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When I first started collecting the Zimbabwean 3rd dollars I thought they were all about the same size regardless of denomination. When I expanded my set to include more of the first dollars I started to notice that this wasn't the case with them. I was shocked the first time I held a P-1 note. Compared to the higher denominations in the series it is tiny. The shot below shows the $2 note over the $20. Then I finally got some low denomination 3rd dollars - P-65 and P-66 - and I realized that this wasn't exclusive to the 1st dollars. The ZWR had it too, I think the picture below was the $1 note and the $100 note. This was a really cool feature / realization for me. I'd read years ago that some people were pushing to make the different denominations in the US different sizes - it's an access issue for the blind. The argument was that the current bills deny adequate access to the blind and that making the notes different sizes would allow the blind to tell the difference between them without help. After reading that years ago, seeing this was just really neat. I don't really see any difference between the sizes of anything after about $500 or $1000. I can only assume this was because they either couldn't make the notes any bigger (They are quite big), or because they chose to standardize around a size to make it easier to keep cranking out higher denomination notes.
Call it a "soft launch" since, for the time being, the only notes in it are going to be Zimbabwean notes that are also part of my set of that currency's notes for my hyperinflation themed set, but I've decided I'm going to make a signature set of notes that feature elephants - inspired by my sons. We have a membership to the Houston Zoo and whenever we go or talk about going the animal that Ben usually mentions wanting to go see is the elephants, which he absolutely loves. We also chose elephants as the theme for Samuel's nursery / bedding (for Ben the theme was turtles). Several of the Zimbabwean notes feature elephants and some of the artwork, like what appears on P-12 and P-98 is quite beautiful IMO. I've also seen / run across some notes from the Congo with some really great elephant artwork. Money is too tight right now for me to actively pursue this beyond maybe just setting up the set / or the bones of it, but this is definitely something I think I want to pursue more fully one of these days when time and finances allow it. The set will be called "A Parade of Elephants," which is the more fanciful name given to a group of elephants ("herd" is just so "blah").
I wanted to make my best attempt to photograph and show off a funny feature of the Zimbabwe banknotes. Some of these banknotes have security features on them, like color changing / holographic ink, watermarks and complicated color schemes and had them as far back as the early 1980s or the 1990s, much earlier than I remember the United States introducing these to the "greenback." The 1983 Zimbabwean notes have watermarks but I don't think the US introduced watermarks to our currency until the mid- or late 1990s. One thing that's particularly interesting / funny to me is the "Zimbabwe Bird" watermark that they sued and the fact that it changes between the notes introduced in the 1980s and the notes introduced in the mid-1990s. The water marks on the early notes look like this: At least some of the Zimbabwean coins from this period also feature this bird and it looks like that on the coins. But then in the 1990s, it's like someone grabbed the bird's head and tried to stretch the neck out. All of a sudden the bird looks thinner and that neck just feels strangely long. Personally, I think the first design looked a lot better. That later design just looks a bit odd to me and not nearly as nice.