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Notes Of The Chiremba Rocks, Hwange Power Station: 500 Dollars (Zimbabwe, 1994)-Article

Updated: Apr 18

This colorful Zimbabwean banknote represents the 6th denomination of the First Dollar (Chiremba Rocks Series). The "Chiremba Rocks" Series, receives it's name from the Chiremba Balancing Rocks featured on every denomination. This series was issued from 1994-2004 and represented the last issued notes of the First Dollar.

Notably the main series (5-100 Dollars) was issued from 1994-1997. As replacements for earlier First Dollar banknotes, issued from 1980-1994. The larger 500 and 1000 Dollar notes were issued latter, in 2001 and 2003 respectively.


The observe prominently features the famous Chiremba Balancing Rocks, at Matobo National Park. Behind the illustration are "diamond" cells, with microprint number 500s inside. Moving toward the note's center is an illustration of a pink Desert Rose flower.

Notably all denominations of the Chiremba Rocks Series featured a native flower, at their center. Additionally all notes of the series featured their value (in this case "FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS"), overprinted on the flower. The Desert Rose is repeated example, also appearing on the 5 Dollar note.

The before mentioned flower also acts as the center of the note's underprint. All notes of the series featured a sprawling 2-tone guilloché pattern, which varied between denominations. This denomination shifts to a turquoise tone, along the left side.

Above the note's header simply lists the issuing body as the "RESERVE BANK OF ZIMBABWE". While the footer includes the bank "Governor" signature and states the note was issued at "HARARE", in 2001. The city of Harare being the Zimbabwean capital.

The observe features a number of security elements. The note utilizes a dual-serial number (AD6117360). The first serial number is black inked, located below the header. While the second is red inked and vertical, located at the far left. Dual ink colors are purposely used, to complicate production for would be counterfeiters.

To the lower right of the governor's signature, is a textured security stamp. This stamp features a hidden 6-point "flower" and directional microprint. Inside the "flower" are the letters "RBZ", represents the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Notably the color of the stamp and its hidden image changes between denomination. In addition to the decorative spire above it.

The note's "500" dollar value is repeated on each corner. Although the lower right is unusual, instead featuring 3 number "500"s. It depicts a pair of Plains Zebra, on a field of grass. The lower right numbers alternate from outline to solid, making it more difficult for counterfeiters.

The watermark features the "Zimbabwe Bird", an artifact from the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. Backlighting the note will also expose a hidden vertical security strip. Located at the letter "K" in "BANK, on the header. It reads "RBZ 500", for Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe 500 (Dollars).


The reverse depicts the Hwange Power Station, the largest power plant in Zimbabwe. The plant was initially built by Zimbabwe's predecessor, the Republic of Rhodesia. Although due to international sanctions wasn't completed until 1987, by Zimbabwe.

Notably the reverse features some similar and altered elements from the observe. For example the underprint follows a similar pattern, although differs in overall tone. The textured stamp has been changed to a brown 6-point "star", overlaid by 3 lines. The shape of the spire has also been altered, now featuring orb-like patterns inside.

Just as the observe, the reverse also features number "500"s on each corner. Including the Plain Zebra pair at the lower left. A keen eye will notice these zebras are subtly printed orange, rather than yellowish-green. The grass beneath them and number 500s have also been changed to orange.

First Dollar Gallery (Series 1994)

(Gallery contains only banknotes within the database)


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 155 x 78 mm or 6.10 x 3.07 in, larger than a US Dollar.

  • The preferable method to preserve this note are large size protective sleeves.

  • This note was demonetized on 21 August 2006, with the adoption of the Second Dollar.

  • Desert Rose sap is traditionally used to tip poison arrows, for large game hunting.

  • Due to rising inflation the most First Dollar banknotes were superseded by the short-lived Travellers' Cheque, in 2003.

  • Travellers' Cheque were unpopular, as banks charged the bearer a commission fee, for receiving and depositing them.


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