Sample slab collecting is not a new hobby. Slabs change all the time, just not as fast as the labels change. There are those that prefer the older designs while others prefer the newer ones. Each slab has a place in Numismatic history and evolution. Prices are all over the place but as time goes by the values settle and collectors discover which samples are rare, and which samples are common. There are many types of sample slabs just as there are many types of collectors. World coins are but one example. U.S. coin collectors often overlook World coins, and world samples are no exception. I am not a world coin collector so I'll deal with the sample slabs of US coins. For any given coin I have no idea how many were produced. In my opinion production numbers are quite low, based on what I have experienced searching for additions to my own collection. As you can see, the above sample has no grade, a serial number and a beautiful mint state coin inside. It's common for samples to not have grades. Some will have a grade, but not necessarily the actual grade of the coin inside. This is evidenced by the coin in the slab. The marks are on the coin, notvthe slab. That's just one interesting fact about samples, but there are so many other facts to discuss that it can get confusing. PCGS has always been a producer of samples. Their samples date back to the mid-1980s and have become some of the most sought after of all sample slabs. With so many PCGS sample slabs to choose from, a collection can be started very easily with samples from the PCGS grading service alone. What really separates coin collecting from sample collecting is the fact that the coins are minted in the millions or even billions. Sample slabs are usually produced in lots of one thousand or less. They have been known to be as low as five or ten. You can see why this hobby can be fun, since most people still don't know samples exist, and there could be a rarity hiding in any collection, flea market or garage sale. Maybe one was listed on eBay and the seller had no idea what they had. That alone adds to the excitement of the hunt. Sample slabs are one of the newest trends in Numismatics. So that means now is the time to get involved before everyone knows about it. Once they do know about it, the values of the rarities will increase and will only be for the deep-pocketed few. Coins have been around for centuries but sample slabs, well, they've only been with us less than 40 years. You've all heard the expression but the coin not the slab. In sample slab collecting it's difficult. The phrase is collect the slab not the coin. The one thing to remember is PCGS does NOT sell sample slabs, all sample slabs produced by PCGS are given away free to the public! There are however some exceptions. The first being the dealer only sample slabs, made in very small quantities, they were an easy way for dealers to introduce collectors to the newest PCGS slabs. The second being the members only luncheons samples, again made in very small quantities. Both these sample types are highly sought after by collectors and with good reason, these are some of the finest samples available. So why have changes to the slab? After all, it's just plastic. Sample slabs where created to show new changes in the slab such as important new security features, a new slab design or even something as small as a font change on the label. They are distributed at coin shows or other numismatics events. A slab it a product where a collector could buy a certified coin, in a sealed plastic holder without ever seeing it. They could do so with the knowledge that the coin was authentic, and the grade was accurate and guaranteed. Here are two more of mine.