Spirit of Giving

The latest stamp issue by Singapore Post is entitled ‘Spirit of Giving’. This pair of stamps which measures 73.8 mm by 76 mm each, is probably the largest non-miniature sheet stamp piece ever issued. It features the winning entries from an art competition organised by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) last year. In this competition, children below the age of twelve illustrated their thoughts about the spirit of giving.

To encourage volunteerism among members of the community, this stamp issue was released in conjunction with the 21st International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) World Volunteer Conference, which is held in Singapore from 24 to 27 January 2011 at Resorts World Sentosa. Also, SingPost will donate 50 cents to the NVPC with every purchase of the presentation pack or pre-cancelled first day cover.

Zimbabwe $100 Trillion Banknote

Two years ago on 16 January 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced the printing of the 100 trillion dollar banknote. At the time of announcement, this banknote was worth 300 US dollars, which meant that it would cost 300 billion Zimbabwe dollars for a loaf of bread.

Due to the effect of hyperinflation in the country, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had to print money in increasingly higher denominations. This was one of the worst hyperinflations in history, where prices doubled every 24.7 hours in the month of November 2008. The annual inflation was estimated at 6.5 x 10108 per cent as of December 2008. In order to regain confidence in the economy, the South African rand and the US dollar became the main currencies used for trade from April 2009.

Earlier this year, a news article by the Associated Press (AP) claimed that an increasing number of visitors to Zimbabwe bought these banknotes from street vendors. Although this banknote was not the largest denomination in history, it is certainly worth keeping one, as a souvenir. After the First World War, the Weimar Republic of Germany issued a 100 trillion Mark note. In 1946, the Hungarian National Bank introduced the 100 quintillion (1020) Pengo banknote into circulation, but the twenty zeroes were not printed out. In fact, a sextillion (1021) dollar note was printed but never issued.

In countries prone to hyperinflation, metallic coins are seldom minted. As the prices increase rapidly, these coins were commonly melted down for export due to its diminished face value. In fact, the Zimbabwean banknotes were gradually printed on paper of a lower quality as more zeroes were added.

On another note, three local banks in Singapore are rolling out new and crisp banknotes for the Chinese New Year from today onwards. They are OCBC, DBS and POSB. On Tuesday, new bundles of notes are available at OCBC, HSBC, Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank. Maybank will allow customers to exchange for new banknotes on Friday.

Year of the Rabbit 2011

The Year of the Rabbit is just around the corner, with three new stamps issued as part of the Zodiac series. The Rabbit is the fourth in the zodiac cycle of twelve animals.

The 1st Local stamp features a rabbit on a hot pink background and the Chinese character ‘chun’, which means ‘spring’. On the 65 c stamp, a rabbit is featured on an orange background together with the character ‘xi’, which translates to ‘happiness’. The slightly larger $1.10 stamp shows two rabbits jumping around.

The Collectors’ sheet features a special printing technique of offset printing on hot foiled golden metallic film with micro embossing and morphing effect on the $5 and $10 stamps. Every purchase of the Collectors’ sheet comes with a free set of red packets featuring the stamp design.

The annual Zodiac Fair is currently being held at the National Library Atrium until tomorrow. The fair opens at 10 am daily.