IT may be widely scorned in its native Zimbabwe but the Zim-dollar remains an object of bemused curiosity elsewhere across the world where it is still traded for a tidy sum and in demand by some collectors.
And should they decide to keep the souvenirs, The Prince of Wales and the British Queen have become the latest collectors of the Zimbabwe dollar which was abandoned in 2009 after becoming worthless due to hyper-inflation.
Prince Charles and wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, were presented with the so-called bearer cheques Thursday in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, which they are visiting as part of their tour of the Middle East.
The royals visited the Manama Souk, the old bazaar in the city, where local shops sell souvenirs, carpets, gold and brightly-coloured lamps.
They also attended a reception with members of different faith communities and Ebrahim Noor, who was representing the Jewish community, handed the Prince two Zimbabwe dollar bills worth 100 trillion dollars.“Thank you very much,” said Charles.
Noor, who gave the Prince one 50 trillion note for himself and another for the Queen, said the notes came from Zimbabwe.
“I gave him a souvenir – one for him and one for his mum. They come from Zimbabwe where there was hyper-inflation,” Noor said.
“When I gave them to him I think he had an idea they were from Africa. The numbers are ridiculous.”
The Zimbabwe government officially abandoned the Zim-dollar for in 2009, although locals had long since given up on the currency opting for the more stable US dollar, South African Rand and Botswana Pula.
The multi-currency regime has remained in place since, but the lack of international financial support, foreign direct investment and poor export performance in a comatose economy has resulted in biting shortages of the preferred US dollar.
The crisis has forced the government to introduce a surrogate currency in a bid to ease the cash shortages.
The so-called bond notes are due to be introduced into circulation this month amid resistance from Zimbabweans who fear a local currency will bring back the hyperinflationary mayhem of 2007/08.