Should Those Inept at Grading Coins Stick with Slabs?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by lonegunlawyer, May 7, 2013.

  1. lonegunlawyer

    lonegunlawyer Numismatist Esq.

    Should those who are not sufficiently experienced at grading raw coins to the point that they grade within a point or two of TPGs or experienced numismatists stick with slabs when purchasing coins?
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  3. DClayville

    DClayville Member

    Why does it matter if someone inexperienced buys raw coins?Should someone not experienced working on cars only buy a bike?Should people inexperienced at home repair only rent?
  4. jloring

    jloring Senior Citizen

    I've never bought a slabbed coin, and I don't consider myself very good at grading. That being said, most coins I've bought over the years are lower grade, in the VG to VF range. Rarely have I purchased a key date, and if I did I would buy raw from a reliable dealer. I understand the necessity for TPGs, but I still have this "1950's" mentality.
  5. NorthKorea

    NorthKorea Dealer Member is a made up title...

    Welcome back.

    As for slabbed v unslabbed, that's a personal preference, I presume. Are you asking from a speculation/investment standpoint or for a personal collection? In the first case, I guess all parties should "invest" in graded coins, due to the current resale market environment. For the second, who cares?
  6. rickmp

    rickmp Frequently flatulent.

    Welcome back, LGL! Detecto has missed you.
  7. mrweaseluv

    mrweaseluv Supporter! Supporter

    Cool welcome back LGL (just back myself lol) as for raw vs slabbed it was said already but for "investment" slabbed is the way to go but for pure pleasure in the hunt I will always prefer raw coins. They lose something once they are slabbed that I just can't explain.
  8. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    I think that the majority of raw coins that should be slabbed are decreasing in number, and most of the modern stuff either is fresh from the mint or of little value. So that leaves 2 choices, either only buy TPG coins, or learn how to grade raw coins. One costs money and the other costs time and dedication.
  9. longnine009

    longnine009 Most Exalted Excellency Supporter

    What does "buy the coin not the slab mean?"
    If it means "trust but verify" how does a collector
    do that if they are buying the slab because they are not
    good at grading?

    I figure coins I grade are always wrong. But collector
    whimsy will make it right sooner or later. :devil:
  10. aubade21

    aubade21 Well-Known Member

    I have to admit that I tend to buy slabbed coins. My reasoning is that I work quite a bit and do a lot of my buying online. In the rare occasions I'm able to attend a show, I will almost always come home with unslabbed coins since I can, to a higher degree of certainty, verify authenticity and grade.
  11. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    And what's the outcome? Should they be 'tasered' if they fail? It's all in the learning process......
  12. silverfool

    silverfool Active Member

    it used to be 8-10 years ago I bought more raw coins vs slabs but now with so many coins slabbed you have to wonder why a better date or higher priced coin isn't in a slab, many times it's because there is a problem. now I just feel better buying slabbed coins if not at a show or my LCS.
  13. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    If collecting older us coins and spending more than a few bucks a piece? I guess yoh have to nowadays. Its sad but it is what it is.
  14. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    You just keep drinking that Kool Aid old son. That's what they want you to think. Ain't nothing around in the wild anymore unless it's got a 'brand' on it. So untrue. Learn to grade and you'll pick up gems most abundantly. And you'll save yourself a few bucks too......
  15. Atarian

    Atarian Well-Known Member

    I have no local coin shop - where local = within 50 miles. Sometimes at various 'trade events' (read: gun shows) that I attend there are also coin dealers. The selection is limited at best. I mean, who goes to a gun show to buy coins (except me). I therefore have to buy almost all of my coins via the web. It's best for me when the coins are slabbed and there are pictures. Next best is slabbed, then just a description. I once bought a bust half with a description similar to '[date], fine condition, initials.' I thought that 'initials' was some variation, or perhaps the designer's initials. In fact - no - someone had carved 'JVM' across the obverse. Yes, I still remember that from 20+ years ago. So if I can't see it in-hand, I'll go with slabbed. Not because my grading skills suck, which I admit that they do, but because with NGC or PCGS I am guaranteed that at least the coin is genuine and the grade is more accurate that what I would have assigned it. Probably.
  16. coleguy

    coleguy Coin Collector

    I've never been interested in what the grade of a coin is, so long as I like the look of it. A superficial number is just that in my book.
  17. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    But we can grade. You know what you are doing. I will admit I wish I only bought graded coins when I was an idiot, (some say I still am). It would have saved me money.

    The DANGER, though, to me is that I did learn. If I would have only bought slabbed pieces, would I have ever learned how to grade? Its a fair question, since I do see a lot of people who don't know how to grade even after a decade in the hobby. They feel they don't need to know how because their nursemaid called the TPG will always be there to do it for them.

    Plus, just how much fun can owning a piece of cold plastic really be? You might as well only own a photograph of a coin, since you will NEVER be able to touch a slabbed coin. That really kills the deal for me. If someone is ok with collecting coins yet never touching a coin, then I guess its ok. I enjoy touching them, feeling them, studying idiosynchracies of them, you know, the old "collecting COINS" kind of thing. I am not too into checking out plastic under a loupe.
  18. SPP Ottawa

    SPP Ottawa Numismatist

    Part of what I enjoy with numismatics is the art of grading. For me, buying a BU roll, and finding a high grade gem satisfies the "thrill of the hunt" for me... Factor in ancient coins, hammered coins, world coins and colonial tokens and the learning curve can steepen quickly. But, that is the fun in it for me...

    (I guess I really didn't answer your question - but the short answer should be no. Those inept at grading simply need more practice.)
  19. coleguy

    coleguy Coin Collector

    I agree, Chris. I think new collectors would be wise to start off with graded coins, even if they're junk, just to get a sense of what the grades are, and to learn. To read what makes a coin grade a certain way is far less effective than actually seeing a graded coin. But, it seems so many use this to further their laziness and rely solely on the TPG's to grade their coins and never learn for themselves. It's really not that difficult to learn. While I don't care for grading myself, I still learned how to grade over the years so I have that advantage when buying raw.
  20. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I am the same.

    Others have read this 100 times, but how I taught myself how to grade, and recommend for new collectors, is to simply go to your bank and buy a bag or two of coins. Pennies, nickels, whatever. Buy a grading book, and GRADE. Make piles of every possible grade category. When done, go over each pile to compare with the book, get a feel for what a F is like versus a VF or a VG. Once you are done, pick out whatever you want to keep, or take them all back to the bank. Do this a few times, and get a massive free coin grading lesson. You might even find a few keepers. Plus, what is better than going through thousands of coins? Heck, I have bags upon bags of world coins, and sometimes just like to pull them out and paw through them. Its fun! And what more should a hobby be than fun.

    Some people get way too serious about this hobby. Paw through a bunch of dirty old coins. That is what got millions of kids addicted to this hobby back in the day. Love your coins for what they are and what they teach you, and don't stress their value so much. :)
  21. Slider

    Slider Member

    Agreed. Coins are broken out of slabs every day in great numbers - particularly common date coins. For somebody putting together a set for an album, they're unlikely to care about the slab that their MS64 common coin is in. They'll crack it out and then that gets sold someday as raw again. How would TPGs stay in business if slabbed coins never got cracked? There's a reason why they sell so many albums.
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