe ruins. The new 50-billion-dollar note was worth US$1.25 at Monday's black market exchange rate. A week ago, Z$50 billion was worth US$2.20, and two weeks ago it was worth US$3.30.







Courtesy of Abdullah Beydoun.

Zimbabwe issues new $1-, $5-, and $10-billion notes

In what seems to be a weekly occurrence, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced another batch of new high-denomination notes on December 19, 2008, in a futile attempt to keep ahead of the highest inflation in the world (officially at 231 million percent, but independent estimates are 500 quintillion percent). The highest denomination (for now) is a new 10-billion-dollar note worth approximately US$20 on the black market when introduced yesterday. The bank also issued new 1- and 5-billon-dollar notes. Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe is so bad that prices double daily and most goods are in short supply.








Courtesy of Thomas Augustsson.

Zimbabwe issues new $200- and $500-million notes

On December 14, 2008, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced two new high-denomination notes.



200,000,000 dollars
Brown. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks in Epworth; cow. Back: Parliament building; Heroes’ Acre. Unknown security thread. Watermark: None. Printer: Unknown. 148 x 74 mm. 2008. Signature 5. Introduced 14.12.2008.



500,000,000 dollars
Purple. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks in Epworth; cow. Back: Palm trees; workers milking cows; miner with jackhammer. Iridescent stripe with repeating RBZ. No security thread. Watermark: None. Printer: Unknown. 148 x 74 mm. 2008. Signature 5. Introduced 14.12.2008.

Courtesy of Thomas Augustsson.

Zimbabwe to issue new 200-million-dollar note

On December 6, 2008, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced it plans to introduce a 200-million-dollar note. This news comes just two days after the bank issued three new notes, the largest of which is a 100-million-dollar note. No word yet on when the new higher denomination will be issued into circulation.

Zimbabwe issues new $10-, 50-, and 100-million notes

On December 4, 2008, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced 10-, 50-, and 100-million-dollar notes, although it’s been reported that the notes were available on the foreign currency market a day prior to their official introduction. The bank also increased the daily cash withdrawal limit to 50 million dollars for individuals and 100 million dollars for company account holders.










Courtesy of Thomas Augustsson.

Zimbabwe issues three new notes

On November 5, 2008, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced 100,000-, 500,000-, and 1,000,000-dollar notes. “In the measures underway, the Reserve Bank plans to introduce a number of new, higher denominations; review the cash withdrawal limits, as well as commence aggressive campaigns for increased usage of alternative means of payment,” the central bank said in a statement. The government put inflation at 230 million percent for July, the world's highest, although the Washington-based Cato Institute foundation estimates it now at 10.2 quadrillion percent.





500,000 dollars
Green. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks in Epworth; cow. Back: Palm trees; workers milking cows. No security thread. Watermark: None. Printer: Unknown. 148 x 74 mm. 2008. Signature 5. Introduced 05.11.2008.



1,000,000 dollars
Blue. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks in Epworth; cow. Back: Great Zimbabwe ruins; cattle. Windowed security thread with demetalized RBZ and Zimbabwe bird hologram. Watermark: Zimbabwe bird Type C with electrotype 1000 [sic]. Printer: Unknown. 153 x 76 mm. 2008. Signature 5. Introduced 05.11.2008.

Courtesy of Mirsad Delic and Garry Craig.

Zimbabwe issues new 50,000-dollar note

On October 13, 2008, just two weeks after issuing 10,000- and 20,000-dollar notes, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has introduced a new, even higher denomination, the 50,000-dollar note.



50,000 dollars
Green. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks in Epworth. Back: Farmer plowing field on mechanical tractor; miner with jackhammer. Iridescent stripe. No security thread. Watermark: None. 153 x 76 mm.

Courtesy of Jim Rubycored Chen.

Zimbabwe issues 10,000- and 20,000-dollar notes

On September 29, 2008, less than two months after revaluing its currency and issuing a new series of notes in which the highest denomination was 1,000 dollars, Zimbabwe issued 10,000- and 20,000-dollar notes. These notes were printed locally by Fidelity Printers in Bulawayo. The 10,000-dollar appears to be printed on paper originally supplied by Giesecke & Devrient for use on 1,000-dollar notes, as evidenced by the fact that the electrotype watermark is 1000 and does not match the denominations printed on the note. The 20,000-dollar note lacks a security thread and watermark and is thought to be printed on paper from a Chinese supplier.



