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Further evidence of the downside risk in collecting condition rarities

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Revenant

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Mike and I have made quite a joke in the past of the people buying 70 EPQ Zimbabwe notes on eBay for hundreds of dollars but I got another example recently.

Last year my wife gifted me a 68 EPQ 20 Trillion note that was a great step up from the 65 EPQ I'd had before. I think she paid about $110 for it after shipping and taxes. I was looking on eBay recently and the same note in the same grade is now available for about $50-55, in part because the same seller got more of them in that grade.

It's quite an interesting reminder of what the risks can be when the only thing that makes a note even remotely rare or scarce is the number on the label. And it's the main reason I never really liked paying top-dollar for the highest grades when building my Zimbabwe set. I wanted a complete set of notes in really good / solid grades - usually gem uncirc grades in the 66 EPQ + range, which, in the holders especially are almost indistinguishable from 67 EPQ, 68 EPQ or 69 EPQ examples. Sure, I'm sure there are differences, but they're so subtle that I don't think most people would notice or care. Building the set this way let me do what I wanted at a budget level I was okay with, going on the assumption that I'd probably never be able to fully recover my costs if I ever had to sell. I approach building that set on the idea of being happy / okay with it if I took a total loss on it and never saw any of that money / value ever again, so I didn't have to worry or stress about future value or resale - easier to do when many of the notes I got to fill out the 2nd and 3rd dollar sets I spent $8-12 a piece getting, already graded.

Possibly more on this later, but that set, which is now a Registry award winner, only cost about $2,000-2,500 to build. Proving that this isn't always about who has the most money to throw at the problem.

I sometimes wonder if someone that recently came into the Zimbabwe notes registry in a big way is ever going to regret the large amount of money they dumped into their sets to get really high grades on everything in a short period of time. Maybe they have the cash and they can spend at that level and have similar feelings to mine with regard to not having to worry about ever getting that money back out of it. Personally, that would have made me cringe, based on what I can guess and infer about some of the prices they must have been paying.

Short of winning the lottery I don't think my Zimbabwe sets are likely to ever dominate the #1 rankings again just because - short of money just becoming no object - I'm unlikely to ever spend thousands of dollars to win a slap-fight over labels and condition rarities. Still, with what it has achieved and what I still have planned, its still going to be one of the bigger and more complete Zimbabwe currency collections I've ever seen, and it's going to get a more fully realized and flushed out coin arm in the NGC Registry later this year - the coins are getting ready to be submitted. But more on that in an NGC journal later. I'm also still not completely closed to some limited upgrading when it can be done at a reasonable price point - I have some 64 EPQ and 65 EPQ hole fillers that I wouldn't mind upgrading to 67 EPQs if this can be done for more in the range of $25-35 / note.

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Well said my friend, some very similar thoughts have been rolling through my head since an auction that ended yesterday evening. Condition rarity is laughable when talking about most modern notes, even a 70 at times. It's all about the numbers, how many people collect a series, how many notes are submitted by sellers and how much notes sell for. Even populations of 100 year old notes can be completely upheaved if a significant number are submitted and double or triple the number graded. These are questions I often struggle with (against my impulse to buy) is this note worth the price, were there multiples submitted, who am I up against, how high will it go, will a high sell price force more notes onto the market etc.. Those are some of the reasons I pay close attention to the population reports. It's all a means to an end, a double edged sword, more collectors mean higher prices, more notes submitted, higher grades and more notes for me to cherry pick.:bigsmile:

I'll probably never pony up for a 70 but I'm probably a little looser with the purse strings, for me anything under the cost of grading is fair game and I don't mind multiples. If the price is dirt cheap they work well as gifts, keep the cycle of notes moving and keep the collector base growing. Hopefully. :wishluck:

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I sometimes wonder if someone that recently came into the Zimbabwe notes registry in a big way is ever going to regret the large amount of money they dumped into their sets to get really high grades on everything in a short period of time. Maybe they have the cash and they can spend at that level and have similar feelings to mine with regard to not having to worry about ever getting that money back out of it. Personally, that would have made me cringe, based on what I can guess and infer about some of the prices they must have been paying.

hm.......:idea:

How are the Travellers Cheque's going, sent them in yet, are they moving through PMG?

 

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1 minute ago, Fenntucky Mike said:

How are the Travellers Cheque's going, sent them in yet, are they moving through PMG?

I was going to send them in last week but then I held them up so I could order a P-40, P-45 and P-46. Those just came today. I have the submission form half done. I'm going to pop in the serial numbers, print and send them all in in one box to save on shipping.

