Liberty Walking Half's Blog

22 Oct 2019

To Slab, Or Not To Slab, Part Two

Coins | Liberty Walking Half

"Why do people have such a blind trust in these companies?" When speculators, investors, and various new numismatists become involved in buying and selling of coins, certified specimens are an attractive draw. Speculators and investors, particularly if they are new to the numismatic industry, generally see certified coins as selling well, along with being highly marketable because of the grade guarantee, and naturally purchase them. Additionally, ‘slabs’ are easier to sell, because the grade, for the most part, is set in stone, at least to a further extent then a uncertified ‘raw’ coin. New hobbyists, being inexperienced, see certified coins as being a safer buy, with far less risk of over-grading or faking. These people, along with other numismatists, have a blind trust in third-party grading companies because by almost everyone these companies are considered unbiased, as opposed to the seller or buyer and trustworthy simply because they have small benefit for being dishonest. Over time, it became more and more common for many to see the grade, see the company, and move right on to the price-haggling. For many, the name and the grade became all that were needed to make the click on "Purchase". For many, blindly trusting a third-party grading company became a natural thing. "Why do people have such a blind trust in these companies?" Because for many, the question, if any were asked, was, "Why not?"

"When should/do we employ them?" This one is fairly simple to answer. We employ them for protection of coins that are expensive either monetarily or sentimentally. That protection comes in the form of the strong, safe cases third-party grading companies place graded coins in, and from the certified, guaranteed grade. When investing in expensive coins, either buying ‘slabbed’ ones, or submitting them is another manner of employment of third-party grading companies. Authenticating rare varieties and errors is another use. These companies have multiple, good, beneficial ways to employ them.

People employ them for non-biased expert services. They dominate in an industry thanks to the trust and need in them people have created. Their general non-bias, industry dominance, and investment safety give them the blind-trust of many. The uses for them are numerous. They are third-party grading companies. An important factor in modern day numismatics, and a useful one too, I am not suggesting the elimination of them, or some sort of dramatic modification of them. I think they serve a great purpose, and certainly do not worsen numismatics. But I do say this; simply because they have importance does not mean they are the final word. We don’t need to have complete compliance, and shouldn’t. There may be reason to keep and employ them, but not to blindly trust them.


At the end of the day a third party slabs protect the good guy (the honest sellers and buyers) and helps keep away the bad ones (counterfeiters and whizzers). Its like taking a car to a trusted mechanic before you buy it.


Level 6

I agree with you for the most part. They do make new collectors lazy. We should all be able to grade the coins we collect. As a collector of VAMs, if I buy a raw coin, I send it into Vari Slab. He puts it in a nice plastic holder and adds his attribution sticker to it. He does not grade it. That is up to you. Many people have very strong opinions of certain grading companies. I see the rise of CAC stickers and really don't like it. So now we have, basically, a forth party grader, grading the third party grader. Having said all that there is no denying that a CAC sticker-ed coin generally brings more $ at auction. Sometimes a lot more. Asmember of the ANA, we are able to submit coins to NGC at no additional price. Nice perc. So, I recon it is all up to each collector..Thanks.

It's Mokie

Level 6

IMHO, Slabs as issued by the Big Three have revolutionized the hobby and made it much easier for neophytes to enter the hobby and thrive. Of course, the Chinese counterfeits, including the counterfeit slabs, have had an effect on the market but trust remains and the counterfeits are mostly tied to more valuable coins that the prudent buyer will investigate fully before buying. Bottom line, if the deal is too good to be true, then it is probably not a good deal. So trust in the slabs but use your own common sense to ensure your purchases are sound.


Level 7

I wrote The same blog years ago. To slab. Yes. Because it protects the coins. The Smithsonian Institution tested the three major company's that slab. NGC was by far the best.They put this countries most expensive and and the the rarest coins we have. That says allot. Some counterfeits are so good they were slabed but that has been stopped. I collect Conder tokens. We don't believe in slabing but when you get a MS 225 year old beauty I slab it for protection.. Don't care about the grade. And it's up to you and the coin . Grades we will always complain about. Great blog thanks.

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