Gradually, Then Suddenly
ZIMUNL2a, 2019, 2 ZWD

Slot Comment:

ZWD Banknote AA Prefix

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Note Details


Set Details

Note Description: Zimbabwe, Reserve Bank
2 Dollars
Grade: 67 EPQ
Country: Zimbabwe
Note Number: ZIMUNL2a
- Wmk: Zimbabwe Bird & RBZ
Comment: Exceptional Paper Quality
Certification #: 8070134-015
Owner: Revenant
Set Category: World
Set Name: Gradually, Then Suddenly
Slot Name: ZIMUNL2a, 2019, 2 ZWD
Research: Currently not available

Owner's Description

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti did not get the demonetization of the Bond Notes that he’d argued in favor of in 2018.

On 2/20/2019 the “Zollar” “quasi-currency,” pegged to the US dollar at a 1:1 ratio, represented by the bond notes, became the official currency of Zimbabwe – called the RTGS dollar, consisting of the bond notes and electronic money. The Bond Notes and electronic money would be converted or merged into the new currency with a 1:1 parity and then they would float against the US dollar. The name of the currency would come from the country’s interbank online payment platform – Real Time Gross Settlement, ‘RTGS.’ The RTGS dollar used the ZWL currency code that the 4th dollar had used in 2009.

This cannot be thought of as a true revival or f or remonetization of the old 4th dollar notes. The old notes were not remonetized and still are not legal tender. However, there was no “4th redenomination” to establish an official exchange rate between the RTGS and the prior currencies. In that sense, the RTGS dollar was an attempt at a new, fresh start and does not have any real linkage to the old sequence of currencies represented by the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th dollars.

In the days leading up to the announcement the government and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) were actively denying claims that they were looking to introduce a new currency. Some local economists called the move a “bold and progressive” step. Others saw the move as a sophisticated plan to take control of the US dollar denominated savings held by the population – in part because they took the foreign currency balances of the people, converted them to the new currency and, in June 2019, abolished the multi-currency system in the country. The government also banned the use of foreign currencies for transactions in the county.

Shakespear Hamauswa, a businessman and lecturer, sued the government and called the RTGS a “ponzi currency,” used to “monetize the theft” of the US$ balances of the people accumulated in the last 10 years. Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the major opposition group, said, “The monetary policy statement is a disaster that will erode livelihoods, plunge the nation into darkness and uncertainty.”

Whether he was right or wrong, it did not last long regardless. The government announced that yet another new currency was coming in June 2019 and said, in October 2019, that new $2 and $5 notes for the new currency would be coming in November 2019.

The new notes issued in late 2019 (this is one of them) used the same design as the bond notes that had been issued just a few years prior, but the new issues removed the words “Bond Note” from the front and back of the notes. This re-use of an existing note design for a new series is a break with previous changes in currency system implemented by the RBZ, but it was probably done in this case because the bond notes were still being honored at face / on par with the new currency.

The Chiremba rocks remain on the front of the notes, as always. The $2 bond note uses an updated image of the Freedom flame, which has long appeared on Zimbabwean currency, on the back.

It is interesting to think that, at the time the RTGS dollar and these notes were announced, Zimbabwe had only been in existence in its current form for 39 years. At the time these came out, Zimbabwe had been without a national currency for 10 years. So, when these came out, Zimbabwe hadn’t had its own national currency for over 25% of the time it had been a state.

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