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I wonder how everyone feels about slabbed vs raw coins. In my opinion they each have their good points and bad points.

I like slabbed coins because there is greater protection of the coin, you can be failrly confident on the actual worth of a coin, and I like the registry idea that ngc and pcgs have. Some of the drawbacks are the price (is a 2009 MS 69 coin really worth that much less than a 70), shipping (several dealers will ship raw coins for free) and the aesthetic appeal (slabs don,t do alot for coin displays).

The big advantages for raw coins are the price, shipping, and the look. I enjoy putting together a collection in an album. In addition, I am not paying a premium for having a 69 coin slabbed (most newer proofs are probably at least 69 anyways). The major drawback is as an inexperienced collector I am not sure of the difference between a MS62 and a MS63 for example so I may be getting a coin that is overpriced due to an inflated grade.

I will probably still collect both types. Right now I am collecting ngc 70 state quarters and ngc 69 eagles and commemoratives. The raw coins that I am collecting are Walking Liberty, Franklin, and Kennedy Halves which I am putting in Intercept Shield Albums.

How do other people feel about slabbed vs raw coins?

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In my opinion I would say slab older type coins and newer coins don't require it... but if you are not happy with the presentation of a modern coin then slabbing could be an option.
Of course all of this is my opinion-

Going the slabbed route can be quite expensive and time consuming, especially if you try to put together sets of older circulating coins. You will no sooner finish the set and then you will find yourself wanting to at least have a minimal grade for the entire set. After you spend all your money getting it to MS-63 for example, then you will want them all to be at least what your top graded older coin is, which may be a 65. It's then back to the bank for more money. It never seems to end until you have the best set on earth, or your family leaves you because you have a problem and no more money.

For those of us on budgets, I suggest raw coins for circulating coin sets. You can then have a complete set of coins and not worry about how close the numbers are to each other. A complete BU set of Franklins in a Dansco Album is very pleasing to the eye, even though it may range from 62-67. They all look great when you open it up. Raw coins can be put into displays that are very nice looking. I have a Capital Plastics SBA holder that has all the dates, mintmarks and varities and it looks like a perfect set of everything Susan B. It probably isn't, but it sure looks that way.

Which brings us back to slabs. When you have a slab collection, it doesn't display well. If the numbers don't all match, you start to feel like it's not right. You can't put them in a type set display or look at a bunch of dates and mintmarks by opening an album to one page. I have a complete set of a modern series in grade PR70. It now sits in an NGC 20 coin box in a safe. Even when I do take it out to share with someone, I have to take each slab out one-by-one and line them up across the dining room table. If the person wants to see the reverse side, it's then flip them over one-by-one down the line. It would be so nice to just open up a book and show the coins to someone. I know they make slab books but they're bulky and ugly.

I keep some very beautiful displays of raw coins out for all to see. The total value is the same as the PR70's in the safe, so it's not a security issue; It's a display issue.

For a single coin type collector, maybe slabs are fine. When you are a set collector, raw is fine unless you're trying to create a top level set. And unless you're going for the perfect 70 set remember: "Buy the coin, not the slab".
You make some good points Craig, about the advantages of both. I mainly like raw coins. I like being able to hold the coin in my hand, or put it in an album is I want to. I was pretty much against slabbed coins for a while. But I think that there advantages to having some coins graded by NGC or PCGS. I plan on mostly sticking with the raw coins. But with the U.S. type set that I recently started I plan on doing it all NGC slabbed coins. Because I don't want to have to learn to grade every series of U.S. coins. So, to a certain extent I'm going to just trust NGC to grade most of these coins for me. Its also nice to have slabbed coins, because it will simplify the selling process some day. With series of coins that I'm really in to and know about though, like Walkers and Morgans, I might buy a slabbed one occasionally, but usually go with raw. I just don't like encasing most of my coins in a plastic tomb.
I agree with Lureuin that type coin collecting may be better in slabs. But for a set collector, raw is better. And I'm both.
Hi!, Craig,
I'm sure that you'll receive as many different opinions as there are respondents. For me, there is nothing like holding a coin in my hand and being a part of its history. You can't say this for today's mint offerings, all either encapsulated or sealed, as they come with no history to them, virtually untouched, and unused. No imagination need be expended as to where they've been other than a machine and a package. I have purchased almost every Mint offering over the past forty years and not one of them can capture the same feeling as holding a well-worn large cent or Indian head which, in its day may have passed through the hands of 10,000 or more entirely different people and used for every imaginable purpose from rent to food to transportation or tuition. I have loads of slabbed coins which I value very much but they're just not the same as the coins I still have from delivering newspapers as a boy. There are a lot of dimensions to this hobby: collecting for future value, for beauty alone, for a part of history, and just for the sake of building a hoard to pass on. Of all of them, I personally value the history, and an unslabbed, "in my hand" coin makes me a part of that history, left to the imagination of some future holder who will only be able to conjure up an idea of who I was and what I was doing with the coin when I had it. I have mentioned it before and believe it worthy of repetition that I have four Hawaiian commems, three of them in high mint state and one of which has been in circulation. You may surmise it, but my favorite is the circulated one because it boggles my mind that this issue, which started its existence as an immediate collectible and always commanded a good premium, was able to get one out in circulation where it had to pass through innumerable hands before winding up with me. At times, I truly believe that my circulated Hawaiian is a far greater rarity than all the others, and because it is "raw" and unslabbed, I can actually hold it in my hands. Slabs are necessary at times, for honest protection of a valuable asset, but for me, once it is done, it is hermetically sealed from my interaction with it. I continue to buy the new mint offerings but as I write this, I cannot recall ever holding any of those coins "raw" in my hands, only in their little plastic capsules, and then only when they arrive, are checked, and put back so they can be listed in my inventory. A pity!! Maybe someday, in a fit of frenzy, I'll bust them all open and hold them for a while as coins and not as trophies, then put them back and return to playing with all the other normal ones in their unadulterated raw state and wonder again who had them in the past and who will hold them in the future. Just one man's opinion on one aspect of collecting coins. All the best and thanks for the indulgence, Larry
Excellent post Larry!!!!
Great posts everyone. I guess the bottom line is that everyone sees the necessity for slabbed coins in certain circumstances but it is just not as much fun.
Both sides make great arguments for slabs and raw. I am fairly new to all this, but in the case of the UHR, I bought 2 of them. 1 I sent in to the grading service (first time!!) and the other is raw in my safe. I'm no expert, so I hope I sent the 70 to the graders and not a 69. But whatever.
My point is that I will probably hold onto both for a long time, but this was kind of an experiment for me.

