Rare Coins For The Collector and Investor – To Slab Or Not To Slab

The older coin collector-investor can remember the days before slabbed coins.

A slab is a coin that has been graded and certified by an expert? Rare coin grader.

Usually rare coin grades are subjective to the buyers eyes.

With a lot of time and thousands of rare coins one can become a rare coin grader.

Some grade with the naked eye, others with a microscope. How much detail do you really need to have a fair grade on your coin.

PCGS and NGC are two of the biggest grading services.

You send in your rare coin and they have an expert grade it for a fee. Then they send it
back in a slab and record the info in a database that is public record.

As you can clearly see, if a coin is in a lower grade, ie: good to extra fine it is usually not worth the cost and time to get it graded. However if it is a rare coin with few known examples then it may be worth the cost.

The grading system used for rare coins is a scale of numbers…0-70 with 70 being the most perfect coin.
Collectors had to learn the grades themselves in the past. Today, investors and new collectors rely on the grading service or slabbed coins.
Myself as a collector and rare coin dealer have come to rely on my learned skill in the real world. You will be best served by learning the grades yourself too.

In the 1980’s and 90’s investors jumped into the rare coin market and didn’t know how to grade or care to learn. Buying anything that was sold to them. When the boom was over and they tried to sell the coins many found they had lost great deals of money.
This is part of the reason we have slabbed coins today.

A big uproar ensued and the US Govt. was ready to set some rules down, unless the coin industry did something to correct this grading problem. They did…
Coin grading and slabbing was born.

Now remember, just because a coin is graded does not mean it is really that grade evel.
Many very smart collectors and dealers saw coins they felt would grade higher than the grade it was at. Ripping the coin out of the holder and sending it to a different service might and in some cases did result in a higher grade coin…This means 100’s of dollars difference in price.

The majority of graded coins are in the uncirculated range of rare coins, for example, mint state (MS) 60 through MS 69… In my view any coin graded a MS70 is a Proof Coin.
As we all know the mint makes coins on machines and then they roll along a conveyor and drop into a bin. This causes what we collectors call dings.
This is an imperfect coin. Now a Proof coin is different.

Proof coins are usually minted in lesser quantities and are handled carefully.
The proof coin is struck twice with the press using special dies. It causes a highly polished shine to the coin. Proof coins are then handled by hand and placed in special containers and display boxes, thus commanding a higher price.

As a collector and not an investor, what are we to do?
Well we can buy a few lower graded MS60-Ms62/3 rare coins in our price range and add the raw or unslabbed coins along with these to form a nice collection.
Raw coins from dealers and flea markets can and do yield some great finds. You can look through junk boxes and lots of raw coins and find a few good deals. This takes knowledge and that is why I am writing you. I want you to know all you can before you buy the coin.

With all the books and other learning from coin mags and the internet, there is no reason for you to make bad buys on the coins you want.

Yes silver, gold and platinum are at higher levels but I believe these markets are just now starting to move. With the US economy kinda unstable and the housing slump I see rare coins of gold and silver as a great hedge against this uncertainty. For more details, please visit these sites:- www.bunnydirectories.com

You must remember from the start of time gold and silver were and are desired as precious and valuable. They also preserve your wealth and buying power over time.

Slabbed coins are here to stay and have a place in our coin hobby, so don’t over look them but also be on the lookout for the great bargins in raw coins. To lab or not to slab…that is the question

With the growth of China, India and other parts of the world, gold, silver and rare coins will become sought after to preserve wealth and grow wealth. Continue to collect and invest in rare coins. Build your collection slowly and with the knowledge you are getting here from rarecoins4u.com.

May you prosper and be healthy…Richard

Feel free to use this article and share it with rare coin collectors and investors. Thank you.

Richard Irby

Copyright 2008

Have you enjoyed this article or to learn more about collecting coins and silver and gold visit my web site and sign up for the monthly news and tips letter. The Money Report.

Richard Irby has been collecting, buying, selling and trading silver and gold coins and sports cards for 25 plus years. To contact Mr. Irby use the contact page at:, or to sign up for the newsletter go to:


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