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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  For the New Ancient Coin Collector (Moderators: wolfgang336, Stkp, Lucas H)  |  Topic: Very New colector question - to slab or not to slab 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Max F
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« on: June 12, 2018, 02:56:55 pm »


   What is the general consensus on slabbing of these ancient coins. I see slabs at all the auction houses, I have heard that sometimes the prongs damage the coins?

Thanks
Max F
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Jay GT4
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2018, 03:07:51 pm »

Welcome to Forum Max.  Generally ancient collectors are not fans of slabbing coins.  We like to hold the coins in our hands.  Others like their coins encased in a plastic tomb...to each his own.  Every time I've purchased a slabbed coin I set it free the moment it gets home.
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2018, 03:14:39 pm »

I agree with JayGT4....

Personally, I despise slabs for all types of coins, and especially ancients.  

While slabs may offer some level of protection to modern issues, most ancients have endured upwards of 2,000 years or more of abuse and exposure to the elements.  Unless you drill a hole in one, it's unlikely that normal and careful handling is going to do anything detrimental to the coin.

The inserts in slabs (e.g., NGC, PCGS, and ANACS) are made of a relatively soft and pliable material and will in no way harm the edges of a coin entombed within.

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77HK77
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2018, 05:13:04 pm »

I have purchased three in slabs and broken each one out.

What are we protecting from? They were in the ground 2000 years. You holding them isn't going to change the grade.

As far as using the slab as a grading COA ( which many modern collectors consider it necessary); I find Ancient grading varies so much that any grading given to a coin is only applicable to the grading house that issued it.

The slab seems useless for an ancient
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PMah
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2018, 07:06:58 pm »

Slabs also tremendously increase the space required to store the, limit your display choices, increase the cost of storage and display, and, of course, you can't touch the coin.  These pix are not great, but compare the 44 gram weight of a slabbed small coin with similar size coin in a flip at 3.7 gm, of which the flip is about 1.8 gm. 
Plus, you can't really add your own tags without just taping to the slab, which looks inelegant. 
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PMah
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2018, 07:08:46 pm »

Oops, attached in wrong order.
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Callimachus
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2018, 09:13:17 pm »

I am not a fan of slabs either, and have removed several of my coins from them. Anyway, here is a question:

Quote from cmcdon0923 : "The inserts in slabs (e.g., NGC, PCGS, and ANACS) are made of a relatively soft and pliable material and will in no way harm the edges of a coin entombed within."

Does anyone know if these soft inserts are chemically stable?

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cmcdon0923
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« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2018, 10:11:20 pm »

Quote
Does anyone know if these soft inserts are chemically stable? 

I would certainly assume that because some of the coins being slabbed are multi-million dollar coins (e.g., 1804 dollars, 1913 Liberty Head nickels, etc...) that the slabbing services have made sure that the materials used are as inert and safe as possible.

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JBF
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2018, 04:55:45 pm »

I have heard that (some?) companies that slab do not guarantee the authentication of Ancients when slabbing them?  However, I think that is why novices like slabbed coins, they feel that their authentication is established by the tag.  They feel more comfortable, with someone giving them a grading (4/4).  I have a few coins that I have kept slabbed so far, to show to groups and not have to worry about someone dropping them as much.  It is not hard for a coin to slip out of a flip, either accidentally or intentionally.  Others I have cracked out.  All other things being equal, I like unslabbed.  There is a tactile element to ancient coins, especially the weight and the high relief on some coins.
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Joe Sermarini
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2018, 05:39:38 pm »

Getting a coin slabbed by NGC is getting an excellent authentication opinion.  They don't guarantee it, but David Vagi and Barry Murphy are experts and they will also consult with specialists of the type if needed.  You can be confident in their opinions.  It is a good resource at a fair price.  And, if you don't like the plastic, it can easily be removed. 
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Joseph Sermarini
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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2018, 01:31:24 pm »

There is something that Joe is implying, but despite being somewhat obvious should be said in no uncertain terms.

If you liberate your coins out of the slabs, keep records from it. Things like the certification number or ID, the grade, etc, can also be useful even once you put the coin into your own flips. Sometimes you can search the company's webpage using the ID number. I've broken out 3 coins, but I have good records of the slab so that I can still refer to the coin as graded and provide this information to anyone interested in it. This may also be useful for tracking providence down the line. Even a no-name company slab with an ID number is still useful for tracking the coin prior to its arrival in your collection.
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Ancient Gains
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2018, 11:44:23 am »

NGC prong won't damage the coin. I actually like the slabs because then you know exactly what you are getting.
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Steve P
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2018, 03:35:11 pm »

Slabs are awful ... oh, and for so many reasons:

- you can't "hold them" and examine the edges (vital with ancient coins)
- a waste of cash for their expert/valued opinion, for it is "not" a guarantee of authentication
- amazingly difficult to photograph when they're in their plastic prisons
- they take-up far more space and seriously, who knows if they're PVC friendly, etc (eecchh)
- and most importantly => who wants to go back to modern-coin days where they're sweatin' the small stuff?! (it's a 4/5 ... no, it's a 4/4 ... no way, it's an AU-4/5 ... etc, etc)

Ancients rock because they are subject to an opinion .. but an opinion about looks, subject-matter and/or historical significance (they never jot that crap down on the info, eh?)

