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Slabbed Vs. Raw


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I'm probably just beating a dead horse with this topic, but I just thought I'd ask. Which do you prefer, and why?

 

I can see upsides and downsides to both.

 

Slabbing upsides:

The main one with slabbing is that the coin being slabbed is surely not a counterfiet. Secondly it keeps them safe from most enviromental damage, and surface damage. Last for me, is the grade itself, mainly because grading is super super subjective, I've only ever agreed with about 60-70% of the slabbed coins I've seen, and even less when it comes to coins with obvious strike issues and surface problems, mainly on older coins anyway.

Slabbing downsides:

The worst thing with a slab is, you cannot actually touch your coin! Okay, I know you shouldn't really handle coins anyway, but I love the feel of an old coin between my fingers, obviously I wouldn't thumb up an unc draped bust coin or other nice coin, but having one that is G-Fish I see little problems with. Next is one that has been a big problem with older specimens is you cannot see the edge, how annoyed would you be to own a rare example of a lettered edge large cent from the 1790's but never be able to actually SEE the edgework. And then there is the cost of getting it slabbed. I would rather buy a $3 hard plastic holder for mine. Afterall, I'm not selling most of my coins, and I know what grade they are, I'm not without a ANA standards and photograde, so why would I care what somebody else thinks? Not to mention not every coin can be slabbed, some companies don't even touch a coin with corrosion or one from another country. (Non-US)

 

Upsides to Raw:

You can see every nanometer of the coin, edge and all! You can actually hold it in your hand just as a person 200 years ago held it, that kind of history cannot be felt through plastic cases. You can photograph raw coins easier as well. You have the fun challenge to grade it yourself, and that (at least for me) is rather self-gratifying. And for the most part they take up less room to store.

Downsides to Raw

Your coin can be much more easily damaged by the enviroment or accidental damage such as dropping it, or a staple mishap! For those that cannot grade a coin themselves, they are left with just a guess. The coin may look legit, but could be a fake, sometimes just to have something authenticated it's worth having it slabbed. The coin lacks a serial number which could be traced if it was stolen.

 

That's my input, if I think of anything else I'll surely rant on it. But please, lets here what you have to spout on this topic?

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I thoroughly agree with the majority of your points here. The biggest exception is the statement, "the coin being slabbed is surely not a counterfiet". Well, the vast majority of the time that is quite accurate, but I have seen a few and heard about many more coins that were slabbed and turned out to be fakes.

 

Also, if a slabbed coin gets stolen, it is a rather simple matter to crack out the coin. Then there is a raw coin without any serial numbers to trace.

 

I have purchased both slabbed and raw coins for my collection. The vast majority I bought raw because, in most cases anyway, I trust my ability to grade and spot problems such as cleaning. When I buy a slabbed coin, I look at the coin, not the plastic tomb or its label because I don't give a rat's rear-end what the TPG thinks about the grade. I listened to enough collectors and dealers tell me to "buy the coin, not the slab" - so that's what I do.

 

The thing that irritates me most about TPG's is the adverse way they have affected the market, particularly with MS coins. I guess I don't understand why an MS-65 coin is worth $1,000 but the same coin reslabbed with an MS-66 grade is worth $7,500. And this happens frequently. People will buy a nice 64 and crack it out, submit to another company (sometimes even the same TPG !!!) and it comes back at 65. I know people who do this all the time. It's fine for these dealers/speculators/investors to make money - it's just beyond my comprehension why anyone would pay such huge differences in price because of a one point difference in grade. As you said, grading is highly subjective, so why do most collectors assume that the TPG is more accurate than anyone else? Besides, can you really spot the difference between a 65 and a 66? Or a 68 and a 69? With that, I will end my little rant.

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I agree with the points above. The slabbing helps prevent damage but also prevents accurate viewing of the edges and (to me) very minor details. Pretty to scratch a slab than a coin.

 

The main reason I've bought slabbed coins are to help me with my own grading and just as examples. Trying to get a different slab from each of the top 3 companies sounds fun.

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Being a UK based collector out of principle I avoid slabbed coins.

If I ever bought a slabbed it would soon be cracked out......However the US market is a different kettle of fish.....seemingly common coins demanding huge premiums in top grades.

I think I prefer the UK market....but I'm only 26% sure.

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Slabbing = Marketing.

 

Well, ok...

 

Slabbing ~ Marketing.

 

Whatever benefits the coin capsule sought to provide at it's introduction, the monster that it has become has far dwarfed the original intent. That is ok though. That is what free market is all about. And as long as collectors (and more importantly new collectors) keep that notion in mind they can purchase quality, genuine coins, for a reasonable price.

 

The "High Grade" coin industry is not about collecting, it is about profit. And with zero means for regulating bodies like the ANA to enforce guidelines with respect to ethical and legal behaviour, the rare coin market remains bloodied and bruised not just to the hobbiest and hard core collector, but also to the general public on the outside looking in.

 

Slabs sought to make sight unseen purchases comfortable and honest. In many aspects, it has done neither.

