Zimbabwe releasing new $10, $20 notes for circulation
- Published: May 25, 2020, 8 AM
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced that it was releasing a new $10 bank note on May 19 and that it will be followed by a $20 note going into circulation during the first week of June.
While updated with current security features, the faces of both notes have the standard design used on all Zimbabwean currency since the 1980s up to and including the legendary worthless $100-trillion denomination — a vignette of the Chiremba Balancing Rocks in Epworth, about 8 miles from Harare.
The back of the orange $10 note shows a quartet of water buffalo and Harare’s 28-story Reserve Bank Tower. The blue $20 note depicts an elephant in front of a rendition of Victoria Falls.
The bank disclosed six of the notes’ obvious security features: a recognition feature for the visually impaired; a latent image showing the denomination; optically variable ink with a color shift from magenta to green or green to azure; a security thread with “RBZ 10” or “RBZ 20”; a watermark with “RBZ 10” or “RBZ 20”; and a see-through window of the golden bird, the national symbol, on either side.
The Reserve Bank has usually refused to disclose where Zimbabwe’s bank notes are printed, but the website Zimlive revealed that a Boeing 747 registered to Air Atlanta Icelandic of Iceland unloaded 66 tons of bank notes after arriving in Harare from Leipzig, Germany, on the morning of May 14.
Zimlive speculates that based on the flight’s origin, the printing was probably done at the Leipzig branch of Munich’s Giesecke & Devrient. The Munich-headquartered company has a history of doing business with Rhodesia and its successor state Zimbabwe as far back as 1965.
An “official request” from the German government compelled the firm to stop printing Zimbabwean bank notes in 2008 in reaction to political sentiments against the human rights violations committed under the authoritarian regime of Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, who resigned in 2017 and died in 2019.
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