Saturday, March 12, 2016

Zimbabwe 100 Trillion Dollar Bills are Worth More than the Paper They are Printed On

Zimbabwe $100 Trillion Dollar Bill
Zimbabwe $100 Trillion Dollar Bill
Does anyone remember when Zimbabwe had what many economists believe was the highest inflation rate of any country in history? In 2008, Zimbabwe came out with a $100 billion bill. Then in 2009; inflation in Zimbabwe was so bad, that the country finally issued a  $100 trillion dollar bill - that's 100,000,000,000,000 Zimbabwe dollars.

Zimbabwe banknotes worth
about US$1 at the time
This happened because the government reported in July 2008 that they were experiencing inflation of 231 million percent (231,000,000%). However, the Libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute, believed that the real inflation rate was 89.7 sextillion percent , which numerically would look like  89,700,000,000,000,000,000,000%. It is incredible to think that in April of 2008, the country had inflation of 'only' 100,000%.

Inflation was so bad that the best way to explain it, since a picture is worth a hundred trillion words, is through pictures of people in Zimbabwe trying to use this extremely high inflation currency.

Zimbabwe bundle of bills
worth about $100 at that time 
The first picture shows a boy on his way to the market with hundreds of bills worth about one US dollar. The second shows a man with bundles of Zimbabwe bills worth about $100 US.

100 billion Zimbabwe dollars for 3 eggs
The third picture shows the purchase of three eggs. Price: 100 billion Zimbabwe dollars.

The fourth picture shows the payment for a meal at a Zimbabwe restaurant.
Fortunately, Zimbabwe now has their inflation under control, now that the country is allowing the use of foreign currencies, including the US dollar, for commerce.

So are these 100 trillion dollar bills worthless? No! The country's former high denomination bills have now become collector's items, mementos of runaway inflation. Currently, they are selling for almost $100 each, and for quantities of these Zimbabwe notes, you can still pick them up for around $50 each.
Bricks of Zimbabwe bills to pay
for a meal at a restaurant
People are now buying these hundred trillion dollar bills as birthday and Christmas gifts, turning their friends and relatives into "trillionaires" (in old Zimbabwe currency).

Pictures courtesy of


Thestopcopyingmegal said...

They need a new system, those are like our pennies. Barely worth anything.

Stockerblog said...

Actually, they do have a new system and they allow the use of US dollars, which helps. The 100 Trillion Dollar bills now have value as a collectible.