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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

See all items

Reserve Bank of Rhodesia, 1979, Replacement Banknote
Jul 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Reserve Bank of Rhodesia, 1979, Replacement Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $100- $200
$350 Bids
Banque Nationale du Rwanda, 2003, Specimen "Top Pop" Banknote
Jul 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Banque Nationale du Rwanda, 2003, Specimen "Top Pop" Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $120- $240
$250 Bids
Senegal - French Administration, Gouvernement General de l'A.O.F., 1917, Issued Banknote
Jul 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Senegal - French Administration, Gouvernement General de l'A.O.F., 1917, Issued Banknote
by Archives International Auctions, LLC
Est: $200- $400
$750 Bids
Congo 200 Franc (2013), Uncirculated (Bundle of 100)
Jul 14, 12:00 PM AEST
Congo 200 Franc (2013), Uncirculated (Bundle of 100)
by Smalls Auctions
Est: AUD150- AUD200
AUD1000 Bids
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades
Jul 14, 10:00 AM EDT
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$200 Bids
2007-2008 Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Third Dollar (ZWR) 1 Billion Dollars Note Grades Gem+ CU
Jul 14, 10:00 AM EDT
2007-2008 Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Third Dollar (ZWR) 1 Billion Dollars Note Grades Gem+ CU
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$150 Bids
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
Jul 14, 10:00 AM EDT
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$200 Bids
Lot of 10 2006-2008 Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Notes, Various Denominations
Jul 14, 10:00 AM EDT
Lot of 10 2006-2008 Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Notes, Various Denominations
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$1000 Bids
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
Jul 15, 10:00 AM EDT
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$150 Bids
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
Jul 15, 10:00 AM EDT
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$150 Bids
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
Jul 15, 10:00 AM EDT
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$200 Bids
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
Jul 15, 10:00 AM EDT
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$200 Bids
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
Jul 15, 10:00 AM EDT
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$200 Bids
2007-2008 Zimbabwe (ZWR 3rd Dollar) 20,000 Dollars Hyperinflation Note P# 73a Grades xf
Jul 15, 10:00 AM EDT
2007-2008 Zimbabwe (ZWR 3rd Dollar) 20,000 Dollars Hyperinflation Note P# 73a Grades xf
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$50 Bids
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
Jul 15, 10:00 AM EDT
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$200 Bids
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
Jul 14, 10:00 AM EDT
2008 100 Trillion Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Hyperinflation Note Grades CU
by Key Date Coins
Est: $25- $100
$200 Bids

Sellers Who Sell African Paper Money


Key Date Coins

Key Date Coins

Archives International Auctions, LLC

Archives International Auctions, LLC

Smalls Auctions

Smalls Auctions