Over the summer, we took an almost three week trip to Africa. While there, we spent time in South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Ethiopia.
While we try not to buy too many souvenirs anymore, I was hoping to find a nice mask for my collection and some worthless, high denomination currency from Zimbabwe.
Due to hyperinflation, Zimbabwe released billion and trillion dollar bills in 2008.
While on a trip to Africa in 2008, I bought a Zimbabwean bill at a market in Cape Town. (I’m not sure which denomination bill I bought. I have to dig around to find it!) One thing for sure is that the bill had greater value as a souvenir than the value of the bill itself.
Since we were heading to Zimbabwe, I wanted to find more of these crazy bank notes as a souvenir.
I wasn’t sure where to look for a billion or trillion dollar bill but that didn’t matter, the bills found me.
On our walk to Victoria Falls from our hostel, touts ran over to us from every direction offering a variety of junk. However, some of these annoying salesman had sets of high denomination bills.
It seemed like everyone was offering sets of six bills which included:
- Five Dollars
- Ten Million Dollars
- Fifty Million Dollars
- Ten Billion Dollars
- Twenty Five Billion Dollars
- Fifty Billion Dollars
For a price, I could become a quick billionaire, but could I become a trillionaire?
If you’re wondering what the set of bills should cost, $5US is the price. (The touts all started out asking for $30-$50.)
After buying my souvenir bills, I asked a few touts about a trillion dollar bill. They all said it was very expensive but they could probably get one for me.
A couple of the dealers found us even after we were gone visiting Vic Falls for hours, on the way back to our hostel.
The opening price for a Ten Trillion Dollar bill was something crazy like $100. I offered $10.
After a lot of back and forth, yes the haggling was annoying, I settled on a price of $12US.Did I get a good deal? I really have no clue. However, for $12 I became a trillionaire and got rid of the very pushy and annoying touts.