From the Lafayette Journal Courior Online:
By AMANDA HAMON
Walk into RamZ’s on Farabee Drive in Lafayette and you could walk out with $100 trillion.
In Zimbabwean money, that is.
Store owner Randy Ramsey said he recently bought 60 Zimbabwean $100 trillion notes — complete with colorful artwork — to add to the store’s wide collection of foreign and out-of-circulation currency.
The notes were available for purchase Tuesday, at $10 a bill.
“We had bought this as a novelty piece, and to show what inflation does,” said floor manager Chad Ramsey. “A hundred trillion is a really hard number to comprehend.”
The notes have been out of circulation in their African home country since June, Chad Ramsey said.
Before then, they were worth about 33 cents American.
In Zimbabwe, $100 trillion is about enough to buy three eggs, said sales associate Zach Briggs, who researched the currency.
The outrageous inflation suggested in that scenario makes the notes a lesson in economics, store workers said. Zimbabwe is home to one of the worst hyperinflation crises in the world thanks to an economy flushed with printed currency.
“It’s just flabbergasting to think of $100 trillion, but it could happen to any country if they continue to print money without anything to back it with,” Randy Ramsey said.
This is the first time Zimbabwean currency has been available at the store, which carries everything from jewelry to consumer electronics and more, Chad Ramsey said. The business bills itself as Lafayette’s oldest licensed pawn broker.
The Ramseys said they acquired the Zimbabwean notes from a Hoosier gold and silver supplier. They said they don’t know how the wholesaler came across the money.
The $100 trillion notes are the third version of that Zimbabwean denomination, the Ramseys said.
The country’s current $100 trillion bill was reprinted in June to eliminate some of its dizzying zeroes.
Randy Ramsey declined to say how much he paid for the $100 trillion bills, but he said the store already has sold a couple of the notes to customers.
So why sell something that was worth 33 cents for $10?
It’s based on the item’s novelty, how much the store paid for the notes and the fact that an out-of-state currency shop is selling them for $12, Randy Ramsey said.
The bills are sold individually and come with a plastic protector.
“We just like to have some cool stuff around here,” Briggs said. “People kind of have this fascination with having such a big bill.”