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The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 2, January 9, 2011, Article 24

TOURISTS LOVE ZIMBABWE 100 TRILLION DOLLAR BANKNOTES

An E-Sylum readers spotted this Associated Press article for us. Those Zimbabwe hyperinflation notes are becoming popular souvenirs for tourists. -Editor

Zimbabwe 100 Trillion Banknote Western visitors to Zimbabwe are looking for zeros. They're snapping up old, defunct Zimbabwe bank notes, most notably the one hundred trillion Zimbabwe dollar bill, as an economic souvenir.

The one hundred trillion Zimbabwe dollar bill, which at 100 followed by 12 zeros is the highest denomination, now sells for $5, depending on its condition. That bill and others among them millions, billions and trillions, were abandoned nearly two years ago, when the American dollar became legal tender in the hopes of killing off the record inflation that caused all those zeros.

"I had to have one," said Janice Waas on a visit to the northwestern resort town of Victoria Falls. "The numbers are mind bending." She got her so-called "Zimdollar" in pristine condition, from a street vendor who usually sells African carvings.

"It's perfect if you like puzzles, calculus and things like Rubik's Cube," she said.

Janice's husband Thomas Waas, a physicist and engineer from Germany, said if the population of the world is 7 billion people, every single person could be a given thousands of old Zimbabwe dollars from this single 100 trillion note.

Janice Waas said Westerners were buying the bills for their curiosity value. An Australian wanted one to display in his local bar back home.

Street vendors said visitors had been so intrigued by the Zimbabwe bills that they were now running out of them, two years after a power sharing deal between longtime ruler President Robert Mugabe and the former opposition leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, made the old currency redundant.

To read the complete article, see: Visitors Snap Up 100 Trillion Zimbabwe Bank Notes (www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=132580382)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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