I appreciate your opinions above, it was very enlightening.

john
A long running and very interesting arguement that has been aired many, many, times over the years. I personally like slabs (NGC, PCGS, a few others) but also own many raw coins. I find that both have their advantages and disadvantages. Sure, you cannot actually "handle" a slabbed coin the same way you can a raw coin, but c'mon, how many actually take their coins out of capsules, or 2X2's to fondle them anyway?

On the positive side of raw coins, you have much easier and diversified storage options. You can purchase nice albums, or store 2X2's in 3 ring binder's. You can also store these in small cardboard or plastic storage boxes. Various methods offer ease of viewing or storage, depending on what you choose.

Now, the flip side of that coin. If you collect modern coins and seek nice examples, it's far easier to obtain high grade pieces already certified than it is to hunt for nice raw examples. I like Eisenhower Dollar's, a tough series to find in decent uncirculated grades because it's a big heavy coin prone to bag marks. I searched through hundreds of blue pack Ikes without ever finding a MS-65 coin! I now own them all in MS-67 and at a surprisingly low cost considering the scarcity of pristine examples. If your into older series, most key coins have been counterfeited over the years, and even more are currently being counterfeited in China. Today more than ever it is extremely important to purchase your key (and semi-key)date coins certified as they also authenticate the coins. If buying a key date, it's far better to get it either already certified or certified after you buy it, and get a guarantee from the seller. One of my U.S. Coin Collecting member's purchased a 1909-S VDB Cent which was raw and circulated. He was very proud of his purchase, and posted pictures of the coin. It was a nice example grading in fine condition, and we all thought it was really nice, until one member questioned the mintmark. I did a little research and sure enough, the mintmark did not match the coins struck in 1909, so what this member bought was a fake. We work way too hard for our money just to throw it away on a fake coin. Some of these mistakes can end up costing you serious money. So I'd strongly recommend when buying older coins, you consider purchasing certified material. Even a genuine coin overgraded by a seller can end up costing you some serious green and put a serious dent in your coin funds.

To sum up, certification isn't always needed! Like with the UHR Saints your buying a Mint product direct from the Mint, so odds are, it's real. However, when buying a Gold coin from a unknown seller, it might be worth buying it certified, so that you actually get your money's worth. Expect to pay fair market value too, there's usually a reason for bargain pricing. There's a old saying, "there is no Santa Claus in Numismatics". Either way you go, play it safe, and you'll get what you pay for. ~ Jim

U.S. Coin Collecting
The first coin that ever "lit my fire" was a raw Morgan, it was huge, and had a design so reminicent of the late 1800's. From that point, I was in love! ~ Jim
Very nice post CC. There is nothing like the sound of an old silver dollar flipped hard in the air. The ringing sound is so unique that my kids and I never cease to enjoy it. At times I'm tempted to carry an old Morgan around for a day just to feel it in my pocket and flip it.
Hey Z-man I agree, its specially unique hold a small lot of them in hands. It's something you can't get out of even holding a $100 dollar bill. It has that it's real feeling to it.

Z-man said:
I agree Jim! There is nothing like the weighty feel and look of a Morgan Dollar to hold and
study. There are so many varieties and ways to collect them. Its my favorite coin to collect!
Z-man
Jim Archibald said:
The first coin that ever "lit my fire" was a raw Morgan, it was huge, and had a design so reminicent of the late 1800's. From that point, I was in love! ~ Jim
I where there still is a lot gold in the ground streams :)

Z-man said:
Gary, CC, Jim, Lureuin, Tom, It's like Gold Fever, once you get it you don't want to be cured of it.
It's in my blood !!! Morgan Dollar Fever ! Z-man

Gary said:
Hey Z-man I agree, its specially unique hold a small lot of them in hands. It's something you can't get out of even holding a $100 dollar bill. It has that it's real feeling to it.

Z-man said:
I agree Jim! There is nothing like the weighty feel and look of a Morgan Dollar to hold and
study. There are so many varieties and ways to collect them. Its my favorite coin to collect!
Z-man
Jim Archibald said:
The first coin that ever "lit my fire" was a raw Morgan, it was huge, and had a design so reminicent of the late 1800's. From that point, I was in love! ~ Jim

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