Markets in everything: Gresham’s Law inverted

by on July 19, 2008 at 7:17 pm in Economics | Permalink

Zimbabwean bank notes.  They’re selling above face value in many cases.  The 50 billion note [sic] is going for about $12.

I thank David Welton for the pointer.

Update: Zimbabwe introduces $100 billion note.

1 Anonymous_Coward July 19, 2008 at 7:46 pm

That’s just [sic]

2 Hei Lun Chan July 19, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Am I the only one who thinks the smaller bills would be more interesting? The Zimbabwe government is printing these bills in large quantities, and it’s almost certain that before the regime collapses they’ll be printing $200b bills, $500b bills, etc., So these $50b and $100b bills would be nothing special. Also, their value is about one US dollar, within an order of magnitude, so again, nothing special.

A Zimbabwe one dollar bill, on the other hand … I don’t know how rare those are, but I’d imagine most of them have already been destroyed. And imagine owning something that is literally worth less than one billionth of a dollar!

3 themightypuck July 19, 2008 at 11:53 pm

I’m with Jeff.

I suspect it is hard to get 100 billion dollar notes out of Zimbabwe (or at least dangerous). Otherwise I bet an enterprising person could put them up for sale here in the USA. It would probably be considered bad taste to start some save Zimbabwe charity offering these things in exchange for contributions of a certain level.

4 Alex F July 20, 2008 at 4:21 am

I’m holding out for the even trillion.

5 nyongesa July 20, 2008 at 8:27 am

There’s a great picture in the current issue of the economist, of a man holding up a sign with the inscription:

“starving billionaire”

6 Peter July 20, 2008 at 8:23 pm

I bought some to frame and hang at the office. I did get some on ebay, and I know I paid more than the official exchange rate. I look at it as a form of charity, or art, or both; like buying lemonade from the neighbor’s kid’s stand when you’re not really thirsty. They came DHL, so it wasn’t likely to be plundered by the postal workers (a past Russian girlfriend mentioned that birthday cards in Russia also had a habit of “breaking open” in transit), and shipping more than doubled the cost of getting them. Besides, this is about the only way I can be a “millionaire” with currency that could almost be used for Monopoly™ money. The largest one I have is a $100M note, so it looks like I need to troll ebay because my tastes are a little more expensive – I want to be a “billionaire” now!

7 gymquiz July 21, 2008 at 3:25 pm

I keep thinking of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Botted Imp” He’d have
a lot of chances now to sell that damn Imp!

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