Raw coins vs graded encapsulated

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

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  1. Ana Silverbell

    Ana Silverbell Well-Known Member

    You make good points in your post but I cannot agree with your definition of a "hobbyist." The real problem with your definition is when or where, along the spectrum of knowledge and skill does a person become a hobbyist? I began coin collecting as a child when my father would give me silver coins. The Franklin half was the pip because we didn't see many. I had the "capacity" then to enjoy and appreciate the coins I collected even though I had limited knowledge and skill at the time. Since then, I have improved in my expertise and knowledge but that is just about getting better and learning more. I have enjoyed it and appreciated it as a hobbyist all along the way.
     
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  3. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    OK, that puts things in perspective.

    I'm probably middle-of-the-road in terms of purchases here at CT (maybe even lower :D )....but my average currency purchase is probably $150 or so....but I probably have 10 coins purchased for over or close to $1,000 (excluding raw bullion where grade wasn't important) and a few dozen others purchased for way over face value costing $50-$250.

    As you can imagine, when I purchase a Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, even as my grading skills improve, I want the comfort of the TPG standing behind the coin. I'm not buying the slab, I'm buying the coin, but I want the added benefit of their eyes besides mine.
     
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  4. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Member

    Now, we have the problem of the slabs being faked!
     
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  5. Glenn Dietz

    Glenn Dietz New Member

    I got back into this great pass time about 3 years ago after a long layoff. I am seeing both sides of the conversation make sense. I like the ability to display and hold my coins in Dansco Albums (too bad they are out of business!), however if I am going to spend, lets say over $750, I lean towards slab.

    I have a few coin dealers that I do business with and they know that I like loose coins. I have been known to break out coins of $1,000 or less and tape the PCGS or NGC grading into the book. Some of the dealers I've met at the Long Beach Show, even though they deal with slabs, have the same feeling of wanting to have a loose coin. To each is own in this hobby.
     
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  6. Glenn Dietz

    Glenn Dietz New Member

    I got back into this great pass time about 3 years ago after a long layoff. I am seeing both sides of the conversation make sense. I like the ability to display and hold my coins in Dansco Albums (too bad they are out of business!), however if I am going to spend, lets say over $750, I lean towards slab.

    I have a few coin dealers that I do business with and they know that I like loose coins. I have been known to break out coins of $1,000 or less and tape the PCGS or NGC grading into the book. Some of the dealers I've met at the Long Beach Show, even though they deal with slabs, have the same feeling of wanting to have a loose coin. To each is own in this hobby.
     
  7. Glenn Dietz

    Glenn Dietz New Member

    I got back into this great pass time about 3 years ago after a long layoff. I am seeing both sides of the conversation make sense. I like the ability to display and hold my coins in Dansco Albums (too bad they are out of business!), however if I am going to spend, lets say over $750, I lean towards slab.

    I have a few coin dealers that I do business with and they know that I like loose coins. I have been known to break out coins of $1,000 or less and tape the PCGS or NGC grading into the book. Some of the dealers I've met at the Long Beach Show, even though they deal with slabs, have the same feeling of wanting to have a loose coin. To each is own in this hobby.
     
  8. usc96

    usc96 Junior Member

    Nothing wrong with preferring raw. I have both. Many of my series are raw and in Dansco albums, but I have a slabbed registry Type Set that I started after I finished my Dansco 7070 album. Dansco does not make albums for two of the series I collect, but the PCGS online registry offers a virtual Dansco album for those sets so I buy those already slabbed.

    I noticed you mentioned buying $30 Walkers. I would have no problem breaking those out of a slab and putting them in an album. However, if you start looking at thousand dollar plus Mint State key dates (I believe the 1921 issues are key for Walkers), then you might want to test whether it is economically worth while to break a coin out of a slab before risking the money. Will you be able to get it back into a slab with the same grade, or is fair grading reserved for big name dealers that spends $$$ with the TPG?

    One experiment might be to break out a coin in the hundred dollar range, then try to sell it to a trusted coin shop. Will they pay you anywhere near what you paid, or is the now raw coin treated as damaged goods? I would expect to get some amount back of gray sheet, but do they offer you 85%? 50%? Less?
     
