Question for seasoned Slab-Crackers

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by ycon, Apr 26, 2018.

  1. Jaelus

    Jaelus Hungarian Collector Supporter

    Are they? Here's one I just cracked out using my technique with a 16oz ball-pein hammer. I can snap the case back together cleanly.


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  3. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    The edges of your slab look chipped from hammering. I've tried several methods but the vice is the cleanest, safest method for me so far.
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  4. Jaelus

    Jaelus Hungarian Collector Supporter

    It's possible. I've never tried using a vice; I've just gotten really good at the hammer technique. I'd like to see some shots of the case like I've posted from someone who is really good at the vice method, to compare.

    There is one point on each edge by the top triangle where this particular slab was hit. You can see it clearer here. The damage is about as minimal as you can get with this technique on an NGC slab. This is the top edge where the label is, not near the coin.

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  5. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    See my step 3 above. I use a constant tension, slow turn of the vise so that it does not destroy. I did not show it, but I use a hand-towel so that shards won't fly (whether I am using a hammer or the vise).

    It depends on how the RF horn is working during manufacturing as to how easy a seam will break. Sometimes, if the settings are too high, then the seam is pretty stout. Sometimes, they break easily.

    LOL, well, I do not feel the hammer is "barbaric", it is just how comfortable you are with the control of your tool. I like that a Vise is more controllable for me. I have been running manufacturing facilities for years... different tool applications for different jobs.
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  6. PlanoSteve

    PlanoSteve Well-Known Member

    I like the hammer approach, or more specifically, to get hammered, then I usually come to my senses & leave it alone! (caveat: this would not apply to ancients in slabs, they must come out!,....from what I'm told!)

    (I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant! :D:D:D)
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  7. juris klavins

    juris klavins Well-Known Member

  8. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    The description for those pliers is hilarious:

    “Just a quick snip on the edge opens PCGS slabs. Hold other brands of slabes [sic] on their edges on a hard surface and tap with these pliers to open them.”

    In other words, use the pliers as a hammer! :hilarious:
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  9. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    Please elaborate. An inquiring mind wants to know.
  10. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    OK, here you go- several paragraphs and some extra commentary about a simple technique that can be performed in far less time than it will take you to read this post:

    The LordM "No Tools" Slab-Cracking Technique

    Essentially my technique consists of inserting the top portion of the slab (the part where the label is) between two fixed, immovable, and sturdy surfaces like a gap between the boards on a porch or deck, and then pushing the slab with one's foot to "bend" it, exerting pressure in one direction. The placement of the slab between the boards means that while you're exerting pressure on it, you're "bending" it until it snaps in two, breaking off that top portion where the label is. The gap between the boards becomes your fulcrum.

    Once you've done that, and the top portion (label part) of the slab is snapped off, the remaining plastic can usually be pried apart without too much difficulty, though one does need to be wary of jagged plastic shards if you didn't get a clean break. This is why I recommend pushing on it with a shoed foot. That keeps your eyes and other body parts well above the breaking plastic. A flathead screwdriver and/or some pliers can be helpful for the final plastic separation and removal, and I do recommend gloves for that, but this is mostly a "no tools" method.

    Obviously if you have a workbench and a vise and tools and all that, it is better, but this method occurred to me while I was at a show and needed to do a quick crackout with no tools on hand. It is crude and looks brutally primitive, but it is quick, easy, and effective, and actually less risky for the coin than if the slab were subjected to hammering (and hammering can create flying shrapnel, which is never good). Since the coin remains sandwiched between the two halves of the lower part of the slab, it stays protected.

    It takes only a second or two. *snap!* I've even done it between a door and the door frame before, though that only works with a reasonably heavy metal door. Anywhere there is a gap between two solid, immovable surfaces that is wide enough and deep enough to insert the slab, but narrow enough to create a fulcrum (a half-inch gap between the boards in a deck is ideal), you can snap a slab in seconds, pry apart the remnants, carefully extract the coin, pick up the plastic pieces, and be on your way.

    My World Coin buddies from the 2006 FUN show cracked many jokes about my method (get it? cracked? haha), but it works, and I've used it ever since. @Aethelred witnessed the first time I did it.

    It is so simple, you might find yourself saying, "Aw, man, I was overthinking this all along."

    Oh- and the slabbed coin I pioneered this technique on? A 1904 USA $20 Liberty, PCI MS62. Cracked it, submitted it to PCGS raw at the show, and it came back MS64, bringing me nearly a $1,000 profit when I later resold it. That remains my best cherrypick thus far.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2018
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  11. juris klavins

    juris klavins Well-Known Member

    Reminds me of the old humor magazine - this one 'covers' the current subject :rolleyes:

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  12. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Cracked is still around (I have it open in another tab right this minute, as a matter o' fact * ), and is way better as a digital publication than I remember it being as a printed magazine. Seems somewhat "smarter", for one thing. There are some good writers there. Articles are often just as interesting as they are funny.

    I used to think of Cracked as a wannabe second-fiddle to MAD magazine. Not so, anymore. They've come a long way. (Their site is rather ad-ridden nowadays, but I guess that's how they stay alive since we're no longer buying the magazine at newsstands.)
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
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  13. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    You've got some finesse with a hammer. That's nice tidy work. I'm surprised and impressed.
  14. Jaelus

    Jaelus Hungarian Collector Supporter

    Thanks. I do a lot of metalwork, and the technique I use for slab cracking is very similar to riveting. So, results may vary depending on your comfort level with a ball-pein hammer, but it is possible with some finesse to get a very clean crack-out using a hammer.
  15. Aethelred

    Aethelred The Old Dead King Supporter

    I may be odd in this regard, but I like my ancient coin raw and my medieval coins slabbed. It it were me (and it isn't) I would leave it where it is.
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  16. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Regarding the coin in the OP, I agree. I wouldn't crack it.
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  17. ycon

    ycon Well-Known Member

  18. Collect89

    Collect89 Coin Collector

    Last edited: May 3, 2018
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  19. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

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