A Slow Parade of Dancing Elephants

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Revenant

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When I was starting to shop for the 50 & 500 Lire coins, I used to start my Italian project for Shandy in November of last year I noticed that the same seller had MS66RD and 1 MS67RD 1962 Rhodesian Penny.

It’s an interesting coin – it features two dancing elephants.

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It got my attention for 2 reasons:

1)     As a Rhodesian coin it is closely associated with the work I’d been doing with my Zimbabwe type set.

2)     As I had been wrapping up / mostly wrapping up the Zimbabwe set – because, yeah, I could and I may yet try to upgrade and improve that set but on a practical level it is more or less finished and future changes will be slow and gradual in comparison – my wife had said that something she’d enjoy seeing me tackle was Turtle coins (Ben’s nursery theme was turtles) or Elephants (Sam’s nursery theme).

I actually have signature sets on the PMG side where I’ve started slowly slowly working on Turtle and Elephant thematic sets.

The fact elephants, as one of the African “Big 5” feature on so many Zimbabwean notes make it even more appropriate as a Sam-inspired set / project and those Zimbabwean notes have started the foundation of that thematic set.

Anyway… (I digress a lot. This is a thing. I’m aware of it.)

At the time (Nov 2021) the seller was only offering the MS66s at a price even resembling reasonable and had the MS67 listed with a BIN of $300. Hard Pass. So I waited.

Fast forward to January 2022, the seller finally listed the MS67 for ~$45. I looked at it, said, “I could do that,” bid and won unopposed. The first coin in what has become the set.

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I bring up all the forgoing because, while there are many themes / threads in this journal and a lot of sets I talk about at various times and over time, they do all tie together and interconnect and, since 2016, that connective tissue tends to be my wife and sons inspiring my collecting and these various newer sets are oftentimes born out of love for them.

A couple of months after that I found another seller offering an MS64RD and MS65RD 1963 for $40-50. I decided to go for the MS65RD. I won it unopposed and the MS54RD went unsold. The seller later relisted the MS64RD for a lower price and I thought about bidding on it at that point just for fun, but… I didn’t, and someone else took it.

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In some ways I later regretted not going for it because later they popped up with an MS66RD, for the same price I’d won the MS65RD at, and… I won that one… because maybe I’m crazy.

In retrospect I can’t help but think the MS64, MS65 and MS66 could have been an interesting looking grading set… but, I’m crazy. Anyway…

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At that point I had 2 dates of what is only a 7-date set, and I’d become aware of another seller that had a 1955, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1962 and 1963 in grades ranging from MS63 to MS65RD mostly. The eBay seller has the same username as a user here in the registry that at one time had a set in the category for these coins, but that set was curiously not as complete as this eBay seller’s inventory would suggest it should be, and it was since disappeared – or this person just changed their username here. Hard to say… Anyway.

The selling price on these things was, to put it nicely, somewhat above the market rate, and, even though they took offers, and I tried, they weren’t willing to come down enough to make the coins a good “Fair Market” buy and this honestly had the feeling of dealing with a collector that honestly wasn’t all that motivated to sell.

None of us know anything about that, right?

After a couple of months, having some cash and just wanting it, as much as anything just to have all of the later dates, I bit the bullet and gave them what they wanted (less $10) for an MS65RD 1961.

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And so, there’s date #3.

And now we come to the present (day).

I’ve been watching their MS64RB 1955, their MS64RB 1957, and their 2 MS65RD 1958s…. If I just got them I’d have a 6/7 complete set. But, while I knew I wanted these, and while I was tempted to just get them, because, “what’s $200 in the grand scheme?” I just had a hard time pulling the trigger knowing the price on these was just probably high.

But, my birthday was coming up, and I knew Shandy hadn’t gotten me anything yet because she had said she needed to get something ordered, and so I messaged her about them and was just like, hey, “if you want an idea / suggestion…”

She asked me to send her the links so she could “look” at them.

