Zimbabwe ‘funny money’ bond notes now a collector’s item on eBay

HANG your heads in shame, all you haters that have mocked Zimbabwe’s bond note and doubted its value.

Not only has the bond note maintained its value, against all expectations, it is now more valuable than the US dollar.

Well, at least on eBay, the online auction site.

For up to US$7, you can now buy the US$2 bond note, 250 percent above its official face value at home. The US$5 bond note, which was released on February 2 this year, fetches US$17,59, over three times its nominal value.

Hit by massive cash shortages, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) introduced the bond note in 2016, and pegged it at par with the US dollar on the back of a US$250 million fund from the African Export Import Bank. RBZ has to date issued US$94 million worth of bond notes onto the market.

The RBZ calls the bond note an export incentive, a deliberate twist of PR meant to ease the note’s acceptance in an economy still traumatised by memories of the Zimbabwe dollar.

The Zimbabwe dollar itself, put out of circulation in 2009 and officially decommissioned in 2014, is now a collector’s item. Zimbabwe dollar notes are sold on the streets to tourists and banknote collectors. The US$100 trillion note, the highest of the notes issued in 2008 as inflation peaked at over 500 million percent, is a much prized collector’s item and fetches up to US$400 a piece on eBay and as much as US$100 on Zimbabwean streets.

The bond note is only legal tender inside Zimbabwe, but it is being sold on eBay by punters from anywhere from Ukraine to Ireland. One post advertises a “full bundle of 100 Zimbabwe 2 dollar bond notes” for US$675. Another is selling five Zimbabwe bond coins, ranging from one to 50 cents, for US$11,99. The bond coins were issued in 2014.

A rather overambitious seller is offering “100 new issue bimetal coins” for US$1,100.

While the bond notes punches above its weight on eBay, RBZ is working overtime to maintain the note’s US dollar parity in Zimbabwe. RBZ has limited circulation and ordered banks not to separate bond and US dollar accounts.

“This measure is essential to ensure that bond notes continue to trade at parity with the US$ and to reflect the fact that bond notes are supported by the US$200 million offshore facility to support the demand for foreign exchange attributable to bond notes,” central bank says in its latest monetary policy, released last week.

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