Since making the decision to return that ungraded 20 Trillion note my wife and I had said we’d sit down together once we got the refund and pick out what we were going to get instead.
We got the refund on Tuesday 01/29. With the nature of being parents being what it is, we didn’t get to sit down together until shortly before bedtime on Friday 2/1, after the Ben was already in bed to pick out the new notes / purchase.
I’d been looking at notes / options online for about a week at this point, so I was able to pull up about 11 options I’d been considering, and we talked about them together. I talked to my wife about each one and she even provided input on which ones we should chose based on which ones she thought were the prettiest.
One option had been getting the 50 Billion note, graded by PMG, which would have completed my “Billions Series” set now that I Have the 20 Billion note. That note was being offered for $60 by the merchant so it would have pretty much been a direct item for item swap. My wife was surprised that I wasn’t leaning in that direction just to complete the Billions set, but, for the money, they had other things that were cheaper, looked better, and would contribute more to my overall set right now. I’m not ruling out getting the 50 Billion note later but it’s always been a harder sell for me. I acquired all of the rest of these notes mostly for $20-30. If I actually got that for the price they list it for it’d easily be the most expensive note in the set.
Instead, they had several other notes that were graded 66 EPQ or 67 EPQ for S15-16 each. I could get four of those for about the same price as the price of that 50 Billion note and I thought that path could add a lot more to my set overall. So what did I go with?
1: P-12, the 2003, first dollar, 1,000-dollar note
2: P-8, the 1994, first dollar, 50-dollar note
3. P-33, the 1 cent, 2nd dollar note
4. P-71, 3rd dollar, 1000-dollar note
Why these four?
I was really wanting to get the 1,000-dollar first dollar note. It looks great, it’s the last and highest denomination first dollar issue before they started making the emergency checks. I see it as representing the beginning of the end for the currency. My wife and I also agree that the first dollar notes, in contrast to many of the later issues, are actually quite pretty and intricate in their design. I wasn’t initially going to get the 50-dollar note too, but, again, they’re some of the most attractive notes of the entire series and I do like the look of it. This may or may not lead to trying to get more of the first dollar notes.
I wanted the 1 cent note because 1) it would be the first 2nd dollar note I’ve purchased, and 2) it’s just such an odd note. Much like the 100 Trillion note, it’s one of those crazy, freakish things that only happens in a hyperinflation situation. You would never normally see a 1 cent note. This note shows that it’s not always a story of big numbers on notes. There’s a broader selection of oddities and aberrations that occur.
The 1,000 -dollar 3rd dollar note (P-71_ was selected because I’d been wanting to get another 3rd dollar note that extended my set back into the lower denominations of that series. Prior to this my lowest denomination in the 3rd dollar set was the 500,000-dollar note. I’d also considered getting the 20-dollar note from the 3rd dollar series. I’d thought the 20-dollar note (P-68) might be a better choice to continue the “trend” or the denomination choice with the 1983 and 1994 first dollar notes I have. $20 is also a significant / prominent denomination in the US. We went with the 1,000-dollar note because the 20 just doesn’t look as nice. The coloring just isn’t as appealing.
I think hands down the most enjoyable part of the whole process was sitting down with Shandy and talking about the notes and the history and what I liked about each one and narrowing down the list of ~11 notes to four and ordering those four. (Yup, I totally paid $15 for a 1 cent bank note, but they’re all demonetized anyway so who even cares about face values anyway at this point?)
Two of these notes – these already graded notes – were $15 and two were $16. So, the total purchase was $62 – versus the $60 charged for that ungraded 20 trillion note, which I still and will forever think was a rip-off given that other on eBay are offering those things graded by PMG for $40 in some cases. I think the $40 is still a little steep considering the popularity of these things seems to have waned over time, but it’s a lot more reasonable.
In many cases these notes can be had ungraded for a couple of bucks from what I can see. The lowest grading fee tier for world bank notes at PMG right now is about $13-15 dollars depending on what kind of bulk submission you’re doing. So the difference in price on a lot of these is just enough to cover the grading fee, if that, over the cost of an ungraded note. But even then, they don’t sell a lot of them at these prices – I’m guessing because I’m one of the small few that sees value in collecting these things as graded notes (and I’m apparently about the only one that feels like participating in the registry with them). I’m okay with that though. I have very specific reasons for why I want what I want with this set.
The notes should be arriving in the mail today. This has re-ignited my interest in the set and so I'm probably going to be putting a little more money and a lot more time into this set / project this year to flush out some things that I feel are gaps in my collection.