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Notes Of The Chiremba Rocks, Victoria Falls: 20 Dollars (Zimbabwe, 1997)-Article

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

This colorful Zimbabwean banknote represents the 3rd 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 later, in 2001 and 2003 respectively.


The observe prominently features the famous Chiremba Balancing Rocks, at Matobo National Park. Behind the illustration is a grip of "triangular" cells, with microprint number 20s inside. Moving toward the note's center is an illustration of a Crimson Flag Lilly.

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 "TWENTY DOLLARS"), overprinted on the flower.

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 grayish hue, along the edges.

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 1997. The city of Harare being the Zimbabwean capital.

The observe features a number of security elements. The note utilizes a dual-serial number (DU2007628). 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 4-point star, with 4 inward facing arrows. The color of stamp and its hidden image changes between denomination. In addition to the decorative spire above it.

The note's "20" dollar value is repeated on each corner. Although the lower right is unusual, instead featuring 4 number "20"s. It depicts a pair of Cape Buffalo, on a field of grass. The lower right numbers alternate from an outline to solid form, 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 20", for Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe 20 (Dollars).


The reverse depicts the world famous Victoria Falls, the world largest waterfall. In the illustration we see an cloud of mist. This phenomenon lead to the Lozi people to name the falls, "The Smoke That Thunders". Victoria Falls forms part of the Zambia/Zimbabwe border.

Notably the reverse features some similar and altered elements from the observe. For example the underprint follows a similar pattern, although with a turquoise to brown multi-tone. The textured stamp has also been changed. Now featuring a 8-pointed "star" design, formed by 3 overlapping squares. The spire above also has a different guilloché pattern within it's interior.

Just as the observe, the reverse also features number "20"s on each corner. Including a pair of Cape Buffalo, at the lower right. Although these numbers are printed in a dull ochre (dark orange) ink, rather than blue-gray.

First Dollar Gallery (Series 1994)

(Gallery contains only banknotes within the database)


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 142 x 70 mm or 5.71 x 2.83 in, shorter than a US Dollar.

  • This preferable method to preserve this note are standard size protective sleeves.

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

  • Variants of the Crimson Flag Lilly are native throughout Southern Africa.

  • Due to rising inflation, First Dollar banknotes were partially replaced 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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