10,000 dollars
Brown. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks. Back: Harvester and tractor. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Zimbabwe bird with electrotype denomination of 1000. 153 x 76 mm. 2008. Signature 5. Introduced 29.09.2008.



20,000 dollars
Brown. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks. Back: Victoria Falls; Kariba dam. Iridescent stripe. No security thread. Watermark: None. 153 x 76 mm. 2008. Signature 5. Introduced 29.09.2008.

Courtesy of Nick Brice.

Zimbabwe issues new banknote series

On August 1, 2008, in an effort to simplify calculations in economic transactions, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe revalued its currency, striking ten zeros from the old Zimbabwe dollar. The move came just a week after the introduction of a 100 billion-dollar special agro-cheque—not enough to buy a loaf of bread—which became worth ten dollars under the new system. Concurrent with the revaluation, a new series of banknotes was also issued, and old coins were also reintroduced after years of obsolescence. The new notes will circulate with the older bearer cheques and special agro-cheques, which will remain legal tender until January 31, 2009, instead of December 31, 2008, the expiration date printed on the bearer cheques.




1 dollar
Violet. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks. Back: Falls; water buffalo. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Zimbabwe bird with electrotype 1. 2007. Signature Gideon Gono. Introduced 01.08.2008.

5 dollars
Brown. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks. Back: Dam; elephant. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Zimbabwe bird with electrotype 5. 2007. Signature Gideon Gono. Introduced 01.08.2008.

10 dollars
Green. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks. Back: Farmer plowing field on mechanical tractor; three grain silos. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Zimbabwe bird with electrotype 10. 2007. Signature Gideon Gono. Introduced 01.08.2008.


20 dollars
Red. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks. Back: Tailings pile; miner with jackhammer. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Zimbabwe bird with electrotype 20. 2007. Signature Gideon Gono. Introduced 01.08.2008

100 dollars
Blue. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks. Back: Palm trees; Great Zimbabwe ruins. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Zimbabwe bird with electrotype 100. 2007. Signature Gideon Gono. Introduced 01.08.2008.

500 dollars
Purple. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks. Back: Milking dairy cows; cattle. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Zimbabwe bird with electrotype 500. 150 x 75 mm. 2007. Signature Gideon Gono. Introduced 01.08.2008.

1,000 dollars
Gold. Front: Chiremba balancing rocks. Back: Buildings. Windowed security thread. Watermark: Zimbabwe bird with electrotype 1000. 153 x 76 mm. 2007. Signature Gideon Gono. Introduced 17.09.2008.
According to a ZNCNews story dated September 8, 2008, shortly after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe recently allowed selected merchants to quote prices in foreign currency for an 18-month experiment, Zimbabwe’s attorney general’s office warned retailers that they could be prosecuted for demanding payments in foreign currency. The office explained that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act clearly states that the banknotes issued by the central bank are legal tender for any payment within Zimbabwe.

Courtesy of Nick Brice and Garry Craig.

Zimbabwe issues 25- and 50-million dollar notes

According to a Panapress article dated April 4, 2008, with inflation running wild at 165,000%, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced 25- and 50-million dollar bearer cheques on April 3.






50,000,000 dollars, 2nd April 2008. Expires 30th June 2008. Issued April 3, 2008. Purple. RBZ logo, signature (Dr. G. Gono, Governor), solid security thread, and Zimbabwe bird as watermark with RBZ as electrotype. Three elephants on back.

Courtesy of Nick Brice and Hartmut Fraunhoffer.

Zimbabwe issues new 1-, 5-, and 10-million dollar notes



1,000,000 dollars, 1st January 2008. Expires 30th June 2008. Issued January 18, 2008. Brown. RBZ logo, signature (Dr. G. Gono, Governor), solid security thread, and Zimbabwe bird as watermark with RBZ as electrotype. Village, two women with poles on back.



