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Slabbing banknotes


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For the same reason people like to slab coins I guess. I've read testimonials of those who ONLY buy slabbed notes who state they like the gauranty of the notes genuiness and grade, especially for resale. They are rebutted by those who state they should learn to grade themselves and save their high cost slabbing fees, which drive the cost of notes up, which the slab guy says is actually a good thing for him; Back and forth they go. But sometimes the twain do meet. I have a few slabbed notes, but only because that is how they came. in considering two notes of like quality, I would never buy a note slabbed just because it was slabbed, and I would not willingly pay more money for a note in a slab. That said, I have no problem for those who do slab - to a point.

 

I've seen some people selling world notes that are slabbed by US companies. I do not know if they are know about the idiosyncracies of other countries that the typical 70 point coin grading system would not apply to, but there they are. Most of these world notes are attrociously priced as well. I've seen some I've paid $30 US for offered for more than 400 on eBay. Why? Because of greed of course - and the slab. I've seen ads of slab companies in magazines touting the higher resale prices for slabbed notes as well. This is a sad evolution of the slab - marking up prices just because it's encased in plastic. Slabs on rare notes may make sense, but on common notes, it's what seems to be merely fashion.

 

I would like to be able to purchase a nice holder similar to those that the better slab companies provide with their service, but I also want to hold the note in hand as well. There is so much more that the note can tell in hand versus through it's holder. Weight, embossing, paper type, smell, etc. are all lost once it's encased. Of course you can cut them out, which some do, but then why pay for it in the first place?

 

For some it's a justifyable expense in investing. For others, it's a needless expense in collecting. I've read where others accuse those who like slabs as being investors only, and are not real collectors - But I think that is a mistake. We collect what we want and how we want. If you want to collect in that manner, then I personally see nothing wrong with it. But I now and again will let out a small sigh when seeing higher prices in world notes simply because they are being "fashionably" slabbed.

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It's context for me. In the US realm, I tend to buy slabbed coins. At least I know they are genuine, and not altered or badly cleaned or what-have-you. (Though a truly badly cleaned coin is obvious.) But I do look _at the coin_ if for no other reason than I am fussy about strike, which is almost never a consideration in grading. Should I ever exhibit these coins, I will leave them in the slabs.

 

In my Russian Imperial collecting days I almost never bought a slabbed coin, and when I did... I would often crack it out when I exhibited the coin. (I still have a dirt common 1915 20 kopek piece slab-graded MS-67--one wonders why the person bothered, when the coin was worth maybe ten bucks at the time. I paid $15 for it because it had five dollars of comedic value.) Ironically, though the only coins I ever _paid_ to have slabbed were a partial Russian proof set. I bought that very early in my time as a Russian Imperial collector, and simply didn't know how else to protect the coins _thoroughly_. (Later on, I would've used Airtite holders--the poor man's slab, I called them, and you can get the coins out when you want to.) When I consigned them for sale, the auctioneer cracked them out, and I was not surprised, in fact I would have suspected "pod people" if he hadn't. It's a non-trivial aspect of this that the edge of a Russian Imperial coin is oftentimes _very_ important, much more so than with American coins, as different edge varieties can exist. NGC is addressing this with their holder that lets you see (most of!) the edge. It now seems slabs are catching on somewhat in the Russian Imperial marketplace--though who knows what the Russians do once they get the coins back from the West? (Airtites don't let you see the edge, but you can take the coin out of the airtite for examination.)

 

I suspect we will see similar patterns in banknotes (to finally get to something directly relevant to the OP)--they have taken the US market over, and are starting to "bleed" into the world paper side of things. All of the arguments I've heard about slabbed vs. not slabbed still obtain, though it sounds like paper money is far more "tactile" a branch of the hobby and that might slow things down.

 

I agree that it would be nice to have a do it yourself holder for notes that would correspond to the airtite's "Poor Man's Slab."

 

(P.S. there are now holders available with a form factor close to the PCGS style slab though the outer edge is a bit thicker and they don't slide gracefully into the NGC one-size-fits-all box--or at least not the old ones I happen to have. They go in but are snug enough to need a gentle push. (BTW it's really hard to get an NGC box as a giveaway but I seem to accumulate PCGS ones!))

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Don't know about coins, but for notes, slabbing is a uniquely American artifact, probably grown out of the coin slabbing practice. Since most "World notes" tend to be collected outside of US :), they tend not to be slabbed. It is not uncommon to see slabbed non-US notes in some US auctions though, which are again likely by and for the American collectors. I do stand to be corrected as this is definitely not my area of interest (or even knowledge).

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In the current Heritage CSNS auction there are numerous world notes in slabs, and all are currently grossly overbid in my opinion. I nixed all the items I was watching because they are currently over 100% more than the notes are worth to me.

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I'm going to be honest, I've never seen a slabbed banknote & I don't recall seeing a slabbed coin either!

 

Slabbing isn't part of the Australian numismatic culture, I think it's a North American thing.

 

As a side discussion would their be any benefits of slabbing (or removable plastic casing) banknotes in tropical regions were humidity is often not the friend of the paper note?

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