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.