Raw coins vs graded encapsulated

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Rick B, Jul 11, 2020.

  1. Rick B

    Rick B Active Member

    I'm a raw coin collector and just wondering how alone I am. It seems like most people sell and buy encapsulated third party graded coins. I'm sorry those services ever got started! Half the fun of collecting is learning and grading your own coins and potential purchases. What is so fun about just blindly buying coins that are already graded and tossing them in a drawer?
    Plus I want to hold my coins (by the edge) and feel the weight, and see it up close, not behind plastic. It's like comic book collecting. Who on earth wants to have their comic books encased in hard plastic such that you can't even feel it, smell it, or read it?! Insanity if you ask me. Unless it is not a hobby at all but merely 100% just investing for a person. For me, it's a hobby first and secondarily I hope if and when I sell them someday I will make some profit.
    Raw coin collectors unite! :)
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  3. Penny Luster

    Penny Luster Member

    You are not alone. I like my coins to be tangible coins. When encased in plastic they become something else...investments..
    GeorgeM, R.Morgan, onecenter and 5 others like this.
  4. Morgandude11

    Morgandude11 As long as it's Silver, I'm listening

    Are you a good enough expert to make sure that you can avoid all the extremely skillful counterfeiting going on in the coin hobby? Can you grade as well as PCGS or NGC? Are you sure that you are not buying problem coins? If the answer to those questions is YES, then go ahead and collect raw coins. I am not just a “coin investor,” but when I spend money, I like it to be for something of not only monetary value, but intrinsic value as well. Moreover, do you have safe storage for your raw coins, so that they don’t get damaged? Do you handle them, so as to avoid damage? If not, then you might want to consider that there is a happy medium in the hobby.
    Stevearino, capthank, markr and 10 others like this.
  5. Inspector43

    Inspector43 72 Year Collector

    Amen, 72 years collecting without slabs.
  6. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    To each his own, but when it comes to buying high-dollar coins on the internet, many collectors would rather have the assurance that the coin is problem-free and legit. If you don't mind being screwed by some of the sellers on SleazeBay, more power to you. ~ Chris
    Stevearino, chascat, wxcoin and 5 others like this.
  7. Inspector43

    Inspector43 72 Year Collector

    I agree with both sides. The vast majority of my collection are circulated. Most of them found in circulation. But, if I were to look for a key or other high dollar coin I would definitely get one that has been graded and slabbed by a reputable source.
    Cheech9712, Two Dogs, Insider and 5 others like this.
  8. Rick B

    Rick B Active Member

    There was a time where slabs were nonexistent and one had to just do the best they can. I'm in that camp. That being said, I will buy slabbed coins but I will break them out.
  9. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Welcome to CT. There are 2 sides to that argument but rest assured, you are not alone.
  10. Rick B

    Rick B Active Member

    Wow, 72 years! I bet you are better at grading than the slabbers! LOL
  11. Rick B

    Rick B Active Member

    There is a compromise: for high value coins I could buy a slabbed coin but break it out for my collection. The hobby aspect of it is more important to me than concern about reselling it.
  12. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    But you’re missing his point. His point is, you should be that good at it. Otherwise, you’ve no business collecting the things, to begin with. You’re like this rich friend of mine who has a Picasso painting he’s real proud of hanging in his library. I’m embarrassed to tell him it’s been hanging upside-down all these years! This isn’t an art collector, but a commodities collector. When you lack the requisite knowledge and skill, you’re not a hobbyist, because you lack the capacity to appreciate the items. You’ve no business collecting the items when you’ve no idea what the hell they are outside of a coin or a painting. You’ve business in investing in them, but that’s different. You’re an investor. That’s great. I’ve investments, too. I don’t get them confused with my hobbies.

