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Finally Ordered That 20 Bolivar Coin Last Night.



Back in October I mentioned that I was getting the green light to order another of my small Gold coins because of a mixture of money coming in from a bit of OT and a few other sources and I said at the time that I’d probably order a Venezuelan Gold 20 Bolivar from the early 20th century / pre-WWI era.

Well… 5 months later, I finally ordered it.

I was holding off for the longest time because we were simultaneously spending a fair bit of money on things we needed for the house, we were spending a lot on Christmas, and we also had some medical costs and upcoming Vacation costs. We got past most of that, and then my wife changed jobs and got a big raise, so I was finally feeling very happy with the finances as we came out the other side of all that spending… and then it was time for us to go on our vacation, and I didn’t want to order the coin in the run-up to the trip because I didn’t want an expensive coin arriving while we were on a trip. We just went on the trip and got back on the 5th.

So… having waited a few more days, waiting for the billing cycle on the credit card to close and therefore locking the CC company into giving me a free 30 day loan, I pulled the trigger on the coin.

Our personal finances and making sure that we always maintain very healthy cash levels was only part of it. I’m being honest the coin was a little more on the expensive side – usually I’m buying things more in the $550-600 range and this one was $675. So I had been hoping that maybe another seller would list a similar coin to the 1911 MS64 I was looking at for a better price. I’d also looked into other coins and other options, trying to see if there was something else I wanted in the form of a small world gold coin that I felt was priced somewhat more favorably. But… it had been 5 months, and the price hadn’t come down, no others had come up for sale at comparable grades from reputable / established sellers, and I hadn’t seen or come up with anything else I’d rather get… So I decided to pull the trigger on it.

If I’m being honest, I decided it was time in at least in small part because my wife had turned it into a running gag whereby every time it came up she’d poke fun at me and imply that I was just going to waffle forever and talk about it forever and never actually buy the thing. When the wife is actively poking fun of and ridiculing your inaction, I guess it’s time to do something to shut her up. lol

I sat down in bed with the laptop and ordered it right in front of her while she faked protests about how I was ruining the joke and now she’d have to find something new to tease me about. lol “Exactly! That’s the whole point!”

In the course of looking for this, I had looked at and also seriously considered getting one of the 1930 Gold 10 Bolivar coins. I had considered getting that and one other small thing and having two smaller gold coins – maybe to pair with my Swiss 10 Franc – instead of 1 slightly larger one. But, clearly I decided against that.

However, in the course of looking at that I was curious about the fact that I was ONLY seeing the 10 Bolivar from 1930 and I wasn’t seeing it from any other dates like I had the 20 Bolivar.

After looking into it, the 10 Bolivar was a 1-year coin that was minted to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Death of Simon Bolivar – his death, not his birth. It was a 1-year circulating commemorative of which only 500,000 were made and only 10% of these were released to the public. The other 450,000 were kept in the Central Bank’s Reserves and partially released to investors. However, because it was a “circulating commemorative” and not a “commemorative” or a bullion issue, and because mintage of the 20 Bolivar stopped in 1912 – before / at the start of the first World War – I think this makes the Gold 10 Bolivar the last gold coin that Venezuela struck for circulation.

I stopped spending most of my hobby money and stopped looking at eBay for the most part around October or November because I didn’t want to spoil any surprises from my wife. I’m glad I did. However, this means I have been hoarding my collecting budget for several months and I have bit of a wad – which is more than enough to pick up a MS65 10 Bolivar to go with the 20 Bolivar, and I may well do just that.

Where they exist (because they don’t for Zimbabwe, at least, not when it was called Zimbabwe), I like having these old gold coins to hold next to the more modern coins from the same country. This ties back to my interest in collections on Hyperinflation and currency debasement and devaluation. I think it’s very cool to be able to hold up an Italian Gold 20 Lire from 1885 and a Brass Italian 200 Lire from 1986 and think about how the currency, it’s value, and its representation changed it 100 years. It’s fun to be able to hold and look at a Venezuelan Gold 20 Bolivar or a 10 Bolivar from 1930 from 1911 next to a steel-core 10 Bolivar from 2004, just before the first redenomination (and the switch to the Bolivar Fuerte) in 2007. Pairing them together can just make for some awesome tangible expressions of the change and what was lost in that 100 years and I hope to be able to show and talk to Ben and Sam about these things in the years to come.

In my recent silence I feel like a duck on the pond - you're not seeing much from me right now, but my feet are working under the surface. I hope to have more to share soon, but this entry is enough for today.



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