Gradually, Then Suddenly
ZIM91, 2008, 100 Trillion ZWR

Slot Comment:

3rd Dollar Banknote AA Prefix $100,000,000,000,000

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Note Details


Set Details

Note Description: 100 Trillion Dollars 2008
Grade: 67 EPQ
Country: Zimbabwe
Note Number: ZIM91
- Sign. #8
Certification #: 1529583-044
Owner: Revenant
Set Category: World
Set Name: Gradually, Then Suddenly
Slot Name: ZIM91, 2008, 100 Trillion ZWR
Research: See PMG's Census Report for this Note

Owner's Description

A report by the BBC dates the announcement of this note to the 16th of January 2009. That’s just 6 days after a news story ran with CNN, reporting the announcment of the $20 Billion and $50 Billion notes.

I think to fully understand this note you need to understand the fact that these are 3rd dollars and that these were made after two re-denominations. In the first 3 zeros were taken off the denominations / currency and in the second 10 were. So, in first dollars, this note is $1,000,000,000,000 000,000,000,000,000. Yup. That's 27 zeros; not 14. This note is equal to 1 octillion of the first dollars (ZWD). That's the part of this that you don't get from just looking at this one note / issue.

This banknote made a lot of headlines for being the first bank note with 14 zeros printed out (a dizzying amount to be sure). There have been higher denominations in the past, but they found ways to shorthand the denomination. During the hyperinflation of the Hungarian pengo in the 1946’s they would refer to “milpengo” and “bilpengo,” which were 1 million and 1 trillion pengo, respectively. So, a Hungarian 1,000,000,000 bilpengo note is 1 Billion Trillion pengo, or 1 sextillion pengo (a 1 with 21 zeros behind it). I believe that is technically the highest denomination ever achieved. From the foregoing discussion, Zimbabwe could have achieved those levels, but the redenominations that occurred during their hyperinflation prevented it.

In 2008, inflation rates in Zimbabwe peaked at 89.7 sextillion percent and a single egg could cost “well over a billion dollars.”

At these price levels you begin to run into certain practical limits in the modern era. By late 2008, ATMs were returning “data overflow error” in response to customers trying to withdraw such large sums of money. These difficulties forced the government into the release of the 4th dollar in 2009, which removed 12 zeros from the currency. The Hungarians didn’t have to deal with computerized banking systems in the 1940s.

In mid-2015 the Zimbabwean government finally began the formal, final demonetization of the Zimbabwean dollar. The Zimbabwean government stated that it would credit US$5 to domestic bank accounts, with balances of up to 175 quadrillion ZWL, and that it would exchange Zimbabwean dollars for US dollars at a rate of US$1 to 35 quadrillion ZWL to accounts with balances above 175 quadrillion ZWL.

The Zimbabwe regular banknotes feature an image of the Chiremba balancing rock formation - three balancing rocks that are in Matobo National Park. The image of the stones was chosen as a metaphor for balancing development and environmental protection following the country’s transition from white-ruled Rhodesia to the majority black ruled Zimbabwe. The Matobo Hills are composed entirely of granite and it makes for some unique and interesting formations.

The back side of the Trillions Series notes all feature a pair of images that have some kind of national, cultural or economic significance to Zimbabwe. These images are different on each denomination though some of the images seem to have been used more than once on different denominations throughout the series.

The 100 Trillion dollar banknote uses an image of Victoria Falls and an image of a Cape Buffalo (African Buffalo). The image of Victoria Falls looks like it might be a re-use of the artwork previously used on ZIM30, ZIM32, ZIM40, and ZIM41. This image of the falls also appears on ZIM65 (1 ZWR), and ZIM73 (20,000 ZWR). The Cape Buffalo image was previously used on ZIM65 (1 ZWR), ZIM75 (100 000 ZWR) and ZIM79 (50 Million ZWR). The Cape Buffalo is a popular target for recreational / sport hunting by tourists. ZIM65 (1 ZWR) uses both of the same images as ZIM91, in the same positions, with different colors applied.

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