    Again, I agree with this new guy. I think much the same way...
    dimeguy, Magnus87, DEA and 9 others like this.
  13. Tuco

    Tuco Active Member

    I agree Rick and welcome to CT! I have been tempted to send in some coins but then I start to think about the coins I could buy with the grading fees and don't do it :)

    I actually stopped collecting sports cards around the time grading started. My brother kept collecting and I've seen first hand where he's cracked out PSA graded cards and resubmitted them to PSA and they've moved by 2 full numbers.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
    eddiespin likes this.
  14. Inspector43

    Inspector43 72 Year Collector

    I'm afraid not. Thanks for the compliment though. I have always graded coins by eye appeal. Some coins in my sets could grade very high, uncirculated perhaps. I know they are not because I found them in circulation. If I did try to place a commercial grade it was always the old method of P, G, F, AU, etc. I get very lost when it comes to the MS grading system. Below, for example, is a 55-S I found in circulation in 1955. I'm terrible at photography also. 1955 S Obv.jpg 1955 S Rev.jpg
  15. Morgandude11

    Morgandude11 As long as it's Silver, I'm listening

    You are missing my point. I am good at it, and I choose to have my opinions backed up by experts, who are corroborating my view of things. Think I am not a hobbyist? Not your call to make. I deal in a lot of expensive coins, and have collected many years before TPGs existed. Think your expertise is better than TPGs? I doubt it, as their experts are extremely experienced collectors, first and foremost. Investing vs Hobbyist? That is a far more intricate issue, and a separate discussion. We’ve had this discussion of raw versus encapsulated coins many times. I recognize the legitimacy of raw coin collectors, but just give them caveats in collecting in today’s market. Just don’t tell me I am not a knowledgeable hobbyist, because I choose to collect slabbed coins. That is gratuitously insulting.
    Insider, markr, BuffaloHunter and 9 others like this.
  16. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Brilliantly said.....:D
    capthank likes this.
  17. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Why break them out ?

    Not only did you lose confirmation of the grade and a secure storage for the coin...but you probably "overpaid" for the coin and grade and encapsulation which could be 5% of the coin's value....or 25%.....or 50%....or 300%.
    wxcoin likes this.
  18. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    I have collected U.S., British and ancient Roman coins. I also have collected tokens, medals and some paper money. My feelings on certification are different for each of those groups.

    For U.S. coins, I am close to 99% certified in terms of dollar value. You can’t spend the amount of money it takes to acquire some of the coins in my collection and not “go with the flow.” It is virtually impossible to buy some of these coins raw. Very often the coins that raw, are raw for a reason, and that reason is NOT to your benefit. They have problems OR they might be altered or counterfeit. Many of these coins can reach 5 and 6 figure prices.

    For my British and ancient Roman coins, I prefer raw, unless it’s a Proof coin. You don’t want to be handling those very much anyway.

    Ditto for my tokens and medals. I prefer them raw, but if you have very high grade pieces, you have to get them certified to get the money out of them.

    The current trend of taking a huge medal, even if it is an inexpensive piece, and putting in a certification holder drives me nuts. You end up with huge holders that take up a lot of room. The one benefit is the physical protection the holders provide. If you happen to drop one of these big metals, an edge bump can be catastrophic.

    So far as paper money is concerned, I have come to like certified. Once more this something that you don’t want to handle very often. Some of it is very fragile. You can see it just as well in the paper money holder, and it is protected.

    One comment you made about grading is not valid. Even if you are buying certified pieces, you still need to know how to grade coins and how to spot problems. The grading companies are far from perfect, and if you depend on nothing but their grades, you can lose a lot of money very quickly.

    Many years ago, I knew a guy with a fair amount of money, who wanted to be a coin dealer. He didn't know how grade, but he figured he could buy and sell using the grades on the holder, like you would shares of stock. He was in business for less than a year. He lost his shirt with that business.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
  19. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Do you have a family that will inherit your collection? What happens if you pay a premium for a slabbed coin and it loses value because you have cracked it out? Just asking! ~ Chris
  20. Rick B

    Rick B Active Member

    My previous posts in this thread explain that I am a raw coin collector. I don't like slabs. I like to "feel" my coins. I am not a coin investor.
    Maybe an example from my book collecting will explain a bit. A book collector friend of mine collects the same author as I do, but buys them and puts them away without even opening them. He is afraid of damaging them. If he wants to read that book, he will read a cheap paperback. I read the books I collect, even the valuable ones. I read a book I bought for $15K cover to cover. I am VERY careful but I want to "combine" with what I am collecting, not hold them at arms length. I hope this explains.
  21. Rick B

    Rick B Active Member

    No, I have no family that will inherit my coins. And even if I did, I wouldn't be concerned about it. Again, I'm in coin collecting for the hobby aspect, not investment. If I sell them some day and make a profit, cool. But it is not my goal.
    I will avoid buying slabbed coins and breaking them out as much as I can. That should be rare. I'll buy raw when possible.
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