The Iraqi Dinar — a currency so hyper-inflated as to be virtually worthless in the real world — is gaining fresh value among collectors.

In the three weeks since the start of war in Iraq, sellers of bank notes have seen a surge in demand from collectors for currency containing images of Saddam Hussein.

On websites of currency dealers and on eBay, merchants say prices, particularly for higher-denomination bank notes, have increased appreciably even as the actual buying power of the Dinar continues to decline.

George Lindgren, who sells bank notes on eBay, calls it the Saddam Dinar bubble.