Gradually, Then Suddenly
ZIMUNL10a, 2020, 10 ZWD

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Note Details


Set Details

Note Description: 10 Dollars Pick Unlisted 2020
Grade: 67 EPQ
Country: Zimbabwe
Note Number: ZIMUNL10a
Certification #: 8074009-078
Owner: Revenant
Set Category: World
Set Name: Gradually, Then Suddenly
Slot Name: ZIMUNL10a, 2020, 10 ZWD
Research: Currently not available

Owner's Description

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced in mid-May 2020 that new $10 and $20 bank notes would be released at the end of May and the first week of June, respectively. A Boeing 747 arrived in Harare from Leipzig Germany on the morning of May 14th 2020 and unloaded 66 tons of bank notes – think about that! 66 tons of cash! While the RBZ doesn’t disclose who does their printing, it is speculated, based on this, that the Leipzig Branch of Munich’s Giesecke & Devrient is making these notes for the RBZ. An “official request” from the German government compelled the firm to stop making banknotes for Zimbabwe in 2008, but the company has been doing printing for the country since 1965, when it was still Rhodesia.

The government stopped trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) on June 29th in a move geared towards protecting the currency – which was still taking a beating and described as being “in free fall.” The closure lasted for more than a month and trading did not resume until August 3rd.

In late June 2020 the government increased the salaries of civil servants by 50% and gave them a “Covid-19 Allowance” of US$75 per month. Yes – the allowance they were paying to these government workers was in US dollars, not local currency. Even if you use the official exchange rates (75 ZWD to US$1 in June 2020), the salary for these workers is only US$40, meaning that this “allowance” is worth more than their salaries. If you use unofficial rates their pay would be much lower in US dollar terms. Government pensioners were to receive a US$30 monthly Covid-19 allowance, tax-free.

Officials have called the measures “transitory” and blamed it all on Covid-19 – not their fault, of course. A member of the central bank’s monetary policy committee, Eddie Cross, called the announcement “crazy,” and said he didn’t even think the country had enough US dollars / money in the bank to pay for it. He also called it “retrogressive” as it violated a “dedollarisation” program which was already facing resistance. Prior to this, the country had already started paying mine workers in US dollars and was now expanding this to the largest group of workers in the country. Cross believed this would lead private workers to demand the same. Jonathan Chew of Imara Asset Management Zimbabwe said the current multiple exchange rate system might be able to limp along a while longer but that this would ultimately lead to a “redollarisation” of the economy (a return to using the US dollar as the de facto medium of exchange and currency of the country).

These new notes issued in late mid-2020 likely use the same designs as would have been used by the bond notes that would had been issued as part of the aborted Bond Note series just a few years prior, but the new issues removed the words “Bond Note” from the front and back of the notes. We will never know for sure because $10 and $20 Bond Notes were never released, but in 2019 they used the same designs as the 2016 and 2017 Bond Notes, so there’s no reason to think this isn’t also the case for the 2020 issues (short of a formal / official statement from the RBZ denying this, which I have not seen).

The original $10 notes, the P-3, issued starting in 1980, was primarily red, like these notes and it is a very similar red – the fourth dollar $10 notes from 2009 (ZIM94) also had a similar red coloring. This note does not feature the “Eternal Flame of Freedom / “Freedom Flame” like the P-3 – that was used / featured on the $2 notes – but the back of the P-3 note does show several buildings in the background of the image and this note features a modern high rise building that looks a lot like the one that was used on the backs of some of the 3rd dollar notes – Look at ZIM71, ZIM87 and ZIM88 in the 3rd dollar set if you want to see what I mean. It probably wasn’t the best idea to use this if they were trying to not remind people of the 3rd dollars, but… 1) the images on the 3rd dollar notes were a lot smaller, 2) the people hadn’t forgotten the disastrous 3rd dollars anyway, 3) This is new artwork and, 4) the reuse of old imagery on these notes would have probably been the least of the problems / objections people had over these notes anyway, if it even came up.

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