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African Paper Money

African paper money is storied due to the prolonged unrest in the region, with South Africa having a particularly interesting history. The earliest South African banknotes originated in 1782, when the governor of the settlement was unable to import enough coins from Holland. Since South Africa was quite far from the homeland, the governor had to resort to handwriting paper money, stamping them with a government seal to prove authenticity.

Starting in 1837, private banks were opened in South Africa. Many of these banks issued their own paper money, giving antique South African bills a rich historical texture. Eventually, almost all of the smaller private banks were acquired by larger imperial banks, which continued to provide banknotes until the Republic of South Africa was established in 1962.

2008 series Zimbabwean paper money was printed in some absurdly enormous bills, and is a popular target for collectors as a result. Due to hyperinflation within Zimbabwe's government, bills were printed ranging from $50,000 in late October 2008 to $100 trillion in mid-January 2009.


Quick Facts

  • Fuel ration coupons circulated as currency in Zimbabwe from 2005-2008 in denominations ranging from one to 50 litres of gasoline, kerosine, or diesel
  • Nigeria printed a commemorative note in 2014 to celebrate its centennial. This note features a QR code box on the reverse, which sends scanners to a website explaining Nigeria's history
  • A Bank of Egypt proof banknote sold for just over $83,000 at auction in 2014. The note featured King Farouk, but was never circulated due to a military coup several months later

Recommended Items at Auction

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1972-86 Central Bank Gambia 5 Dalasis Note Pick# 5b PMG Gem Uncirculated 65EPQ
Oct 02, 7:00 AM PDT
1972-86 Central Bank Gambia 5 Dalasis Note Pick# 5b PMG Gem Uncirculated 65EPQ
by BK Auctions
Est: $160- $190
$10 Bids
1934A $10 North Africa WWII Emergency Issue Silver Certificate Note
Oct 01, 7:00 AM PDT
1934A $10 North Africa WWII Emergency Issue Silver Certificate Note
by BK Auctions
Est: $50- $60
$10 Bids
1980-84 Banque Etats Chad Africa 1000 Francs Note Pick# 7 PMG Choice Uncirculated 63
Sep 28, 8:00 AM PDT
1980-84 Banque Etats Chad Africa 1000 Francs Note Pick# 7 PMG Choice Uncirculated 63
by BK Auctions
Est: $180- $210
$10 Bids

Sellers Who Sell African Paper Money


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