Pittman Family ZWD, 1st Dollar, Bankotes
10 DOLLARS 1980-1984 ISSUE P3

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Note Details

Set Details

Note Description: Zimbabwe, Reserve Bank
10 Dollars 1983 - Harare
Grade: 66 EPQ
Country: ZIM
Note Number: ZIM3d
- Wmk: Zimbabwe Bird
- Sign. #2
Certification #: 8090774-001  
Owner: Revenant
Sets Competing: Pittman Family ZWD, 1st Dollar, Bankotes  Score: 85
Date Added: 8/12/2021
Research: See PMG's Census Report for this Note

Owner's Description

A feature present throughout the many series that I find interesting is that they all say “I promise to pay the bearer on demand … for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.” Even the regular banknotes say this - not just the emergency checks.

In the not-too-distant past all notes were redeemable in and promises to pay specie - gold or silver. This language is very similar to the language you would find on US silver and gold certificates and currency from around the world from this same period when notes were redeemable. However, it does not seem that the Zimbabwean dollar was ever backed by or exchangeable for silver, or anything else. These notes are more like US Federal Reserve Notes, whereby the note itself is the money. If these notes are merely promises to pay dollars, the question arises, what are the dollars?

Well… apparently nothing – they are just words.

While the US and the Federal Reserve removed the “Promise to pay” language from the currency when we switched from Silver Certificates to Federal Reserve notes, not every country did. England and the Bank of England keep the language on their note and their notes still said “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of X pounds for the gov and gom of the Bank of England” long after you could no longer redeem those notes for anything but paper. It is just something their money has to say apparently.

Zimbabwe, before it was Zimbabwe and it was still Rhodesia, was an English colony / holding and so their money draws a lot of inspiration from English money and monetary tradition. So, Zimbabwe and the RBZ retained the “promise to pay” language apparently even though they called the currency a “dollar” - presumably after the US dollar - which did not retain this language after redeemability ended.

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 of this note depicts the “Eternal Flame of Freedom” / “Flame of Independence” along with some modern high-rise buildings. The Eternal Flame is located at the top of a 40-meter-tall obelisk in the National Heroes Acre, near Harare. It was lit at independence celebrations in 1982. The tower is the highest point in the 57-acre park and the flame can be seen day and night throughout much of Harare. The actual monument - dedicated to those that fought in the war of independence, called the Second Chimurenga - is modeled after two AK-47s lying back-to-back; the graves are meant to resemble AK magazines. It is an early example of work of the North Korean firm Mansudae Overseas Projects. It closely mirrors the design of the Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery in Taesong-guyok, just outside Pyongyang, North Korea.

This P-3d is a note I bought raw and sent in for grading myself in Aug 2021.

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