Featured Sample Slabs-A New Way To Collect

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Collecting Nut, Jul 28, 2020.

  1. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Sample slabs, what are they, how did they start and are they collectible?

    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.
    IMG_3963.JPG IMG_3980.JPG
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  3. kanga

    kanga 65 Year Collector Supporter

    Nothing new, just different.
    They've been around for quite a while.
  4. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    Anyone have a sample slab from Accugrade, Hallmark, SEGS, or PCI?

    PCI should be easy as I have a few.;)
    Collecting Nut likes this.
  5. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    They've only been around since the mid eighties. If that's quite a while, what does that make me?
    Randy Abercrombie likes this.
  6. kanga

    kanga 65 Year Collector Supporter

    Somewhere close to my age.
    In the 70's it was the picture certificates.
    In the 80's I was out of it thanks to the Hunt brothers.
    In the 90's I got hooked on slabs.

    I might have to do a bit of hunting but I think I still have a SEGS and/or PCI slab around.
    Accugrade too maybe but I can't be sure.
    Never had a Hallmark slab but as I understand it they graded very well and fairly.
    Collecting Nut likes this.
  7. ldhair

    ldhair Clean Supporter

    These are fun. Cool part of tpg history. Never really collected them but picked up a nice group over the years.
    Collecting Nut likes this.
  8. ldhair

    ldhair Clean Supporter

    Were you with PCI when this one was done?
    Danomite and Collecting Nut like this.
  9. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    Yes, 1990 to about 1994. Then I worked there in the evenings around 1997 until NGC hired me away in 1998. I've got some samples of the green and red label coins. I don't recall us making any blue label (foreign coins) samples.
  10. Burton Strauss III

    Burton Strauss III Well-Known Member

    Now you have me thinking what is the weirdest sample slab I have...
    Collecting Nut likes this.
  11. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    The sample slabs are quite interesting. Please feel free to post yours.
  12. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Yes, all of them and a fair number of other companies as well. Of the four companies you mentioned the Hallmark is probably to toughest one to acquire.
  13. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Please post them
  14. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    I don't have pictures of the Accugrade sample, these other images of the Hallmark, PCI and SEGS samples are clipped from the Slabbook so they are grayscale, the original images aren't on this computer.

    This is a very weird Hallmark sample slab and it is quite rare. It was issued in 1991 at a show in conjunction with a major collection being sold. I can't remember the collection, I think it was in Baltimore. The samples had images of some of the more impressive coins from the collection but no actual coins. I don't own one of these.
    ec1616f2.jpg ec1616r.jpg Hallmark sample.JPG

    PCI Photoslab these are scarce to rare. They exist in two types with and without a hyphen in the serial number on the back. David Schwager who wrote the more recent book on sample slabs know of only one specimen with the hyphen and it was in his collection. This one is from my collection.
    pci sample 3S1 obv.JPG
    PCI 3S1 rev.JPG

  15. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

  16. PennyGuy

    PennyGuy US and CDN Copper

    For those interested in collecting Samples I recommend the following...
    Collecting Nut likes this.
  17. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    That looks like a good book. That's for posting it.
  18. PennyGuy

    PennyGuy US and CDN Copper

    I highly recommend it and not only because a lot of the pics are mine.
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