Gradually, Then Suddenly
ZIM60*, 2008, 500 Million ZWN

Slot Comment:

2nd Dollar Emergency Bearer Check - ZA Prefix Replacement Note $500,000,000

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Note Details


Set Details

Note Description: 500 Million Dollars RBB1 2008
Grade: 64 EPQ
Country: Zimbabwe
Note Number: ZIM60*
- Sign. #8
Certification #: 8047604-006
Owner: Revenant
Set Category: World
Set Name: Gradually, Then Suddenly
Slot Name: ZIM60*, 2008, 500 Million ZWN
Research: See PMG's Census Report for this Note

Owner's Description

This ZIM60 is a replacement note or a “star” note as they’re often called because the US Federal Reserve puts a star next to the serial number on replacement notes. With most Zimbabwean 3rd dollars the serial numbers start with “AA.” With the replacement notes the serial number starts with “ZA.”

The 500 Million Dollar Bearer Checks were the largest and last issue of the 2nd dollar Bearer check series. After this note the government / Reserve Bank issued a short series of four Special Agro Checks and that would prove to be the last of the 2nd dollar. The Special Agro Checks were not supposed to replace the Bearer checks – they were meant to be used only by famers – however, the Agro Checks ended up in general circulation and no more Bearer Checks were issued, even as food prices continued to rise exponentially. Because of this, and because there was no overlap or duplication of denominations between the two sets of checks, the Special Agro Checks became a defacto continuation of the “2nd Dollar series” and a replacement for / successor to this Bearer Checks series.

Where the balancing rocks are a major design feature on the front of the banknotes, with the checks of this series they appear only as part of the seal of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

On the back, the bearer checks of this series feature different designs, emphasizing things of national or cultural significance, much like the first dollar banknotes that came before them. In that regard, these bearer checks are a bit of a cross between the bearer checks and the banknotes of the first dollars in terms of design.

This note features the same artwork of the tiger fish and the Kariba dam that appears on the ZIM1, 2 dollar, 1st dollar banknote. That artwork also appears on the 500 dollar (ZIM43) and 10 million dollar bearer checks (ZIM55). This artwork also reappears in the 4th dollar series on the 5 dollar notes (ZIM93).

The Kariba Dam is a double curvature concrete arch dam in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The dam stands 128 meters (420 feet) tall and 579 meters (1,900 feet) long. The dam forms Lake Kariba which extends for 280 kilometers (170 miles) and holds 185 cubic kilometers (150,000,000 acre-ft) of water. It was designed by Coyne et Bellier and constructed between 1955 and 1959 by Impresit of Italy at a cost of $135,000,000 for the first stage with only the Kariba South power cavern. Final construction and the addition of the Kariba North Power cavern by Mitchell Construction was not completed until 1977 due to largely political problems for a total cost of $480,000,000. During construction, 86 men lost their lives.

The name “tigerfish” can refer to more than one species of fish. The species native to Lake Kariba is Hydrocynus vittatus. They’re prized as game fish and for trophy hunting. Even though they come from different zoological families the Tigerfish is considered the African equivalent of the South American piranha and it seems an apt comparison. The fish are muscular, aggressive, group-hunting predators with interlocking, razor-sharp teeth. They’re the first freshwater fish recorded and confirmed to catch birds in flight. Frankly, they look nasty and unpleasant. The note brags this up by showing the fish jumping from the water with its teeth out.

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