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  9. dimeguy

    dimeguy Dime Enthusiast

    I am definitely a raw collector. The issue with slabbed or not for me comes down to price, on a couple of different levels. I don't like feeling like I pay a premium for a coin just because of the plastic it is under. I am a series collector. With that, I tend to make rules for myself, one being to never go over $150 per coin. Now, if it is going to be over $100 I will seek out a slabbed example and break it out. I only have online dealers for my available coin purchases. I detest the slab, but love the assurance of knowing I am spending my hard-earned money on a legitimate coin and grade, even if I am comfortable grading the series I am collecting.

    In all, I just love the look of a set all in an album and looks so much better than a slabbed collection. I do keep the slab's tab/cert number and grade to prove the coin was graded. I don't worry about resale, as the collection is mine to enjoy for what it is...coins and not the plastic, but to each their own.
     
  10. Tusky Ranger

    Tusky Ranger Member

    I use a pair of wire cutters to break the thick edges, then just kinda snap the rest of it in half; gloves can be a wise idea. Now that I think of it; using a band saw or other small hand-held saw (like a Dremel, might be easier :) The newer slabs seem to be harder to cut by hand; they are not as brittle...
     
  11. Tusky Ranger

    Tusky Ranger Member

    I actually did break out some of my CC Morgans (before I decided to collect a registry set). I re-submitted 3 of them (back to NGC) I believe (1885, 1892, 1893). They all came out of NGC slabs, except the 1893 which was an ANACS. The 1885 and 1892 came back the same, while the ANACS went from a 20 to 25. So...in a sense I was happy as the new value (higher grade) of the 1893 compensated me for the $$ I had to spend to have the coins re-slabbed/graded.
     
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  12. jacksbike

    jacksbike New Member

    I collect mostly raw coins but have learned that anything over about $200 I want it slabbed to assure that it is genuine. I have never broken open a slab because I want it left sealed for the future value.
     
  13. BlackberryPie

    BlackberryPie I like pie

    I have a 4 year old who loves coins. Slabs protect from fingerprints.
     
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  14. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    If it’s treated as damaged goods, you need to find a new coin shop that is both knowledgeable and ethical
     
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  15. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Quit making this personal. You know I wasn't referencing you, personally. You know I was referencing the point this new guy was making that your reply in turn missed, namely, in short, that one is no hobbyist when one is dependent on collecting ready-made grades. That's all I was referencing. FWIW, there's no question in my mind, you're a knowledgeable hobbyist. You're a little passionate, at times, like here, but I've no complaints at that.
     
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  16. John Johnson

    John Johnson Well-Known Member

    If I'm spending more than $20 I like to get graded coins, but I still buy a lot of raw, collector grade coins, for about the same reason you like them, except I'll put them in Dansco albums or 2X2 flips. I wince when I think of touching a coin, even by the edges.
     
  17. Rick B

    Rick B Well-Known Member

    I use albums and maybe will be using 2x2's also. I don't just leave them lying around loose. How about using some kind of gloves?
     
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  18. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast

    I'm curious, if you are newbie who is focused on buying raw coins for less than $50, why such animus towards TPGs? The coins you are seeking are very rarely going to be slabbed. You seem to have the idea in your head that all the TPGs do is make coins more expensive and put possible acquisitions out of your price range. Keep in mind, when I say "out of your price range" I don't make any assumptions about your financial situation, rather your price range is more likely to be limited by your own confidence in your grading skills, than your financial resources.

    Here is the thing that you are missing. If you buy a 1945 PCGS MS63 Walker for $50 (PCGS Price Guide $52, Greysheet $44) and then you crack it out, is it not still an MS63 Walker? And of course, the answer is YES, it is still an MS63 Walker. So why do you have it in your head that the certification of the coin is increasing the price? The answer is that if you tried to sell that same coin for $50, you would need to wait until you found a buyer who was both able to recognize the actual grade of the coin as an MS63 and be willing to pay full price to obtain it, but finding that collector make take a very long time indeed. However, I submit that you would have very little problem selling you raw MS63 Walker for MS61-62 prices in the $30-$40 range. So in your mind as a buyer, you think that TPG certification is raising the prices of the coins you want to buy. In reality, all the TPG certification does in increase the LIQUIDITY of the coin. Raw coins trade at 1 to 2 grades lower than their actual grade with respect to price because buyers don't want to make a mistake and get ripped off. As a result, the only people willing to pay full price for raw coins are the people who are so good at grading that they don't need the TPG crutch. Since this group is exceedingly small, it explains the drop in liquidity.

