Rhodesian dollar

The dollar (R$) was the currency of Rhodesia between 1970 and 1980. It was subdivided into 100 cents.

Rhodesian dollar
1 dollar note
ISO 4217
Banknotes1, 2, 5, 10 dollars
Coins12, 1, ​2 12, 5, 10, 20, 25 cents
User(s) Rhodesia
Central bankReserve Bank of Rhodesia
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.


The dollar was introduced on 17 February 1970, less than a month before the declaration of a republic on 2 March 1970. It replaced the pound at a rate of 2 dollars to 1 pound. The dollar proved to be a strong currency, at parity with the pound sterling right up to the very end of Rhodesia in 1980, when it was replaced by the Zimbabwean dollar at par. However, the Rhodesian dollar was never a fully convertible currency and its exchange rate was therefore not an indication of the underlying economics.

Half pound

In adopting the Rhodesian dollar, Rhodesia followed the pattern of South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand in that when it adopted the decimal system, it decided to use the half pound unit as opposed to the pound unit of account. The choice of the name dollar was favoured by the then Minister of Finance, John Wrathall, who regarded it as having international substance.[1]


On 17 February 1970 the Rhodesian dollar was introduced and was par to the Pound; the currency was factured as follows - bronze ​12 and 1 cent and cupro-nickel ​2 12 cent coins were introduced, which circulated alongside the earlier coins of the Rhodesian pound for 5, 10, 20 and 25 cents, which were also denominated in shillings and pence. New 5 cent coins were introduced in 1973, followed by 10, 20 and 25 cents in 1975. Coins were issued until 1977.


On 17 February 1970, the Reserve bank of Rhodesia introduced notes in denominations of 1, 2 and 10 dollars.[2] 5 dollar notes were added in 1972.

Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of issue
Obverse Reverse Denomination
Rhodesia1 Rhodesia1a 1 dollar Unknown Blue
Rhodesia2 Rhodesia2a 2 dollars Unknown Red
Rhodesia5 Rhodesia5a 5 dollars Unknown Orange(brown background)
Rhodesia10 Rhodesia10a 10 dollars Unknown Grey

Exchange rate history

This table shows the historical value of one Rhodesian dollar.

Date Official Rate Free / Parallel Rate notes
1970 (Feb) USD 1.40 - Parallel market starts 1970 (July)
1971 (Aug) ZAR 1.00 (- 30%) ZAR 0.769 Pegged to the ZA Rand
1971 (Dec) USD 1.52 (- 30% to 40%) USD 1.09 to USD 1.17 US dollar devalued
1972 (July) floated (- 20% to 30%) Floated at same time GBP was floated
1972 (Oct) USD 1.52; ZAR 1.19 - -
1973 (Feb) USD 1.69 - USD devalued
1973 (Jun) USD 1.773; ZAR 1.19 - ZA Rand and R$ revalued against USD
1975 (Sep) USD 1.60; ZAR 1.34 - R$ devalued against USD and ZAR
1977 (Oct) USD 1.50; ZAR 1.30 (- 69%) USD 0.46; ZAR 0.40 R$ devalued against USD and ZAR
1980 (Mar) - - Pegged to flexible basket (FRF, DEM, ZAR, CHF, GBP, USD)
1980 (Apr) - - Replacement by the Zimbabwean dollar Z$1 = R$1
1981 - - Rhodesian dollar demonetised under Statutory Instrument 378 of the Government of Zimbabwe


  1. ^ Unpopular Sovereignty: Rhodesian Independence and African Decolonization, Luise White, University of Chicago Press, 2015, page 124
  2. ^ Linzmayer, Owen (2012). "Rhodesia". The Banknote Book. San Francisco, CA: www.BanknoteNews.com.

External links

Preceded by:
Rhodesian pound
Reason: decimalization
Ratio: 2 dollars = 1 pound
Currency of Rhodesia
(Zimbabwe since 1980)

1970 – 1980
Succeeded by:
Zimbabwean dollar
Reason: independence recognized
Ratio: at par

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