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Found 6 results

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. When collecting a series, sometimes the notes / coins / denominations you don’t see are almost as interesting and telling as the ones you do see. I remember a few years ago when I first started looking into and trying to collect the Zimbabwe hyperinflation notes… I found the 100 Trillion note first and very easily. It’s the definitive poster-child of the series after all. I also quickly and easily found the 50 Trillion, 20 Trillion and 10 Trillion notes. Then I tried to search for a 5 Trillion… and a 1 Trillion… and a 500 Billion… and I found nothing. I tried looking for a 100 Billion, and found something, but it was weird looking, and was labeled as a… bearer check? What the… Of course, there are no notes denominated as 100 Billion, 200 billion, 500 Billion, 1 Trillion, or 5 Trillion in the 3rd dollar series. The 100 Billion Bearer Check I found, even though I didn’t know / understand what it was at the time, was part of the 2nd dollar bearer check series, not part of the 3rd dollar series, and so, it was almost completely different from what I was looking for. If you look at the progression of denominations used throughout the rest of the series / history of the Zimbabwean dollars, you’d expect all 5 of those denominations to exist, but none of them do. The only note of those five whose absence seems reasonable at first glance is the $200 Billion, as 20/200 denominations were often skipped in the series. The explanation for this is as simple as it is shocking – the hyperinflation in the country was so severe by November / December 2008, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had to skip all of those and go from 50 Billion straight to 10 Trillion. That 5 note / denomination “gap” in the series is probably the biggest and most notable such oddity in the 100-pick series but it’s hardly the only one. The 3rd dollar series includes no 5,000 dollar note. The series originally maxed out with a $1,000 denomination. When the RBZ chose to start expanding the series to include higher denominations in late September 2008, they announced the $10,000 and $20,000 notes, but no $5,000 note. The 3rd dollar series also includes no $50 note. The 3rd dollar series was rolled out with denominations ranging from $1 to $1,000, but no $50 note, even though the denomination was seen in previous series for the 1st dollar and 2nd dollar. The 3rd dollar series, finally, includes no 5 Million or 20 Million dollar notes. Why these two notes where omitted when the $10 Million, $50 Million and 100 Million notes were announced in early Dec 2008 I don’t know. One of the things that makes the 2nd dollar Bearer Checks and Agro Checks interesting in the context of the larger series is the inclusion of “25” denominations. The 1st dollars, 3rd dollars and 4th dollars all have “20” denominations – like $20, $20,000, $20,000,000. Only the 2nd dollar series has denominations of $250,000, $250 Million, and $25 Billion. The 2nd dollar series, very oddly, has both a $200,000 and $250,000 note. The 2nd dollar does also have a $20 denomination, but I assume this is only because a $25 dollar note would have been just a little too peculiar to have been taken seriously. There is no $200 or $250 note in that series. The king of the oddities may be the $750,000 note of the 2nd dollar bearer check series (ZIM52). This is the only time in the entire 100 note Zimbabwean series that has a “75” fronted denomination. This note makes an interesting partner with the $250,000 (ZIM50) note and $500,000 notes (ZIM51) of the same series. Together they give you a quarter million, half a million, and three quarters of a million dollars for denominations, and this may help explain the inclusion of both a $200,000 and $250,000 note in this series. This is just one of those things about the series that I find interesting and maybe a little strange, and I like to think about it sometimes. The most likely explanations for the skipped notes in most cases is likely the same as the reason for skipping the $100 Billion through $5 Trillion notes in the 3rd dollar series – inflation had already rendered them undesirable before they could even be issued. The budget of the nation may have also played a role. One of the reasons for discontinuing the issuance of the money in 2009 is that the country couldn’t even buy paper / afford to print the notes anymore. Some of these denominations may have been omitted just because the government / RBZ only had so much money for printing new notes and they elected to go for larger denominations to… get more buck for their buck? It’s all a little crazy to think about.
  4. When the set was introduced around 2016 the Zimbabwean First Dollar Set Category (“1980-2004 Issues, P1-P12, Complete”) included slots for all the sub-types, so instead of a slot for P-4 there were 4 slots for P-4a, P-4b, P-4c, and P-4d. They later went back and reduced the set to just 12 slots – one for each pick #. I can only assume NGC decided to do this on their own because I don’t think anyone other than myself has ever had a set in this category so it’s hard for me to believe that someone else (a user / member) asked for or recommended this change. I made my set back in 2016 when they were first introduced to the registry. I went about two years without updating or adding to it after that – fatherhood and unemployment sucking up my time. So I didn’t notice the change in the set / slots until about two months ago when I started paying attention and building up the set again. Honestly, I like the change. It makes the set a lot more approachable and significantly easier to build – which was probably what NGC had in mind when they made the change. Collecting a full set of the pick #s for the first dollars is easy enough but building a set with all the sub-types would be expensive and hard. In particular, the 1980s notes that list the name of the Capital city as Salisbury instead of Harare (they changed the name of the city in 1982) seem hard to find. They just don’t seem to pop up very often. Now, since I just need a P-11 and I don’t have to care about it being a P-11a or P-11b – unless I want to. The set becomes easier to build – and a lot more fun too if I’m being honest. The whole thing just becomes less daunting. This change did hit my set a bit in that I’d bough both a P-4c and a P-4d at a time when they could both be listed in the same competitive registry set together. Now you can’t do that – not with a competitive set. But you can do it with a signature set and that’s exactly what I do these days. That is, after all, the beauty of this place with the signature sets. My P-4c and P-4d are both in my newly re-done and re-imagined signature set. I may yet have more instances in the future where I have more than one sub-type within a single pick. I think getting some things like that has a great potential to add depth to the set and strengthen it, but it’s great in a lot of ways to feel like I don’t have to. Part of the impact of this, at least to me going forward, is that it makes getting a new pick # that I don’t have an example of a lot more appealing than getting, say, a P-5b when I already have a P-5a in a comparable or better grade. I could definitely be interested in one day getting as many of the different sub-types as I can, but I think that will mostly wait until after I’ve acquired what I want and can find of the different pick #s.
