Liberty Walking Half's Blog

10 Sep 2019

"To Slab, Or Not To Slab" Part One

Coins | Liberty Walking Half

This is part one of a two-part blog

NGC. PCGS. Two giants in an enormous numismatic industry. For a while now, countless coins have been submitted to third-party services for grading, people have been increasingly exclusively purchasing 'slabbed' coins, and debates have been played out over which company is supreme. Nowadays, 'slabs' are purchased, possesed, and sold with almost complete blind trust. But why do third-party grading companies play such a large part in the numismatic industry? Why do people have such a blind trust in these companies? Why do people employ them at all? When should we employ them? Let's try to answer these questions.

In order to rationally answer the other questions, we first need to deal with the question of, "Why do people employ third-party grading services?" Before grading companies existed, in every deal ever made, the grade the specimen being sold as was dependent entirely on the grade given it by the buyer and seller. Granted, there still were grading standards, but while maybe a broad grade was agreed on, the buyer and seller very often disagreed on the specific grade. The seller may claim the coin is a pristine, perfect mint-state 70, with truckloads of eye appeal, whereas the buyer may very well think its a weak-strike, and only mint-state 66. The difference, at least in price, is huge! Sure, the buyer and seller possibly would finally agree on a price, if not grade, and life would go on. But then an idea came about. What if, instead of a biased participant in the deal deciding the grade, an expert, neutral, third-party decided the grade? This idea has now lead to numerous grading companies, with the primary being NGC (National Guarantee Corporation) and PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Services). Basically, people employ various coin grading companies for expert, non-biased services, for authentication, and, as a result of popularity, for investment in high-grade or valuable coins.

"Why do third-party grading companies play such a large part in the numismatic industry?" Seeing as third-party grading companies, at least the major ones, are considered to have reliable grades, guaranteed ones furthermore, and authentication, naturally many numismatists would rightly see them as a premium service. A guaranteed coin certainly sells for more than a dubious one, and, in the very least, is much easier to sell. Gradually 'slabbed' coins became more and more important. Eventually, if you had a very valuable coin, and wanted a large sum of money for it when selling, it would need to be 'slabbed'. Third-party grading companies play a large part in the numismatic industry due to the importance placed in their authentication and guaranteed, unbiased grades.

This concludes part one.



Level 6

Nice idea to slab, but most my coins are worth that much to slab.


Level 4

Don't you need to pay for shipping for ANACS, I was looking at the form, and it said plus shipping cost

As far as I know, you have to pay shipping for all the companies


Level 6

I like to get my coins slabbed for protection as the main reason. Grading is still based on personal opinion but they do a better , impartial job, I hope. Don't forget ANACS. They were first and still are the best, in my opinion, for many varieties. I hope you mention CAC and the other "Fourth Party Graders"? Be sure to check the certification numbers on your slabs before buying. They are being faked too. Thanks..

This series won't be covering the green beans, but perhaps a near future one. Yeah, always check everything; because just when you think something can't be faked, it is


Level 5

To slab or not to slab is the personal and business choice of every collector and dealer. Yes the cost of slabbing gets quite expensive and a dealer will have to determine if he or she will get a reasonable return on the coin. For the collector, profit may not be the chief motivator. As for me when I buy coins I try to buy certified and I have a couple of reasons for this. First is that somebody else has already paid the certification fees. Secondly and more importantly is that the grade and authenticity of the coin are guaranteed. With all the well made fakes flooding the marketplace, it is comforting to know that my coin has been inspected by a professional numismatist. After that I slab coins for their protection and inclusion into one of my custom and registry sets

It's Mokie

Level 6

Slabbing definitely provides protection for the coins you believe are worth protecting (each person may differ on this). In many cases, I will slab a coin just because it is a personal favorite and I want it protected, regardless of its market value. Slabbing has also allowed for the sight-unseen market to develop through venues like EbAY. Overall, Slabbing is a good thing and a benefit to the hobby.


Level 5

I have all of my better pieces slabbed. Among other reasons, it helps protect against accidents. When you scratch a $500 coin it really turns you against flips.

Very true, lol

I purchased a few obsolete copper British coins (large English pennies & two-cent pieces from the Eastern Caribbean States) from 1960-70 recently in proof condition. They are by no means rare but I consider them old enough, and nice enough, to slab at NGC economy rates ($17 per coin). While I'm not in it for the money, a possible upgrade, especially in proof, never hurts. Besides, I think a beautiful coin always looks better professionally slabbed.

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