Yah, I'm not a big fan of grading ancients (it's for Momma's boys who haven't done their research and/or purchased from a dealer who has done their research)
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PMah
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2018, 09:20:57 pm »

I'm with Steve P.  Even if there is value from authentication, a lot is lost from tactile perception and the vig to the marketing is even greater.  The US coin market is so contrived as to be nearly laughable.  "There are 4 visible feathers, therefore coin is WORTH or VALUED at 10x a 3 visible feather assessment.  Only 57 of the 25 million mintage show this feather, as far as we know from the 59 people who paid us $25 to process their coin and except for the 500 coins made as giveaways by the mint to dealers". 
 The coins are what they are, but the hype is just silly.
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n.igma
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« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2018, 05:52:20 am »

For those pondering the merits or otherwise of NGC slabbing and certification I suggest they read this from the ANS Magazine 2018 Issue 3 editorial ....
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JBF
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« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2018, 05:59:25 pm »

One should probably note that most slabbing of ancients is of nice examples of fairly common coins.  Athenian owls, Aegina turtles, Corinthian colts.  Lydian lions.  (I really only collect Greek, so can't say about Roman). Not the "esoteric" stuff of advanced collectors.  But stuff that is pretty simple to judge for someone at all knowledgable.  One problem is, is that the 'slabbers' do not guarantee authenticity.  Secondly, being slabbed it is hard for the collector to examine the coin to judge for himself.  Third, if the coin is broken out so the coin can be judged, then dealers or auction houses may void guarantees of authenticity.  But for some collector of American or World coins, who wants to have a 'iconic' example of ancient, slabbing might be a way to do that, and not worry about it that much.  Storage, preservation, protection, identification are all taken care of.  Of course, for ancient collectors all that is part of the fun.  As Ute says, the certainty for the owner of a slabbed coin is a false sense of security.  But, for someone who wants to dabble, an example or two, they may intellectually know there is some doubt, but emotionally they are reassured by the slabbing.  But, often one cannot eat just one chip, but one and one, and so on (potato chip metaphor).  One slabbed, a little doubt but manageable, many slabbed and I would venture to guess the doubt can be cumulative.

I also think that the unslabbed collector, is often looking at their coins, and each time they sharpen their sense of what is authentic, I doubt that view slabbed coins would give the collector that kind of familiarity.
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Tracy Aiello
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« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2018, 05:47:57 pm »

I am glad that I read this thread. I think that I am going to free my Athenian Owl.
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Tracy Aiello
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« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2018, 09:51:42 am »

Hi,
to put it bluntly, politically correct is not at all my cup of tea so shoot :
1/ slabbing is creating an artificial premium definitely not justified by the self-promoted "expertise" of those companies
2/ it is a standardization of a market (some kind of a Wal-Mart approach) fully contrary to the key topics behind ancient numismatics where the main real added value is analyzing rarity and enjoying style and putting that into an historical context
3/ if I'm not wrong, one of the main slabbers is controlled by one of the biggest coin dealers. As far as business models are concerned, this is called : how to control the chain of value from upstream to downstream.
To me, it is just an added tool to ..... (as Joe said, stay polite) the customer. It is a tool tailored for a financial approach i.e creating and controlling a premium.

Ratings, scoring, slabbing, etc ... (at the end of the day, putting everything into boxes - litterally speaking -) : where are the toilets, please ?
I told you : I'm not a politically correct minded guy.
Best
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suarez
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« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2018, 12:43:33 am »

Heh, just received a solidus in the mail and can't wait to release it from that godawful NGC slab. It's just such a satisfying feeling of putting the slab in the bolt cutter then *CRACK* :-)

Anyway, I want to address the specific question about the inertness of the insert. NGC in particular uses a flexible which is most likely PVC. The "C" in PVC stands for chloride and chlorine is one of the most reactive elements on the periodic table. Since PVC is a hard plastic to make it flexible you inject a class of chemicals known as plasticizers. These are by and large organic compounds rich in sulfur and more chlorine and often have a cocktail of heavy metals added in as well to stabilize the material and prevent it from breaking down. While this chlorine is chemically stable as chlorides you can expect over the course of years that the material will free small amount of this gas which will react with the coin to form its own chlorides and chlorates. Gold coins have little to worry about but silver and bronzes are vulnerable.

That being said, and in the spirit of fairness, the deterioration rate of a coin in an NGC slab is likely slower than the same coin in open air. While there may be less exposure to chlorine and other volatile compounds there is a greater likelihood of physical damage from handling. Dropping an ancient coin is always a cringe-worthy experience. Dropping a coin inside a slab is no big deal!

In any case, a much safer option for slabs would be silicone because the material is both durable and inert. However, since it is very soft it can't support the coin with prongs. The cutout needs to be sized to fit the coin snugly which increases the cost and work processing considerably.

Rasiel
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  For the New Ancient Coin Collector (Moderators: wolfgang336, Stkp, Lucas H)  |  Topic: Very New colector question - to slab or not to slab « previous next »
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