5,000,000 dollars, 1st January 2008. Expires 30th June 2008. Issued January 18, 2008. Blue and violet. RBZ logo, signature (Dr. G. Gono, Governor), solid security thread with repeating RBZ, and Zimbabwe bird as watermark with RBZ as electrotype. Mountain range on back.



10,000,000 dollars, 1st January 2008. Expires 30th June 2008. Issued January 18, 2008. Red, purple, and green. RBZ logo, signature (Dr. G. Gono, Governor), solid security thread, and Zimbabwe bird as watermark with RBZ as electrotype. Tigerfish and Kariba Dam on back.

Courtesy of Nick Brice.

Zimbabwe issues three high-denomination bearer cheques


250,000 dollars, July 2007. Expires 30th June 2008. Issued December 20, 2007. RBZ logo, signature (Dr. G. Gono, Governor), solid security thread with repeating RBZ, and Zimbabwe bird as watermark with RBZ as electrotype. Great Zimbabwe ruins on back.



500,000 dollars (US$16.65), 1st July 2007. Expires 30th June 2008. Issued December 20, 2007. Green, light blue, and brown. RBZ logo, signature (Dr. G. Gono, Governor), solid security thread with repeating RBZ, and Zimbabwe bird as watermark with RBZ as electrotype. Three elephants on back.



750,000 dollars (US$25), 31st December 2007. Expires 30th June 2008. Issued December 20, 2007. Violet, light blue, and brown. RBZ logo, signature (Dr. G. Gono, Governor), holographic foil at left with giraffes, solid security thread with repeating RBZ 1000, and Zimbabwe bird as watermark with 1000 as electrotype. Elephant and falls on back.

Courtesy of Nick Brice.

Zimbabwe issues new variety bearer cheques


Collector Steve Milner (IBNS member 8137) has discovered a new variety in the Zimbabwe $10,000 note dated 1st August 2006 that differs slightly from the first release with AA serial number prefix (above, bottom). The new AB prefix variety has a space between “10” and “000” in the denominations printed in all four corners (above, top).

Also Steve informs me that Inside IBNS No. 4/06 erroneously reported that all new bearer cheques share the same expiry date of 31st July 2007. In fact, the $100 (Pick 38) and $500 (Pick 39) expire 31 December 2007. Furthermore, the cent issues (Pick 29 - 32) have an extra 500 in the watermark whilst all the dollar issues have RBZ.

Finally, Steve writes: “I am a IBNS member from the Perth chapter. My collecting interests are southern Africa, GB, replacements, and Australia. I have attached a couple of interesting Zimbabwe $100,000 bearer cheques. One is a replacement note (ZB prefix) for the “normal” note issued 1 June 2006. The other has an issue date of 1 October 2005 and the serial AA (AB also known to exist). This issue was apparently printed but not issued until after June 2006.

“I am trying to obtain both notes and the replacement for the earlier version, which I presume exists but has not been confirmed.

“An interesting point now concerns the 1 February 2006 issue of the $50,000 bearer cheque. This issue started with the serial AC. Is there a previous issue with the serials AA and AB dated sometime in 2005?

“This an interesting conundrum for collectors of southern African notes or ‘emergency issues’ as these bearer cheques are often called. Any information from your readers will be most welcome.”

Zimbabwe issues new $5,000 note dated 1.2.2007


On March 1, 2007, Zimbabwe introduced a new Z$5,000 (US$20) temporary bearer cheques to replace the expired version of this denomination. These note carries the issue date of 1st February 2007, with an expiration date of 31st July 2007. 147 x 74 mm.

A new Z$50,000 has also been released, with a date of 1st March 2007.

Courtesy of Nick Brice.

Zimbabwe new date (2004) 500-dollar note confirmed


500 dollars, 2004. Like Pick 11, but new date, BB prefix, and new signature (Dr. G. Gono, Governor).

Courtesy of Sean Morgan.

Zimbabwe issues new $50,000 note dated 3.1.2007


50,000 dollars (US$200), 1st March 2007. Expires 31st July 2007. Red and brown. RBZ logo, signature (Dr. G. Gono, Governor), and RBZ as electrotype watermark. Elephant and falls on back.

Courtesy of Nick Brice.