Trading in the useless

8 08 2008

Janice’s ears pricked almost visibly when she heard that I had a 100 note bundle of the old $1000 notes. Not only were they mint but they were still in the RBZ wrapper. To give you an idea of their worth you should divide by 1×10 to the power 13. That’s best done in Excel as 1e13. Actually don’t bother because Excel will just leave it in that scientific notation. The real point is Janice had a use for them even if they were useless as currency.

It seems that Zimbabwe notes actually DO have a value to collectors on the internet. Janice has a lucrative little business trading them to collectors; preferably if they are new and in a bundle (like mine) or a complete set. There is of course nothing new in trading in waste products (the used peat moss that we use in the nursery as a growing medium is a good example)  the skill in Janice’s case is leaking just enough onto the market without flooding it. No, she was not interested in the bags of bearer cheques behind my desk that I was hoping someone would steal.

Squirrel syndrome

6 08 2008

It’s common to most Zimbabweans; squirrel syndrome. After all you just never know when that completely useless, non-functioning old shock absorber from a car that ceased to be made 25 years ago might become useful again! So I was not at all surprised to see a woman at the checkout counter of a supermarket with a very large bag of old coins that had become useful legal tender again after some, oh, four years or so. She and the teller had counted out a good 500 dollars and were still going strong. Hey, it had face value again which means it was worth 5,000,000,000,000 of the old notes which are also still legal tender.

The new notes are out and I have actually seen some though the bank had run out of everything this afternoon so I had to check some out at a local cafe. They are real money too, not these Bearer Cheques that we have had to put up with for so long. The biggest note is $500 which makes it, oh what the hell, you add the 10 zeros of the old denomination! There are even some coins too. One of them, I forget the denomination, has the head of a Cape buffalo on it though it looks more like a cow with big horns. Well, somebody must have had an awful lot of faith to go to this expense (ok, ok, somebody made a lot of money too). Me? I give it three months at the outside to become worthless again.