Shaking my head... $100 bills, gold coins, and the refusal to admit that it's over.
Entry posted by Revenant ·
I'm putting this up as what I'm calling my 2022 update to the Zimbabwe set. When I got into this in 2015 I thought it would be done and that I would just get to build the sets and the descriptions and be done. It has been very interesting and an unexpected journey to have this new series that started in 2019 (2016 if you count the bond notes) and having to update and revise to reflect the timeline moving forward, but it's something I've enjoyed following immensely, carrying the set forward.
The timing of this update is spurred partially by my wife buying me a graded example of the $50 (P-105) note for the series as part of my father's day present and also the announcement the RBZ made last week. My last major update to this set was in May 2021, a couple of months before the $50 note was released, so my $20 note description still said I thought the $20 note would be the last of the series. So an update was needed.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced in early April 2022 that they would be releasing a new $100 bill. At the time, inflation was running about 6-7% a month and about 66-72% a year. The RBZ committee at the time talked about how it needed to “remain focused on inflation reduction” while also pointing to rising global inflation and the Russia-Ukraine conflict – which had started only about 1.5 months prior at the time.
The design of this note will look familiar to those familiar with Zimbabwean money. The front of the note is more or less identical to the other notes in the series with the exception of the color and the denomination and even the color seems very similar to the $50 note that immediately precedes it in the series. The reverse of the note features the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, which have not been featured previously in this series but they have been featured on the national coins and currency over and over again dating back to 1980 with the $1 coin. I think the first appearance of the ruins on a note was on the $50 bill of the 2nd series of the 1st dollar (P-8), which was released in 1994.
Every time the ruins are introduced or featured in a new series of notes it is done with new artwork but the artwork always seems to focus on this one structure or feature of the ruins. I think this new design is notable also for the prominent placement of the milkwood tree. I bring up the old $1 coin from 1980 in part because, of all the prior artwork, this new note most reminds me of that old $1 coin.
By Jun 2022, just two months after this note was released, annual inflation had spiked from 72% to 192%.
Forever behind the curve with this series, the RBZ once again released a new note that could not even buy a loaf of bread when it was released. For all the jokes that got made about the $100 Trillion dollar note (P-91) at the time of its release, that bill was worth about $2 officially at release and could buy bread – and if you sold it to tourists at the airport for more than it was actually worth you could get a loaf of bread or maybe two. But these notes, at release, didn’t even buy you bread.
Just two to three months after this note was released, in June and July 2022, you have some developments that are perhaps the most damning inditements of this new currency, the surest signs that this experiment in restarting a national currency has failed, and that this series may actually, finally, be close to an end.
In June 2022, the country announced that the US Dollar and other foreign currencies would once again be legal tender in the country and would remain so for at least the next 5 years. This is an official return to the multi-currency system that reigned from 2009-2019 and which was brought to an end by the government outlawing domestic use of foreign currencies and the forced conversion of bank balances to the new dollar in 2019. This comes less than three years after the RBZ stated repeatedly in October 2019 that there was absolutely zero chance that they would return to the multi-currency system.
One month after that, in July 2022 - last week -the country announced that they would start issuing gold coins later that month that could be purchased for the value of the coins + production cost and used in domestic transactions or kept as an inflation hedge.
Actual gold coins, struck possibly even for circulation. Can you even believe it? If it happens I think that might be one of if not the first time that gold coins have circulated in nearly 100 years.
I'm looking for pictures.... I wonder what they'll look like.... I need one of these things. Like Seriously. I'm going to have to get one.
But... they're still supporting this zombie currency. It's dead. The people have rejected it. They've brought the multi-currency system back and they think they'll get to just take it away again in 5 years?
Edited to add:
My wife's father's day present to me also included 2 other notes.
One is a 65 EPQ graded P-18 that Noteshobby had listed recently. I showed her the check / linked her to it (and the P-105, and the Congo note) recently when she was looking for ideas for a present for me because she considers me hard to shop for. This 65 EPQ example is better than the 63EPQ and 64EPQ I'd gotten graded last year. So it upgrades my "best possible set" of these checks but I'm not actually putting it in a competitive set with my other "best" checks. I'm putting it in my incomplete set that contains the now 3 of these things that I've bought from elsewhere. I just like the idea of those other two sets being entirely self-graded too much to introduce a pre-graded, bought note into them and ruining those -001 to -006 runs I worked so hard to make. I don't need to fight currently to have the highest ranked set of these so I like the style of keeping those other two sets "pure." But this note is now with all the others in the signature set I made to highlight these specifically.
The Congo note goes towards my elephant note set - which I may get more seriously off the ground one day. I'll have to do some research for this one ... one day... as I have time.
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