So, I’ve received the new 10-coin sets of Zimbabwean coins and I’m torn between being very happy and more than a little frustrated.
I haven’t closely examined all of these yet, but these new 10-coin sets are just significantly better than what I got last time buying from the other dealer. The 5C, 10C, $2, and even the $5 coins are vastly better even at first glance – Shandy even commented on how stark the contrast is. The ones from the new sets in some cases just straight up make the ones from the first dealer look sick. One or two of these “lightly circulated” $5 coins I think are uncirculated and will get MS63-MS65 grades, and I think they even look better than some other $5 coins I bought for about $7 a piece (after I was so disgusted by what I got in the original sets).
Just for fun, here’s a comparison of my shots of the AU58 1999 recently returned from NGC, under very high and unflattering magnification, vs the new 1997s from these sets. I feel it is worth saying that the AU58 1999 is a nice-looking coin in hand IMO but with this magnification and in this lighting it does look rough.
The “lightly circulated” $10 and $25 coins are basically on-par with what I got from the last dealer, but that’s okay - I knew what I was being offered this time. Though there is maybe one $10 coin that might be nicer than the others and might get a mint state grade - maybe a MS63/64 I think.
I am glad I have been snapping up 1980-dated Z cents though because all 5 of the coins I got in this group are 1997 dated. There’s something about 1997 for these 1 C coins. I’ve gotten eight 1C coins and they’re all 1997. I’ve seen multiple eBay auctions for 1997 cents and very little else. I’ve even seen someone offering a bag of 100 uncirculated Zimbabwe cents – but they’re all 1997. There is something about 1997… maybe one day I’ll figure out what that is! Lol
But 1980 seems common enough too for one reason or another – I’ve seen 2 dealers now offering lots of 25 uncirculated 1980s for $15-25 ($0.60-1.00 each). I’m guessing 1980s were hoarded back in the day for being the first year of issue for coins from a new country / currency. The 1997s seem stranger – they were not the last year of issue. 1999 was – but maybe they weren’t producing many by that point after producing a ton in 1997. Zimbabwe did not produce every denomination every year and only made cents in about 12 of 20 years.
But that’s 1980 and 1997. I’ve seen some from 1983 and 1988. Getting coins from 1986? 1989? 1991? 1994? 1999? Good luck… I have not seen them.
The 1C coins are otherwise similar to what I’ve gotten before - there are a couple of 1Cs that I think could do about as well as the MS65 I just got back from the first set. I don’t know if I’ll take the shot and see how the best of these can do in grading. Maybe, maybe not – depends on how much over budget I’m running at the time, I guess.
There was one sad coin that had a nice reverse, and then I flipped it over to see a huge, ugly scratch. Oof! … Sad times. Sad Times.
“’Tis but a scratch.” “’A scratch?’ Your arm’s off.” “Just a flesh wound.”
Where things are a little extra interesting - the 10C coins I got are from 1999, the last year of the Km-3a, before the switch to clad. So, these coins would be competition for the MS65 1980 coin I have, not the 2001 MS61 that is the coin I’d really want to upgrade, but I may submit the nicest of these anyway to add a 1999 to a possible future custom set with more coins & dates.
More interesting stuff (to me) - The fact that all of these were 1999 10Cs and all of the 5Cs were from 1997 and all the 1Cs were 1997 - which matches the dates of the coins that were part of a certain submission that went through NGC recently - has me wondering if this seller is also where someone else bought their coins. Am I once again sourcing my material from the same places as my main competition?
The 20C, 50C and $1 coins are a bit more mixed. Some of them have promise in the choice-but-not-gem-uncirculated range. I’ll look at these more closely later alongside the graded ones and decide if I feel strongly enough that these could do better to try sending 1 or 2 to NGC next year.
Looking at these, it’s hard to not feel a little like getting the others and then not just returning them and looking elsewhere was a mistake. But I don’t know that I can call it a complete misfire. I did get the MS65RD cent out of it. And it was a start, and a reasonable start at that. And I do still feel good about the way the grades largely lined up with what I’d expected in sending them in, suggesting that I am learning some things, even as my eyes have gotten worse with age and corneal scarring.
All of this buying of different lots is also giving me an increasing variety of dates, which may come into play later if I go beyond just a type set, and, I’ve just been enjoying getting to buy all these and put them in flips. I’ve enjoyed looking at all of them, and showing them to Shandy, and talking about them with her. I’ve gotten to enjoy the hunt and the chase with these in a way that I haven’t in a while and which you don’t get to have or enjoy in the same way when just buying pre-graded coins.
I ran out of flips while trying to take these out of the shipping container, forcing me to double up some of them in the flips – this was even after I had some coins I knew I didn’t want to submit (AU-looking $10 and $25 coins) skip the “flip” stage and go right into stapled 2x2s for long term storage in the binder. I’ve ordered more flips and I should get them soon. When each coin is in its own flip, I’ll try to sit down with Shandy to try to pick the best ones for sending in, hopefully with her help, input and buy-in.
My moment of Zen: I think she caught me grinning. So maybe that’s the sign that the joy is winning out over the frustration.