I’m like, “Okay,” and send the links. We’re each staying with a kid in different rooms at the time waiting while a kid falls asleep.

I’m expecting her to look at them and for us to have a conversation later about which 2 or the 3 I like more and where I can tell her about the fact that I’m sure we could easily get $10 taken off each coin if we put in an offer and then maybe she might order them later.

I’m really thinking she might get me 2 of them and then I can snap up the 3rd out of my spending money.

What I did NOT expect her to do was just use the links to just pull the dang trigger and snap up all three coins for $225 – didn’t even ask for an invoice to try to combine shipping. She just snapped them up. lol

So, then I just come downstairs, having picked up the other 4 coins to show her and to talk about it, and I start telling her about how we could probably haggle down the price a little and she gets this weird look on her face and I’m just like, “What?!?” and what follows is this horrible, awkward, hilarious conversation where I’m just like, “No! You didn’t and she’s just trying so hard to be evasive about it and she’d been planning to taunt me and tease me about it later about getting more Italian coins instead and then finally she admits that she got them. So… Anyway… And what followed was lots of awkward teasing for ruining the surprise and awkward, sheepish, “thank you”s…

She has this little facebook girls-group chat with like 4 other women and they spent part of the rest of the evening laughing at me over this, but it’s cool. I told her she could tell them and laugh at me. She was going to be making fun of me all night anyway. lol

So… Yeah. Assuming she actually still gives them to me and doesn’t chose to enforce the household rule we gave to Ben wherein if you find out what your gift is early it goes back, and you don’t get it… In a month I’ll have a 6/7 complete set of these coins…

I just have to laugh. It’s a funny story that will now live with and probably get integrated into the Registry set as I build it now. I’m going to be happy to have them, I’ll be happy to stop arguing with myself internally about it now, they’re a gift and now I don’t have to feel bad about “overpaying” and, what’s $30-40 in the grand scheme?

… and this is the set I’ve been quietly working on in the background this year while I’ve been submitting and talking about other things… because when I got that first coin in January I didn’t want to do what I’ve done with past sets (Zimbabwe, the 500L) where in the first year of a set I buy 1 lone set and go into December with a sub-50% complete set that can’t be in the running for the “New Set” Awards, because, while I’m by no means a shoe-in, it is at least nice to know you’re in the running and eligible for consideration. When you’re going to put in the effort on a set.

Side note, but, even though these coins were produced before the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in Nov 1965, these coins reference Queen Elizabeth II but they don’t show her portrait like the coins of many other commonwealth countries. It has the Elephants instead. However, because her name is on the side with the elephants, I consider the elephants side to be Obverse and the side with the denomination and date to be the Reverse. However, this is another one of those coins where NGC tends to flip-flop on which side of the coin is on the label-side of the holder. As I get shots of these taken I’m going to be posting images with the Elephant side consistently in the Obverse photo position, regardless of how the coin is presented in the slab, the same thing I do with some of my Australian silver, which as the same issue.

And… side note… because, I have no self-control some days, I also bought a half-penny, dated 1958. MS67RD, one of the finest examples currently graded by NGC. It has Giraffes. I think it is neat. lol I am crazy and sometimes have no impulse control with money in proximity to shiny objects.

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I finally got those reports issued for those big projects and put in my OT request – apparently, I just made it under the wire for payroll this month so I’ll get the money next week and not at the end of October. I told Shandy I was expecting to net about $500 on it after taxes. She said, “Well, that’s almost enough for a gold coin.” My response was I’d been thinking that would off-set the first month and registration fee for Ben’s Karate and maybe let me have $100-200 to have a little fun with. Kids are so expensive. lol

I’m writing this as I’ve issued three major reports in the last 2 working days that together total about 2 months of work and about 1300 pages. And I finally get some time to breathe, relax, and drink my coffee as smaller things come in. It helped with making the day quiet yesterday in that the UK office was closed for QEII’s funeral.

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