So... continuing from the last journal posted about this…
When I opened the box from the seller, I had 3 of the 8-coin sets that included later-date steel coins from mostly 2002 and only 1 of the 7-coin sets that had 1997 dated coins, including that 1997 $2 coin.
To make things one step worse, the $2 coin in that set had a bad, deep scratch/ ding.
Reached out to the seller, who quickly said I could keep the extra 8-coin set and they'd look for and send me another 1997 dated set with the best $2 coin they had. 🙂 Yay! Happiness! Right?
Unfortunately... they couldn't find the other 7-coin sets. They'd been misplaced. So, they refunded the money and I got to keep the extra set. Not a bad outcome, but still disappointing given the heartbreaking scratch on that coin...
But then, Mike came to the rescue and made me an offer - He'd gotten another 7-coin set and was offering me the whole set if I wanted it - wasn't even asking / wanting anything in return for it. He'd gotten it to give to his niece and nephew, and he just wanted to help me out. But just taking that didn't sit right with me and I offered to send him the 7-coin set I had - complete with the coin we now jokingly call "scarface," for his niece and nephew to trash.
Mike had offered that set up very quickly when I told him privately in a chat about what had happened and the scratched $2 coin, but I had him hold off on mailing it until the search attempt fell through and the other 1997-dated sets the seller had listed were officially "lost."
I did mail the set to him, along with some other Z coins and bond coins in flips, because, why not? And... wouldn’t you know it? The post office seems to have eaten it. They say it was delivered... he can’t find it. So... So much for that. Now I guess all 3 of those coin sets are officially lost to the ether and the sands of time...
I find it very annoying that they were lost. But neither of us feels attached enough to them or mad enough on principle to aggressively pursue it – at some point I guess you just have to decide how aggressively you’re willing to try to recover a ~$30 loss in common coins. And, with as overwhelmed as USPS is and, given that tracking says it was delivered, I just have a hard time believing that rattling cages will turn much up. I had several incidents at my old house where a small package was put in the wrong box for the wrong house. Fortunately, in all of those instances I had honest neighbors that just turned the box over to me within 24-48 hrs. So… a moment of silence for “Scarface” and his humble fellowship – lost to the void.
I think "Scarface" would have gotten a 61/62. Mike had thought his might get a 65-67. With the benefit of seeing it out of that old plastic, I think it's a 64-66 (I’ll look again and make a final, official guess later). I don't think it'll snag a 67. But, so far, the finest example NGC has graded is an XF45. And most of these that I see are UGLY. So, I'll take a 64-65 if I can get it for now.
Interestingly, a while after I got the set from Mike and had already sacrificed it to the scissors, about a month after I'd received the box with the wrong mix of sets, the seller finally got another set with 1997-dated coins, and they offered me first refusal on it. I decided to pass though. I've already bought so many of these things and spent so much on buying these lots. I have a large lot of very solid coins - about 30 now - to send in to NGC in a new 2022 submission. But I will be culling the current group down at least a bit before it goes off.
As I’ve gone along, every time I opened up / cut-apart a new set Shandy has wanted to be present to watch me cut it up, put them in flips and then we look at them together – She doesn’t even want to miss being there when the sets meet the scissors. When we already had one of a certain coin in our group to submit, we’d have the “old” / “reigning” coin go head-to-head with the new one and we’d pick the one we’d like best – see if the new coin could beat the champ. So, this has been a process of continuous comparison, substitution, culling and iterative refinement of our group set aside to send in.
I feel like I've hit a point of diminishing returns on buying more lots sight-unseen and trying to dig through hoping for incrementally nicer coins. I have a ton of these raw now and I have some to give away if I want or if I find an interested young would-be collector. It would be different if I was continuing to get a mix of different and new dates but it's all 1980, 1997, 1999 and 2002/2003 for the most part.
I think I'm ready to go with what I have, send these in in January and move on to focus on something else for a while. I’m not going to completely close the door on the idea of continuing to look for new sources of raw coins or looking for high grade examples, especially for any type coin slots where I only have grades under 65/66 after this next submission... and I STILL need to find a way to upgrade and get a nicer $25 coin than that AU58 I have... but I’m just not feeling too in a rush to do that... Who knows? Maybe finding some new, nice $25 coins down the road will be my push to start another drive to find more coins to look through for possible upgrades? Maybe it’ll be stiff registry competition.
But, I guess I’m closing out this one and accepting that there will be a 3rd submission with Z coins down the line.
I am very happy with and grateful to the seller for their resolution and communication and they will probably get more business from me after this - I think I'm just done with Zimbabwean coins for now – for now.
The hero of the story is Mike though, who continues to show he's a great buddy to have on a collecting journey.
Mike has told me / showed me that he got his nieces and nephews some of those Franklin Mint cards for Zimbabwe. He seems to be trying to give me a hard time in about 10-20 years when those kids are old enough to collect more seriously on their own. It would be funny if one of those kids ended up taking shots at me in the Zimbabwe registry in 2040, even if it is unlikely, if the registry is even still a thing in 20 years. Who knows what the future holds, really?
Shandy and I are starting to enter our grade guesses for the Zimbabwe coins. I have a piece of paper and I'm noting the guesses. I'll look, give the coin to her, write my guess and cover it, and let her see my guess after she says hers. The grades are still coming out very similar as we go though. She's more pessimistic than I am though. The results of this effort are showing that we're far more optimistic about the prospects of some coins than others which are going to be eligible for the same slots in the type set. SO I'm thinking I might use the results of this to trim down the submissions and make this a bit more budget friendly. I had thought it would be fun to maybe include more dates and maybe work on date sets in some denominations, but, if the coins don't grade well they are just a waste of money that I'd want to improve on down the line with a better coin if I did build a date set. The other thing about this is that the case Shandy got me is nearly perfect for displaying this type set, but it can't display a bunch of extras, and I feel like that is going to hurt the desirability of "extras." Especially since i think cost recovery on this set will forever be impossible if I ever resell these, even if they grade really well...
We've been having the graded examples I already have out and using those to help inform our estimates on how these will do. We started with the smaller denomination coins so the MS65 1997 1C and the MS65 1980 10C were crucial points of reference for us on NGC's grading standards.