I found a seller offering some old, Franklin Mint, “Coin Sets of the World” cards for Zimbabwe that had the coins from 1C to $1. Some of them were made in the 1990s and some of them had less-appealing coins with some spotting, but they had a couple – at a slightly higher price, but still only about $11 for a coin set - that had only coins from 1980-1983, that were clean, pretty, and spot-free per the listing and “nearly perfect.”
I saw these and decided to snap them up, initially thinking, “SCORE! This could get me examples of the older, non-steel-clad type coins I need!” … Except, to do that, I’d have to rip up the cards and cannibalize the sets… and the more I thought about that, I wasn’t entirely comfortable doing that. I snapped these up and I think I was having 2nd thoughts about breaking them up within 5 minutes of hitting “Confirm.”
I wasn’t sure I could feel good about destroying these cards and sets with their little cancelled stamps that are dated within a month of my wife’s 1st birthday, stamped in Harare only a few short years (about 5) after it became known as “Harare” and not “Salisbury.”
I was thinking I’d just need to find another source for older coins to grade and keep these and enjoy these as-is, maybe finding some way to keep them in the binder where I’ll be keeping the rest of the Z coins I’m going to leave raw.
Then they arrived in the mail, and I got to see them in-hand…
1) These are incredibly neat, fun to hold fun to look at, collectables, and I think I’ll enjoy having them as part of the overall collection, even if they don’t all go towards what I bought them for.
2) Some of the coins in these from 1980 and 1983 are GORGEOUS. These things look so much better even than most of the coins I’ve been getting from 2001-2003. I think some of these could get MS65 or MS66 grades and these coins could make the registry set I’m trying to build just rock-solid.
I decided to try to pick up more of these old Franklin Mint cards with coins dating from 1980-1988 and, having acquired 3-4, pick one or two with really solid looking coins to cannibalize while leaving the others intact. I think that will be a good compromise that I could feel good about.
While shopping those I found some other sets the seller had that had coins mostly from 2001-2002, that, if they contained similarly good-looking coins to the Franklin Mint sets, could help me upgrade or bulk-up my set on the post-2000, steel-clad types and get some grades above MS63.
And then I saw something else that made my jaw drop… Similar, 7-coin sets, with no $5 coins, but which were made up of almost all coins from 1997… but these sets had 1997 $2 coins, that looked like they might be shiny, pretty, mint state coins where every other $2 coin I’ve seen either looks like an ugly dog or is a 2001-2003 dated steel-clad coin, not this one-year brass type.
I caught Shandy in a good mood, did some light begging, and got to order 2 more of the Franklin sets, 2 of the 8-coin sets with mostly 2001-2002 coins and 2 of the 7-coin mostly 1997 sets with those conditionally uncommon $2 coins.
At this point my plan was to pick the 2 best of the four Franklin Mint Sets, the best of the 8-coin sets, and the 7-coin set with the best looking 1997 $2 coin and use those to build out the rest of what I want to send to NGC in early 2022.
Some of these – but not all, because I’ve gotten “losers” in every batch I’ve bought so far because that is the nature of this - would be going in instead of some of the ones Shandy and I had picked previously. Some of those previously selected coins (the $1 and $2 bond coins especially) would still be going in for grading for sure. We’d look at the old ones and the ones that came in these new sets and choose the best one again, continuing to try to refine / improve the quality of the group for submission as we find more / better coins.
*Picks the best set* “I think this one is the winner!” “What’s the prize for winning?” “DEATH!” *Scissors*
That was the plan... but some drama emerged with that order... and this post is long enough as it is. So, I’ll continue this story with the next post... with all of that fully resolved.
Slightly random aside, but does “Mint” not mean what I think it means? Is “Mint Condition” not the same as “Uncirculated?” Because the seller on these said they were, “MINT and possibly uncirculated.” I mean, isn’t that redundant? Like… What the hay, Man? If I were wrong that could go a long way towards my unhappiness with that first round of “MINT” 10-coin sets. Later on, on the listing for a card with 6 coins in it, the listing says, “All seven coins are Uncirculated.” I’m mostly willing to chalk some of this up to copy&paste errors since the seller lists a lot of these “Coin Sets of All Nations” cards, but… You high, Bro?
(You thought that meme was a one-off when posting about the offer on the house on 4-20 and it wouldn’t come up again... You were wrong!)
Another funny aside on this, but, when I ordered the first Franklin mint sets, I joked with Shandy that they could maybe make good stocking stuffers for me because the card was 5x8…. The INFORMATION CARD, that comes with them is 5x8. The card the set is in is… a lot bigger. It’s actually about 8x11.5 inches, about the size of a piece of A4 paper. No chance of getting that in any Stocking I’ve ever seen.