TL:DR – The coins did great and I’m thrilled and freaking out a bit about some of these! XD So “Thank you, NGC” on the hard work and the much faster than expected turnaround.
I need to give major props to NGC, who have pulled off a major turnaround, brought turnaround times down and delivered me grades on these months sooner than I was thinking. It was only about 5-6 weeks ago that I was saying I might not have grades for another 4 months from now.
I’m hoping this also means that they’ve succeeded in expanding capacity and their 60-hour weeks are also a thing of the past.
Since there are 29 coins in this submission, and 22 from Zimbabwe, I’m just going to talk about the Zimbabwe coins here and talk about the results on the 500L in a separate post. Even then, I’m not going to go into has much detail and discussion on each of these things as I might with a 5-coin submission. I’m just going to hit on some of the high notes (if I can stop myself).
Here are the results, with my guesses and Shandy’s so you can see how we did. We both like to be deliberately conservative in our guesses to try to not get our hopes too high. So, we tended to be low when we missed, but it also makes the ones where we got lower than we guessed just a touch more disappointing.
Shandy had made it clear that she’d never let me hear the end of it if she beat me, so I’ll gladly take a narrow win that still leaves both of us with our dignity. I think she’s learned a lot, and quickly, and she’s quickly gotten very picky about which ones she thinks are good enough.
I’m really thrilled with these results. Only 3 coins are in the “disappointing” column – there were 4 MS64s but I don’t consider the 1997 $2 a disappointment because that grade was in-line with expectations. The same could be argued of the 2002 dime for that matter, which, if anything, beat expectations / did better than we’d guessed and hoped. The 2002 $1 also came back with the grade I guessed – just below the guess Shandy made. So maybe only 1 of 22 can fairly be called a disappointment – that 1988 cent I’d had such high hopes for.
The 1997 $2 is worth calling out. At MS64 it easily beats the XF45 that is the only other NGC graded example eligible for that slot. It also beat Mike’s guess that it would get at least an MS63. I’d initially hoped it might do better but… It is still by far the best I’ve seen. Most of the 1997 dated $2 I’ve been able to find are just… so… ugly. I’m very grateful to Mike for this coin. I’m not going to be in a rush to try to upgrade this one and I doubt it would be all that easy.
I don’t know if it’s better or worse that 3 out of 4 of these MS64s are still better than anything else I have for the slot. Meaning 3 of these 4 still earn a spot in the top set. Meaning 3 of 4 clearly weren’t a “waste” / complete misfire – they still improve the top line set and in so doing achieve what I’d hoped for in sending them in. We got several MS66 and MS67 grades, including some on some key coins, but those weren’t on coins that could fully paper over these sub-Gem coins.
Having said all that though, I had really hoped for an MS68 on that 1997 5C, and, while I got an MS67 on the 1980, that MS65 on the 5C is not what I’d been hoping for there. So maybe that’s disappointing too, even though the 1980 makes up for it.
The 1980 10C getting an MS66 feels like a big win and vindication on sending it in. It did, in fact, beat the MS65 I already have. This can be bitter-sweet as it knocks out the first coin bought for the set, but it also means the top type set will be 100% self-submitted – no bought-pre-graded coins. The thing that makes this even better is the fact that the 1980 5C got an MS67 – a staggering, fantastic victory in its own rights to me - and the 1980 50C and $1 got MS66, meaning that I have 2/3rd of a 1980 year set in MS66 or better now – but that just means I’m now having dreams in my head of adding an MS66 1980 cent and 20C.
The MS67 on the 2002 $5 coin just feels so great and cleansing after the disappointment of those nasty examples from the now long-ago first purchase of 10-coin sets. The same is true, albeit to an obvious lesser extent, with the MS66 on the 2002 $2.
It might seem strange to some that I just feel so happy about MS65, MS66, and MS67 grades on modern coins when the prevailing wisdom with moderns tends to be that you need MS68s for it to be worth it/ to be competitive, but I’ve long felt like I would be thrilled / happy to have the set mostly comprised of MS65 (Gem) coins or better and to be complete. It is now complete, with mostly MS65 or better coins. I’m happy. And these results are 1) consistent roughly with my guesses, and 2) far better than what I got when I tried self-submitting with my stepfather the first time 14 years ago. Suggesting that I might have actually learned a LITTLE in that time, in addition to taking damage to my corneas. Lol
I’m blown away by the results on the Bond coins. I can’t believe how well the $2 coins bond coins did – coins I got from that seller in the Ukraine, small aside. I am suddenly extremely happy that I went ahead and sent in both of those. EXTREMELY happy. I don’t know what I’ll do with the 2nd MS69. When I was looking at the pop reports / census for clues and saw 2 MS69s I had to pick my jaw up off the floor realizing those might be mine and I might have scored a HUGE win. I was thinking I’d be happy if I got MS67s that matched most of the rest of the Bond Coin sets. I just could not get myself to hope for MS68s or MS69s even though they looked darn near perfect because I’ve never gotten grades that high on circulation strike coins. To get those 69s on both $2 BCs and a 68 on the $1… Mind Blown. So happy on these. My first self-made circulation strike MS68s and MS69s.
Overall, this is going to leave me with a very solid type set that I think will be well positioned to defend its title for a while, though it will certainly be possible for anyone with the funds, the time and the determination to overtake this set. The overall strength this gives to the set and to the bond coins, however, does re-emphasize the fact that at some point I will need to address the weakness of the $10 and $25 coins to bring them more in line with the rest of the set.
The overall strength of the Bond Coins is also going to make me feel more pressure to one day get the 50C bond coin up to a MS67+ to match the standard set by the others in that group / sub-set. With 7 bond coins I do think that sub-set could make for a nice set / category on its own and there are plenty of categories out there with only 6-8 slots – just look at some of the mint sets. But I think there will have to be more collector interest in those before NGC agrees to that. I feel lucky enough to have the type set category to put these in, given how thinly they’re collected in graded form (Mostly just me and my crazy).
I’m very excited to get to upload some descriptions I’ve already been working on for these. As with the last set, each coin will have some general information on the design / landmark it depicts followed by a narrative on how that coin came to be in the set. These descriptions will heavily copy each other and borrow some of the narrative from my journals about all of these. I’ve worked carefully to keep track of what group of coins / sets / dealers each coin came from so I could build that into the narrative for each coin and have these descriptions emphasize the journey and the hunt of a 100% self-submitted set that I’ve made by looking at the coins with my wife. I think that’s part of what won this set an award from NGC and I think it’s very core to the charm and the appeal of the set as I’ve made it. I’m also really excited about taking good photos of all of these in the holders when they come in.
The case Shandy got me for these has been sitting in the closet in the packaging, waiting for me to be able to properly fill it. I’m very excited by the prospect of being able to pull that out, put all the coins in, and lay it out. I think I’ll need to put up pictures of that in future entry – Maybe include the plaque for the set in the image.
Can you tell that I’m excited about this? XD
So, in summation - I’m thrilled. I consider this a big win. But it also leaves a few things unresolved and opens a few more thoughts / dreams. I think I’ll be on pause with this for a while, but I’ll likely have to circle back later to tie up some of those loose ends – the 2003 $10, the 2003 $25, the 1980 1C.