A craze for “ancient”coins and old $2 and $5 dollar notes that were in circulation at the time of independence has hit Masvingo.
Buyers have converged on Masvingo from as far as South Africa, offering up to $1 500 for a coin.
A survey by NewsDay revealed that a 1953 penny with a hole in the middle is fetching around $70 with a tickey (two-and-half pence) fetching around $1 500.
A smaller penny with King George’s portrait is fetching in the region of $100.
The coins are believed to be fetching much as collectors’ items in South Africa.
Fortune-seeking teachers who had come to collect their salaries from banks in Masvingo had handfuls of coins, asking for interested middlemen.
One South African website, (www.bidorbuy.co.za) is advertising the auctioning of such coins.
At the latest auction, according to the website, one coin was bought at $25 000.
“I heard of the rush last week after some people had come to the villages asking for these coins and offering villagers amounts like $10 for a coin, yet they re-sell them at a higher price. I have got a collection of the coins after getting them from villagers,” said a teacher from a rural school near Masvingo town, clutching a bagful of coins.
Another “currency trader” told NewsDay the old $2 note with birds facing each other fetches $200 while the old $5 note with two women pounding, gets $800.
The rush for the Rhodesian currency comes barely three months after another recent hunt for old cast iron pressing irons and three-legged pots.