Numismatic and History Discussions > Coin Photography, Conservation and Storage

De-slabbing coins - describe methods here.

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Happily, I've liberated a slabbed coin from its case, with no damage to the coin or myself. This was my first slabbed coin and my first effort to crack one open. It was easier than I expected, taking less than one minute. My confidence was bolstered by posts like this one (a little old, but still useful).

I've learned that there are some differences in cases among the grading firms, potentially calling for different techniques. My case was from NGC, and looked remarkably like the one that initiated this discussion thread.  Hammering lightly around the edges works for NGC slabs.  No special tools are required.  All I needed was a conventional hammer, the anvil (in my case, a bench vise with anvil), and a flat-head screwdriver. The coin case was wrapped in a thin dishtowel, and light hammer blows applied on all four sides. It opened like a clamshell. The coin was then popped out of its foam insert and placed in a ready coin flip, along with the paper tag. 

If I had one of the harder, and more brittle cases, I'd have used tile nippers (plan B: bolt cutters) to bite through the sides closest to the coin.   

From your description and picture, it sounds like you had one of the older style NGC slabs.  They are/were much simpler to open than the new style. 

The old style was basically two pieces placed together and then sealed down the side edge.  Break the seal at a few places, and it popped open, or at least was easy to pry apart.

The new style appears to be a top piece which now fits down inside a raised rim of the bottom.  So just tapping around the edges may not work, or requires a more "aggressive" level on hammering.  I personally use a piers to grab the small lip and bend it down until it pops off.  Do that around enough of the perimeter until you can safely access the coin.

Again, that's my process, your mileage may vary.


Three words: Dremel rotary tool

Ron C2:

Ron C2:
Le sigh... another one to do.




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