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I've bought slabbed coins to get an example I need for a customer. In that case i leave it in the slab, but the ones I've bought for myself are set free as soon as I can get time to do it.. For coins I'm keeping for myself, slabs are a hindrance, but they're no problem if I'm just getting something for someone who has asked me to find them one.

 

Darned if I'll pay an extra penny for the slab, though, and I'll sure enough disagree with a grade and pass on something that's below accepted standards for the stated grade on the slab. I've heard people say that having a grade assigned on a slab ends any speculation about the grade, but I don't really subscribe to that view.

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I have bought both, and as a newbie 6 or 7 years ago I bought all my CC Morgans in slabs, not trusting my own judgement.

 

Now I stick to raw with an occasional slab purchased for the type set, which gets immediately cracked out.

 

As others said, there are some benefits on both sides.

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I always prefer buying raw. I bought one slabbed last year, because I had never owned one before. Like Vfox said, "You can touch the coin." In the same mindset, a slabbed coin graded MS66 has probably never been used in a business transaction as change. So, I say, where's the history in that?

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Anyone who has been here a while has probably heard my rant about slabbers before but here goes. (Copied from a PCGS forum thread on the same topic)

 

Slabbing has never been about protecting collectors.  It is about greed.  PERIOD!!!The ONLY people who benefit from a TPG are scamming dealers and investors wanting to buy coins like commodities. TPG's have never kept a dealer who wanted to sell a slider at the next (or the next two) grades up from doing so. It has instead made it much easier. Now all he has to do point to the label of his overgraded drek--yes, even from 1st tier companies--and say there is the grade; take it or leave it. The plastic collectors--who, of course, can't be bothered to actually LEARN something about what they are buying then line up to be bent over.

 

Did scammer dealers exist before slabbing? Sure they did. No one is trying to say otherwise. But, at least then, they weren't ripping off newbies for premiums of 300% to 500% (or more) what they would have paid for a properly graded coin. Then a premium of 50% to the next grade was rare; a 100% increase was almost unheard of.

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In the same mindset, a slabbed coin graded MS66 has probably never been used in a business transaction as change.  So, I say, where's the history in that?

 

Good point, I do like the look of a nice MS coin, but I'm a circulated coin collector for the most part, I like Xf-Au coins just fine for that, but sometimes a nice worn down large cent or something is just as fulfilling.

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Bustchaser -

 

Well said !!! :ninja:

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As I've said before, I believe there are some coins that should be slabbed (or otherwise similarly protected such as in Capitol holders where they can be easily accessed) because of their quality and historical value. That being said, none of those coins are what any of us here typically think of as being collectible. We all might like to own or handle an 1804 silver dollar, but thats not going to happen. Now it just so happens that I got to hold an 1804 silver dollar (among many other rarities) during the Garrett auction preview days, but it was in a Capital holder. I don't think I would have had that opportunity otherwise.

 

As for buying collectible coins, raw is my preference (I actually own zero slabbed coins).

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The main reason I've bought slabbed coins are to help me with my own grading and just as examples.

 

Like most of you said, a raw coin allows you to appreciate the coin as an object of history and art much more than a slab.

 

I don't have the budget I'd like to have for collecting. Therefore, most of the coins in my collection are raw because they're cheaper and there is more room for grading error. However, if there is a key coin or a high grade coin, I'd buy the slab. This gives me much more assurance that the coin is genuine. On a more superficial level, it protects the big money I've managed to invest into the coin.

 

As many of you noted, the current market is very picky with regards to grading. Suppose I find a slabbed MS65 but find the money to upgrade to a more eye-appealing coin, I'll want to sell the 65 coin to help pay for the other one. Many dealers/collectors will buy a slab much more readily because of the TPG stamp of approval.

 

In summary: I go raw when I can. But I go slab when i need to invest my scarce income into that even scarcer coin.

 

I'm sorry if that doesn't make sense. Remember, I'm a poor college student.

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I can't believe I read both of those monster threads :ninja:

But keep in mind that the slabs in question are older types which are not airtight to the degree of most newer slabs.

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I can't believe I read both of those monster threads  :ninja:

But keep in mind that the slabs in question are older types which are not airtight to the degree of most newer slabs.

 

 

What difference does that make? PCGS and NGC have both repeatedly admitted that their slabs are not airtight. Although the current slabs would take longer to tone it can still be done in a reasonable amount of time.

 

This ignores the fact that coins from the old rattler slabs can be artificially toned and then reslabbed into the current slab for $5.00 without being reexamined by the TPG.

 

Once again people,

 

 

 

LOOK AT THE COIN ITSELF NOT ANY SLAB IT HAPPENS TO BE IN!!! A slab only protects scumbags--not buyers and not the coin. :lol:

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  • 13 years later...

Apologies for coming late to this topic in 2020. Not surprisingly, this topic is even more relevant today than it was 14 years ago. I don’t know what coin collecting will be like 100 years from now. I don’t know if there will be more slabbed coins rather than raw coins in the future.

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