I had bid on an MS65 P-17 that I wanted and barely lost out on it to Bonezdog sniping me on it. I'm a bit salty about that.  :/

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10 hours ago, Revenant said:

I had bid on an MS65 P-17 that I wanted and barely lost out on it to Bonezdog sniping me on it. I'm a bit salty about that.  :/

LOL, ditto. That's what happened to me on Sunday evening, we were both way out of the realm of what that note should cost but I guess it will drive more submissions by sellers. (shrug) I've been gathering up raw notes for a submission, most of what I'm looking for I won't find graded anyway and It'll save money in the end. There are two other very active collectors in Ukrainian notes now and it's getting a little too competitive. Probably should have kept my big yap shut but I doubt there would be the number of notes available now if it was just me colleting, so....IDK

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12 hours ago, Fenntucky Mike said:

LOL, ditto. That's what happened to me on Sunday evening, we were both way out of the realm of what that note should cost but I guess it will drive more submissions by sellers. (shrug) I've been gathering up raw notes for a submission, most of what I'm looking for I won't find graded anyway and It'll save money in the end. There are two other very active collectors in Ukrainian notes now and it's getting a little too competitive. Probably should have kept my big yap shut but I doubt there would be the number of notes available now if it was just me colleting, so....IDK

Well, I had bid $45.50 and they sniped me with 2 seconds left at $46. Which is why I'm salty over the loss. That check was stamped the day before my 18th birthday and I'd wanted it. But I couldn't see going higher on it when I knew I was getting ready to submit 2 others soon. I don't know that they'll come back as 65s but I think they'll grade. And I have a hard time continuing to bid higher at that point when we were the only ones bidding above about $27.

Edited by Revenant
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Hi there Revenant,

You have made some very valid points, I have seen the prices dip when certain eBay vendors over sell a certain issue. And in some cases they are lucky to even get back face value for some of the higher denominations after many examples of the same note have already been offered!

I did dabble in Zimbabwe a few years back but I was generally just picking up some extra certified notes to take advantage of the higher costs in international postage! 😅 so you don’t have to worry about me 😁

I personally would love to have a 70 in my Nicaragua set and am regretting passing on the opportunity I had several years back. I thought at the time paying u$150 for a note that had a face value of just u$3 was crazy 🤯

And unless they have added some more recently at last check there was actually only 3 in 70 for all of the Nicaraguan issues. And all three are for a 2011 50 Cordobas commemorative polymer issue!

I do have a few graded at 69 and I have one at 69 🌟 

And I know your struggles with those auctions, I seem to see the same *** out names bidding against me on a regular basis! Some of them I have actually come to know as we are in a Nicaraguan collecting group together! 😅😂 and in between typing this I just got sniped on a couple of extremely low serial # notes I had my eyes on for the past week 😢

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2 minutes ago, Love Collection said:

And I know your struggles with those auctions, I seem to see the same *** out names bidding against me on a regular basis! Some of them I have actually come to know as we are in a Nicaraguan collecting group together! 😅😂 and in between typing this I just got sniped on a couple of extremely low serial # notes I had my eyes on for the past week 😢

Yeah. I think we all feel that pain sometimes. I just have to remind myself sometimes that they have the same right to bid and out-bid as I do. lol 

3 minutes ago, Love Collection said:

I did dabble in Zimbabwe a few years back but I was generally just picking up some extra certified notes to take advantage of the higher costs in international postage! 😅 so you don’t have to worry about me 😁

Ha. Thanks. The Zimbabwe notes are very fun and interesting to me but I think you have to really be interested in them to go nuts with building that set like I have. It's good to know you're not more competition lol but I don't worry much anymore. My set is mostly built. I have examples in 65+ grades for almost everything, so if prices start getting bid up I just shrug and I won't do any upgrading. lol 

I really am just so proud of what I achieved with that set, and I'm very happy with it. I'd just love to fill in a last few holes that I'm working on. But I have no shame in that set not being full of "top pops" it's a dang solid collection that achieves everything I wanted for it and more.

Congrats to you on what you've done. I was happy to see your Nicaragua set win Best Presented in 2020. I feel like your sets are some of the best out there in terms of descriptions and overall presentation - to say nothing of the notes! I think you've gotten a couple of feature articles on your sets too, right?

I just recently got a NIcaraguan note for the first time to go with my turtle theme set.

 

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3 hours ago, Love Collection said:

I thought at the time paying u$150 for a note that had a face value of just u$3 was crazy 🤯

For that price I'd definitely think about it. What would that note go for today?

3 hours ago, Revenant said:

I just recently got a NIcaraguan note for the first time to go with my turtle theme set.

.Been thinking hard about a themed set, just haven't found the right thing yet.... A stench of skunks hm nah.