  5. With a lot of aggressive expanding of my Zimbabwe set (from 11 notes to 25 notes now) I’m up to having my 1st dollars (P-1 through P-12) and 3rd dollars (P-65 through P-91) both over 50% complete. I also have all of sub-sets or sub-categories for the third dollars (the millions, billions, and trillions) at 50-100%. My overall Zimbabwe collection now includes about 25% of the total picks from P-1 to P-98 (P-100 if you include the new $2 and $5 bond notes, which I probably eventually will). Now that I have the 3rd dollars over 50% my next major challenge is going to be building up the 2nd dollar Bearer Checks and Agro Checks more since those are currently barely represented in the set. Pictures of the new notes have been lagging since the birth of my son but maybe I'll get to catch up soon.
  6. Since making the decision to return that ungraded 20 Trillion note my wife and I had said we’d sit down together once we got the refund and pick out what we were going to get instead. We got the refund on Tuesday 01/29. With the nature of being parents being what it is, we didn’t get to sit down together until shortly before bedtime on Friday 2/1, after the Ben was already in bed to pick out the new notes / purchase. I’d been looking at notes / options online for about a week at this point, so I was able to pull up about 11 options I’d been considering, and we talked about them together. I talked to my wife about each one and she even provided input on which ones we should chose based on which ones she thought were the prettiest. One option had been getting the 50 Billion note, graded by PMG, which would have completed my “Billions Series” set now that I Have the 20 Billion note. That note was being offered for $60 by the merchant so it would have pretty much been a direct item for item swap. My wife was surprised that I wasn’t leaning in that direction just to complete the Billions set, but, for the money, they had other things that were cheaper, looked better, and would contribute more to my overall set right now. I’m not ruling out getting the 50 Billion note later but it’s always been a harder sell for me. I acquired all of the rest of these notes mostly for $20-30. If I actually got that for the price they list it for it’d easily be the most expensive note in the set. Instead, they had several other notes that were graded 66 EPQ or 67 EPQ for S15-16 each. I could get four of those for about the same price as the price of that 50 Billion note and I thought that path could add a lot more to my set overall. So what did I go with? 1: P-12, the 2003, first dollar, 1,000-dollar note 2: P-8, the 1994, first dollar, 50-dollar note 3. P-33, the 1 cent, 2nd dollar note 4. P-71, 3rd dollar, 1000-dollar note Why these four? I was really wanting to get the 1,000-dollar first dollar note. It looks great, it’s the last and highest denomination first dollar issue before they started making the emergency checks. I see it as representing the beginning of the end for the currency. My wife and I also agree that the first dollar notes, in contrast to many of the later issues, are actually quite pretty and intricate in their design. I wasn’t initially going to get the 50-dollar note too, but, again, they’re some of the most attractive notes of the entire series and I do like the look of it. This may or may not lead to trying to get more of the first dollar notes. I wanted the 1 cent note because 1) it would be the first 2nd dollar note I’ve purchased, and 2) it’s just such an odd note. Much like the 100 Trillion note, it’s one of those crazy, freakish things that only happens in a hyperinflation situation. You would never normally see a 1 cent note. This note shows that it’s not always a story of big numbers on notes. There’s a broader selection of oddities and aberrations that occur. The 1,000 -dollar 3rd dollar note (P-71_ was selected because I’d been wanting to get another 3rd dollar note that extended my set back into the lower denominations of that series. Prior to this my lowest denomination in the 3rd dollar set was the 500,000-dollar note. I’d also considered getting the 20-dollar note from the 3rd dollar series. I’d thought the 20-dollar note (P-68) might be a better choice to continue the “trend” or the denomination choice with the 1983 and 1994 first dollar notes I have. $20 is also a significant / prominent denomination in the US. We went with the 1,000-dollar note because the 20 just doesn’t look as nice. The coloring just isn’t as appealing. I think hands down the most enjoyable part of the whole process was sitting down with Shandy and talking about the notes and the history and what I liked about each one and narrowing down the list of ~11 notes to four and ordering those four. (Yup, I totally paid $15 for a 1 cent bank note, but they’re all demonetized anyway so who even cares about face values anyway at this point?) Two of these notes – these already graded notes – were $15 and two were $16. So, the total purchase was $62 – versus the $60 charged for that ungraded 20 trillion note, which I still and will forever think was a rip-off given that other on eBay are offering those things graded by PMG for $40 in some cases. I think the $40 is still a little steep considering the popularity of these things seems to have waned over time, but it’s a lot more reasonable. In many cases these notes can be had ungraded for a couple of bucks from what I can see. The lowest grading fee tier for world bank notes at PMG right now is about $13-15 dollars depending on what kind of bulk submission you’re doing. So the difference in price on a lot of these is just enough to cover the grading fee, if that, over the cost of an ungraded note. But even then, they don’t sell a lot of them at these prices – I’m guessing because I’m one of the small few that sees value in collecting these things as graded notes (and I’m apparently about the only one that feels like participating in the registry with them). I’m okay with that though. I have very specific reasons for why I want what I want with this set. The notes should be arriving in the mail today. This has re-ignited my interest in the set and so I'm probably going to be putting a little more money and a lot more time into this set / project this year to flush out some things that I feel are gaps in my collection.