C.D. Harrell's Blog

08 Apr 2020

A Deeper Dive Into Numismatics

Collecting Tips | C.D. Harrell

A Deeper Dive Into Numismatics

By. C.D.Harrell


There is something relaxing about having your coins graded by a reputable third party grading service. Having your coins protected, guaranteed, and easy to organize are just a few of the many upsides. Coin grading services such as NGC and PCGS have been in the business of coin grading since the 1980s. Which is not very long considering human beings have been collecting numismatic related material for thousands of years.

Third party coin grading is still young. Over the past four decades the shapes, colors, fonts, and sizes of the holders have changed several times. As many of you are aware, in the 1980s PCGS manufactured a holder that we call a rattler. These holders will bring a higher premium than the new holders with the same coin in them, in the same grade. Yes, more value is associated with a vintage holder than a new holder. Now that's something I can get behind.

As numismatist we are presented with a unique opportunity here. Not only do we have a chance to collect the coins we chase, but we have the option to collect the holders they are encapsulated in as well.

Each day there are coins being cracked out of old NGC and PCGS holders in hopes to resubmit the coin and receive a higher grade. As collectors of coins, it should be our responsibility to save some of this numismatic history. Recently I have been adding to my capped bust half dollar collection. If I have the choice between a new holder and a vintage holder, I will choose the vintage holder ten out of ten times, contingent on that the coin qualities are of equal merit.

The storage container for my slabbed coins is a glorified shoe box. It is black, with black foam slots notched out for coins to be placed into. Ever so often I will fix myself a cup of coffee in my favorite handmade cup, and retrieve my coin box out of the safe to have a look. Opening the box I am greeted with two rows of slabbed coins. Some labels are green, some are white, some are light blue and some are dark blue. Some even look like their information was completed in type writer font. Some of the slabs are scratched from many years of exchange. Some slabs look as if they were sealed just yesterday.

Looking at my coins, not only do I have the opportunity to enjoy the history of the coins themselves, but I am lucky enough to enjoy the history of the hobby. I will often think about the coin grader that held the coins, looking at every detail on their surface with a small magnifier. Critiquing the coins every flaw, and awarding its every positive.

Hopefully many of you do the same as I. If you have never really thought about the collectability of the holders in which your coins are sealed, give it some thought. There are many options of vintage holders between NGC, PCGS, and even ANACS. I am sure you will find much joy as you dive deeper into numismatics.



Level 6

I want to protect my coins, especially the higher end, which means slabbing. On the other hand I really enjoy holding my coins... What a dilemma ;) haha Great blog!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

I feel like the Moke. I would rather buy a raw coin that I judge to be a great coin irrespective of the professional grader and if I think even more of it, then submit it. Saves me money in at least the short run. If I think that much of it to buy it slabbed outright, it's not likely to leave my permanent collection, unless I would use it to trade for an even better specimen of the same issue and date. Maybe my opinion on that will change as I gain more experience.

Long Beard

Level 5

While I have nothing against slabbed coins, for me it's about the space savings having a sizable collection 46 years in the making. Unless the coin is rare, a grade of 66 or above, a die variety or the like, I opt to crack them out for Air-tite holders. Perhaps someday the third party graders will figure out a similar, round encapsulation method. But, the vast majority of my collection before 1900 is in the average grades of vf/xf so this makes sense for me as opposed to graded. What I will add to your comment about resubmitting an older holder, it's sometimes better to buy in the MS66/67 range as these often grade higher in a new holder. If done correctly on your part that could be a tremendous savings from buying one already grade higher.


Level 7

If a coin is.woth money i will protect it! If i want to hold it and history i have coins for that also. We have a resposability to save these coins . They were protected for us. N.G.C. slabs the 300 most important and rare coins of the U.S. and most expensive . This is after the Smithosian Institute tested all three major graders. They use the same slabs for our coins. I cant argue with that.


Level 6

I've been eyeing some original ANACS graded coins. Back when they first started and were a part of the ANA. Back when you got a picture of both sides of your coin with each side given a separate grade. BRILLIANT! your coin never was put in a slab. Just a certificate I described above. Thanks.

It's Mokie

Level 6

I kinda go in the opposite direction, to me, slabs are a necessary evil but actually infringe on my ability to truly enjoy my coins. I see their benefit to the market and how they take a lot of the corruption out of the hobby but still, give me an unslabbed Very Fine type Coin every time. I can always put it in a flip or even a Kointain to protect it.

collecting sample slabs was given quite a boot after David Schwager published his book on them. A vintage holder means that the coin was graded before the companies were zipping through thousands of coins every day. They were more accurate, which is why they sell for more. Great blog.

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