    Like most people who insist that TPG certification is "bad" for the hobby, you conveniently place yourself in two important boxes. First you buy relatively cheap coins that are not worthy of submission, and second you have no interest in ever selling your coins and you have no heirs so the inheritance of your collection is an afterthought. I would ask you to consider how many other people fall into those two boxes. Not everyone collects inexpensive coins, and most people, even if they never plan to sell their coins, still have to consider the inheritance problem. The best way to protect heirs from getting ripped off is to have certified coins, as it defines what you have and increases liquidity.

    So rather than proclaim that TPG grading is bad for the hobby, why not just say, it is bad for you?
     
  19. Rick B

    Rick B Well-Known Member

    So much to comment on!
    1. I never said I was focused on coins less than $50. All I said was my first two were low priced.

    2. "You seem to have the idea in your head that all the TPGs do is make coins more expensive and put possible acquisitions out of your price range."
    Never suggested this at all in my memory. Show me where I said this.

    3. "So why do you have it in your head that the certification of the coin is increasing the price?"
    Again, where did I say this? I don't think I did. Someone else did, if I remember right. Although it does make sense. A $100 value coin costs what to certify? Whatever it costs to certify, let's just say $40, you would now have to sell it for $140 to break even.

    4. "the only people willing to pay full price for raw coins are the people who are so good at grading that they don't need the TPG crutch. Since this group is exceedingly small"
    Really? That's sad. Grading is a BIG part of the hobby to me. I'm going to learn it.

    5. "So rather than proclaim that TPG grading is bad for the hobby, why not just say, it is bad for you?"
    I have more than once said it's a matter of opinion. It's fine if some people like TPG's. But I would rather have a world without them if I had my druthers. It's hard for me to explain altogether. TPG's try to turn an art into a science. And it isn't just a matter of "bad for me". The existence of TPG's make collecting more difficult for raw collectors. There are so many slabbed coins out there that if I want to avoid buying them, my field of choices is drastically reduced.

    Anyway, just some initial thoughts on the matter. I'm not rigid about it and like I've said in other posts in this thread, I may change my mind some day considering I'm new to this. When I collected as a kid, slabs did not exist. So this is new to me. Many years ago I collected comics. Then when I went to sell them, slabs for comics had become the thing. I hated it. Again, attempting to turn an art into a science. It's a freakin' book to hold and read for crying out loud! If you are going to hide it where you can hardly see it, feel it, read it, why the heck collect them?! With coins I won't say absolutely that I think slabs are stupid. But for comics I will say that unequivocally.

    We can debate logically all day long, but the bottom line isn't all logic. It is a FEELING matter. And on that level, I don't like slabs. I don't like the idea of them. I don't like that it's attempting to turn art into science. I don't like that may collectors will be lazy about grading and not learn how. To me slabs to a degree take the hobby into investing. With coins and comics. Investors don't care what the heck is even in the plastic. It could be any commodity. What else to say?

    Disclaimer: I know my criticism of slabs does NOT apply to all coin collectors. And no matter what I say, I still agree that it's an individual matter. My thoughts are initial as a newbie and a generalization.
     
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  20. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect for 64 years

    Rick B, grading isn't as simple as you make it out to be. I could find two experienced graders and they may not agree on a particular coin's grade. Each coin series has it's quirks so an expert in one may not be an expert in another. Hats off to you to want to learn about being a good grader. But the reality is that experience is the best teacher. What we all decide to buy, whether it be raw or slabbed, is our individual choice and what makes it fun for us. I don't want to knock anyone for what they want to do with their time and money. The TPGs do serve a valuable purpose in our hobby and I'm grateful for their existence. I can buy coins online with a lot more confidence than raw coins. Plus, I feel it necessary to have an exit strategy at some point in time so unloading slabbed vs raw coins, whether by myself or my heirs, is important.
     
  21. Rick B

    Rick B Well-Known Member

    I hear ya. And I want to emphasize what I said at the end of my post because this is my strongest belief about it: "I still agree that it's an individual matter". In other words, to each their own and good luck to all of us!
     
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