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43 minutes ago, Fenntucky Mike said:

Been thinking hard about a themed set, just haven't found the right thing yet.... A stench of skunks hm nah.

lol is there a note with a skunk on it??? lol Consider yourself challenged to find one!

I really couldn't tell you what possessed me to go with "Bale of Turtles," and "Parade of Elephants." The idea for the sets came from my son's nursery themes and seeing those animals on my Zimbabwe and Venezuela notes and thinking, "hmmmm..." 🤔 I think it could be fun though if those sets become more than just extensions of my Zimbabwe and Venezuela sets.

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6 minutes ago, Revenant said:

lol is there a note with a skunk on it??? lol Consider yourself challenged to find one!

Sir, I accept your challenge!

My initial search results are not looking good. I know I saw one the other day, last weekish, there has to be one right? I'll have to pick this back up in the evening. 

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19 hours ago, Revenant said:

Yeah. I think we all feel that pain sometimes. I just have to remind myself sometimes that they have the same right to bid and out-bid as I do. lol 

Ha. Thanks. The Zimbabwe notes are very fun and interesting to me but I think you have to really be interested in them to go nuts with building that set like I have. It's good to know you're not more competition lol but I don't worry much anymore. My set is mostly built. I have examples in 65+ grades for almost everything, so if prices start getting bid up I just shrug and I won't do any upgrading. lol 

I really am just so proud of what I achieved with that set, and I'm very happy with it. I'd just love to fill in a last few holes that I'm working on. But I have no shame in that set not being full of "top pops" it's a dang solid collection that achieves everything I wanted for it and more.

Congrats to you on what you've done. I was happy to see your Nicaragua set win Best Presented in 2020. I feel like your sets are some of the best out there in terms of descriptions and overall presentation - to say nothing of the notes! I think you've gotten a couple of feature articles on your sets too, right?

I just recently got a NIcaraguan note for the first time to go with my turtle theme set.

 

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Haha that is true, I think the FOMO gets to every collector at some point too!

Thanks for your kind words! And with your Zimbabwe notes you can definitely can see this dedication in your sets 👏 

I actually noticed your set when I was adding my own Zimbabwe notes and saw this attention to detail with your images and descriptions and decided that I had to up my game with my own Nicaragua set!

I had already spent a lot of time researching and felt that I had to share this info with others 

I also had some competition of my own with another collector that had won an award with a neighbouring country set that was expanding into Nicaragua, and was now aggressively adding more notes and this had briefly relegated me to second spot!

And yes I did get a featured article in the newsletter and also one of my notes was  shared on the Facebook page! 

Its great to see you have one of the Nicaragua notes, the latest polymer issues are great bright notes!

That is the great thing with this hobby is that there is so many collecting possibilities! Be it turtle images or other animals, personalities, type sets, serial numbers the sky is the limit! 😅😂

Are the Nicaraguan hyperinflation issued notes on your collecting radar?

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16 hours ago, Fenntucky Mike said:

For that price I'd definitely think about it. What would that note go for today?

.Been thinking hard about a themed set, just haven't found the right thing yet.... A stench of skunks hm nah.

Hey Mike,

I am honestly unsure but I wouldn’t imagine it wouldn’t go for very big $$ as the demand for high graded quality in Nicaragua notes just isn’t there at the moment!

I picked up this beauty 69🌟 my highest graded note for just under u$150 last year.

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48 minutes ago, Love Collection said:

I am honestly unsure but I wouldn’t imagine it wouldn’t go for very big $$ as the demand for high graded quality in Nicaragua notes just isn’t there at the moment!

If I found one, in a series that I collect, for around $200 I would think about it and more likely than not would pick it up. That would be right around my limit for what I would consider a onetime novelty purchase, there are just to many cool notes out there that you can get for much less money in 68 and 69.

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13 minutes ago, Fenntucky Mike said:

If I found one, in a series that I collect, for around $200 I would think about it and more likely than not would pick it up. That would be right around my limit for what I would consider a onetime novelty purchase, there are just to many cool notes out there that you can get for much less money in 68 and 69.

I've had similar problems in getting things like the P-1d for $100 when so many of the other notes in that set were had for $8-30. But it is a dang good feeling to have a full variety group of the P-1.

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1 hour ago, Love Collection said:

I actually noticed your set when I was adding my own Zimbabwe notes and saw this attention to detail with your images and descriptions and decided that I had to up my game with my own Nicaragua set!

I had already spent a lot of time researching and felt that I had to share this info with others 

I also had some competition of my own with another collector that had won an award with a neighbouring country set that was expanding into Nicaragua, and was now aggressively adding more notes and this had briefly relegated me to second spot!

And yes I did get a featured article in the newsletter and also one of my notes was  shared on the Facebook page! 

