When I started down this road and started planning this entry in my head, I didn’t think I’d be posting this coming off a win with the Zimbabwe coin set, but...
The thing you generally don't see with a hyperinflation collection is coins. Which is probably why it surprised and excited me so much when I realized that, with the release of the digital bolivar and the 3rd Venezuelan redenomination, they were releasing a 1 Bolivar coin with the 5 new banknotes.
Then, when I went looking to see if any had hit eBay, I found something else: Venezuela released new coins in both 2007 (7 denominations) with the release of the Bolivar Fuerte and 2018 (2 denominations) with the release of the Bolivar Soberano. So, there are coins associated with all of the different Bolivares and throughout the hyperinflation period.
Which is a bit funny and a bit awkward for me given the argument made in my Zimbabwe note and coin sets, - that coins are the “First Casualties of Hyperinflation” and that if you want to see hyperinflation, you have to look at notes. Because it seems to be increasingly clear that you can see high inflation / hyperinflation in coins, if you collect Venezuela.
The 2007 coins are a little less surprising - at the time of the first redenomination they weren't in hyperinflation and wouldn't be for about 6 more years. They just had persistent, double-digit, high inflation.
The 2018 Soberano coins were vastly more surprising. At that point the country was well into a hyperinflationary situation and the 2nd redenomination took off 5 zeros instead of 3. But they do exist - and they were released! And not held back, delayed and repurposed - unlike the 2003-dated Zimbabwe coins, the release of which was delayed 5 years.
And I didn't know they existed! Never even thought about it in a year and a half of collecting the notes. There are even registry sets for these things! - never knew, never noticed. But there’s at least one user with a solid PMG note set and a solid NGC coin set for Venezuela and it isn’t me.
But with these collections and situations the banknotes with the big numbers get all the attention. And in Zimbabwe they didn't exist! They had notes with circles! No coins struck from 2003 to 2014! So, I didn't look for what I assumed wasn't there. And you don't know what you don't know.
Having found out about them I wanted some though, so I've been working on getting some.
I was able to get 5 sets of the 7 denominations from 2007 from a dealer in Turkey - another country seeing its national currency reduced to a memory.
Later on, I was able to pick up 10 pairs of the 2018 50C and 1B coins from a seller in Costa Rica for not much more than what some people were asking for just 1 pair.
A fair bit later - because I've been doing this slowly since the last post I made here on Venezuela months ago while also doing other things - it takes a while for coins to arrive from overseas - I picked up five of the Franklin Mint sets for Venezuela with coins mostly from the late 1980s and broke them up. This was mostly to extend the collection of type coins into the original bolivar - something I've been very reluctant to do on the PMG / note side.
This gave me a pretty solid start to a Venezuelan coin collection for about $80.
I subsequently found out that there were other coins, pre-2007, with denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 Bolivares and was able to acquire 5 sets of those, dated 2002-2004, from the same seller in Ukraine that sold me some of my Zimbabwean bond coins.
There were also some coins from around 2016 (after the first redenomination but before the 2nd) with denominations of 10 and 100 Bolivares Fuertes, which that Ukrainian seller also had. The came paired with some 50 cent coins from 2009 that I didn’t really need but I got the 3-coin sets with the 10-500 Bolivar sets because that was the best price I could get on those 10 and 100 Bolivar coins, which I wanted / needed and I wanted to get all of them and combine shipping.
Small aside on those three coin lots - they advertised them as having 10, 50, and 100 Bolivar coins. They actually contained 50 cent coins. As it turns out, there is a 50 Bolivar coin from 2016, and I'll probably have to track some of those down down the line...
So, now about $125 later, I have quite a set of raw Venezuelan coins with denominations and designs spanning several orders of magnitude, about 3 decades and 3 of the 4 national currencies Venezuela has had so far.
The main challenge so far, the thing I haven’t been able to add yet, is the thing that got me started on this in the first place – I can’t find anyone selling the new 1 Bolivar Digital coin for what feels like a reasonable price. Possibly buying more 7-coin sets from another dealer to cover bases and sample around and buying more 3-coin sets that actually have the 50 Bolivar coin my run me another $50 or so. Still, not an expensive project so far at any rate.
I'm obviously back to buying multiples in the hopes of getting 1 or 2 really nice ones and it seems to be working in that regard. I will likely submit some of these down the road to build a registry set and display around these to compliment the note set. The goal is very much to turn the Venezuela set into another cross registry, mixed note and coin set, similar to the Zimbabwe set, though the Zimbabwe set has been far more… “successful” at this point. I suspect because the Venezuela set so far has tended to come in looking like a tugboat next to a 120-note, 14-coin (Soon 23), dreadnought.
In my head for a while there last year as this was starting to happen and form in my head, this was going to be the next big project after the Zimbabwean coins, but then the 500 Lire set happened and these temporarily lost priority.
I started showing some of these to Shandy as they started to trickle in, and she started getting out a light - wanting to know if we were looking for the best or the two best. I just said that for now we were just enjoying the designs. We'll look at them again and pick the ones we want to submit when that gets a little closer. But that was then, with the Zimbabwe set’s win, this will probably be my next major NGC project – turning the Venezuela set into a cross-registry collection and presentation just like the Zimbabwe Set.
Shandy has been away in Florida on a work trip all week. She got back late last night. With all of these / most of these in hand, flipped and labeled, I think it’ll be time to start picking the winners / coins for a possible future submission, which I need to try to get out by late March or April if I want to make something happen this year I think – Shopping for one new coin release turned into quite a project, quite a journey.
I'll have to follow this up later with another post with pictures and comments on the individual coins. I feel this one is long enough and should end here.