Why I'm not a big fan of grading.
by, 09-30-2009 at 06:12 AM (1645 Views)
If anybody ever actually reads this, perhaps this will be a little controversial. That is not my intent, but it might be...so please bear with me (that is, IF anybody ever reads this! )
Now obviously, grading does have some big advantages, especially in this day and age, with counterfits so prevalent. A graded coin is, most of the time, sure to be genuine. Sure, some may slip through the cracks, and there are even fake slabs out there now, but that is by far not the norm. So that, in my opinion, is the #1 best reason for having a coin graded. To be sure it's really what it's supposed to be.
Another big draw for grading/graded coins is that they have a higer degree of protection then raw coins. You need not have to worry about leaving a fingerprint, or holding a coin by the edges, if you can't hold the actual coin at all. So that is another big draw.
Now, here's where I have the problem. Most of the people, that is not why they have their coins graded. Most of them, or at least a good portion of them, from what I can tell- only care about how much they can sell the coin for. In higher grades, that can be lots of money...into the 4 digits for some coins, perhaps even higher. But therein lies the rub...when the grade looks the exact same, who's to say what makes one coin better then the next? Grading is notoriously subjective. A coin I might think looks great, but the next guy down the line thinks there is an issue with it.
To me, that goes against pretty much everything I collect for. I make no bones about the fact that grades mean little to me. I collect coins for what they ARE...not what metal they are made out of or what somebody I have never met, on that particular day, says they are worth!
The only possible scenario that could bring me in line with the grading scheme is if ONE person did EVERY coin, at least that particular coin design. Then, OK, it would truly be acceptible because this one person has seen them all, and they would know if it really is better then others of it's design. But, as we all know, that doesn't happen.
Another thing I think is pretty lousy is that you have to pay for the coin even if it is rejected. That isn't fair, and it's down right crazy to do that....I don't like throwing away my money, thank you. And, from what I have gathered, the rate you pay goes up with the rate of what "they" (being the grading company or the marketplace) say it is worth. Well...that's not very subjective. Obviously, the grading companies are going to be more leniant on a big dollar coin, because it means they get more money in their pocket. If it was truly subjective, one flat fee for all coins, regardless or type, grade, age, whatnot, and you didn't have to pay for coins that they decided that day didn't meet their standards, I would not have such a big issue. But...that's not how it is, and so...I have the issue.
Now as to graded coins themselves. I have one, that was given to me. It's not in a top tier company, in fact I had never heard of the company until I was given the coin, but, since that was my first graded coin...it is, in fact, special to me. (The fact that it was a gift though weighs more heavily then the fact that it was graded).
I have not yet purchased a coin that was graded. I don't think it's intelligent to have to pay more for the fact that the coin is in plastic, so I have basically ignored them. However, as I start going to shows, and start seeing more coins, I am bound to come across a slabbed coin that I want in my collection. A Dilemma. What shall I do? Will I pass it over, and then wonder forever if I should have gotten it, or will I move on to raw coins, just the way I like them? And, if I do buy the slabbed coin, will I crack it out? I have no intention of ever selling my collection, but, will I leave it in the slab for protection or bring it in line with the rest of my collection? The biggest threat from cracking a coin, is not the "threat" of "loosing money", that means nothing, less then nothing to me. The threat is, I know plastic, I've been working with various forms of plastic for a decade. The kind slabs are made of can crack, easily, splinter, and shatter. I am afraid it will damage the coin. THAT is the biggest drawback to cracking out a coin!
What to do, what to do...