Cool! I'll have to mentally add that to the legacy of that set, along with the fact that it's has been used to teach kids about Hyperinflation now.

The Nicaraguan Hyperinflation hasn't really at all been on my radar. I'm aware of there being various Latin American Hyperinflation events before Venezuela but the one that seems to get the most attention is Argentina, so I'd say that's more on my radar than Nicaragua, but maybe one day. :)

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13 minutes ago, Revenant said:

I've had similar problems in getting things like the P-1d for $100 when so many of the other notes in that set were had for $8-30. But it is a dang good feeling to have a full variety group of the P-1.

Yep, that too. I'll take a key note or a note to fill a hole over a 70 any day. Way to many other things to think about other than top grades.

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Yes definitely the one that got away....it popped up at a time when I had only just started to dabble in certified notes and couldn’t justify it to myself at the time.

I am sure we all have those stories, I know of many other buying opportunities I had passed on because I thought at the time it was overpriced or out of my league. Only to find out years later what a great opportunity it actually was! 🤦‍♂️

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28 minutes ago, Revenant said:

I've had similar problems in getting things like the P-1d for $100 when so many of the other notes in that set were had for $8-30. But it is a dang good feeling to have a full variety group of the P-1.

The rare varieties can be painful....I had this issue with a newer polymer replacement note....I had a rough circulated note but couldn’t locate an uncirculated note anywhere until one finally popped up on eBay last year...unfortunately a lot of the Nicaraguan collectors had this one in their sights also and I ended up winning the auction with a u$200 bid which was a hard pill to swallow on a note that has a face value of less than u$10!

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27 minutes ago, Revenant said:

Cool! I'll have to mentally add that to the legacy of that set, along with the fact that it's has been used to teach kids about Hyperinflation now.

The Nicaraguan Hyperinflation hasn't really at all been on my radar. I'm aware of there being various Latin American Hyperinflation events before Venezuela but the one that seems to get the most attention is Argentina, so I'd say that's more on my radar than Nicaragua, but maybe one day. :)

😊

I was definitely intrigued with the hyper inflation notes also, my in laws had told me stories about how literally you would have to take a suitcase full of cash to buy anything of value and the cost of goods could literally double overnight! And you would have to spend countless hours just counting up 1000s of notes that might only be worth a few dollars! 🤯

Argentina was also another country that had a turbulent financial history! So I can see the attraction there and look forward to seeing what you put together 👍😊

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23 minutes ago, Fenntucky Mike said:

Yep, that too. I'll take a key note or a note to fill a hole over a 70 any day. Way to many other things to think about other than top grades.

That’s it like you said before it’s the novelty factor! It would be nice to have at least one in the set however I have a lot of holes to fill and even more now they decided to split off the specimens! 

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7 hours ago, Love Collection said:

It would be nice to have at least one in the set

Absolutely!

7 hours ago, Love Collection said:

however I have a lot of holes to fill and even more now they decided to split off the specimens! 

That seems to be the norm now and I tend to agree with that decision. I fell like PMG is separating the specimens as people try to add them to sets, at least that's what happened with the Ukrainian sets. One day someone tried to enter a specimen in a set and the next day, POOF, I had three new specimen sets created for me with my notes already added. 

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31 minutes ago, Fenntucky Mike said:

One day someone tried to enter a specimen in a set and the next day, POOF, I had three new specimen sets created for me with my notes already added. 

lol Wow. Can't complain about that!

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23 hours ago, Love Collection said:

Argentina was also another country that had a turbulent financial history! So I can see the attraction there and look forward to seeing what you put together 👍😊

I'm definitely not going to be in any rush on Argentina. I'm going to still be focused on Venezuela for a bit and maybe going for some low-hanging fruit upgrades for my 4th dollar set.

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On 5/14/2021 at 6:08 AM, Fenntucky Mike said:

Absolutely!

That seems to be the norm now and I tend to agree with that decision. I fell like PMG is separating the specimens as people try to add them to sets, at least that's what happened with the Ukrainian sets. One day someone tried to enter a specimen in a set and the next day, POOF, I had three new specimen sets created for me with my notes already added. 

Yes I was shocked also as half my set disappeared one day! Then Ali clarified that they are breaking all the specimens off into their own sets! 😳 

which does make sense and it’s a good way to showcase both issued notes and specimens! 👍😊

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On 5/14/2021 at 9:50 PM, Revenant said:

I'm definitely not going to be in any rush on Argentina. I'm going to still be focused on Venezuela for a bit and maybe going for some low-hanging fruit upgrades for my 4th dollar set.

Ok it’s good to see your keeping to your core collections!

I liken collecting to a race that you will never finish! I am sure in 20 years there will be pieces I will be still searching for!! 

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