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HELP ME TO GET FREE…FROM A SLAB


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Honestly, I have no idea. I don't buy slabbed coins. I have a couple of moderns that are slabbed but they came to be that way. 
I wish you a speedy Victory in freeing Victorinus from his plastic tomb. 
Looking forward to seeing him au natural soon!

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I place the slab in a towel on a hard surface and hit it a few times near the corner with a hammer. That will usually be enough to crack it and the rest can be pulled apart.

So far, I've never damaged a coin (knock on wood!)

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There are as many ways as there are collectors (or so it seems).  My workshop has a large vise in which I place a towel wrapped slab edgewise and slowly exert pressure until I hear a crack.  This does not destroy the plastic and is more refined that the hammer or saw methods but I realize not everyone has a vise they inherited from ancestors.   Mine is ~100 years old but I understand they still make them. I don't have a photo of one in action but the vise is shown here.  The chicken is not required for this operation. 😀

 

00chicken5942.jpg

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3 hours ago, Prieure de Sion said:

...but I used a normal hacksaw. That does it too.

2 hours ago, expat said:

Love all the above ideas. But seriously if you clamp the bottom of the slab in a vice and twist the top clockwise and anti it should crack the heat sealed join around the slab.

2 hours ago, AncientJoe said:

I place the slab in a towel on a hard surface and hit it a few times near the corner with a hammer. That will usually be enough to crack it and the rest can be pulled apart.

So far, I've never damaged a coin (knock on wood!)

51 minutes ago, dougsmit said:

There are as many ways as there are collectors (or so it seems).  My workshop has a large vise in which I place a towel wrapped slab edgewise and slowly exert pressure until I hear a crack.  This does not destroy the plastic and is more refined that the hammer or saw methods but I realize not everyone has a vise they inherited from ancestors.   Mine is ~100 years old but I understand they still make them. I don't have a photo of one in action but the vise is shown here.  The chicken is not required for this operation. 😀

I like all of the above ideas. I may try one of the above ideas, the next time I buy a coin, which is in a slab.

I'm starting to like the ideas, that don't involve a hack saw, because my hack saw method, destroys the NGC label. I'm starting to think, that I would like to try to preserve the NGC label, rather than just taking photos of the NGC label before I saw through it.

Here's my hack saw method (sometimes called "hacksaw"), that I've used so far, which is the method that @Prieure de Sion mentioned.
Before I remove a coin from a slab, I always take photos, of both sides of the slab. That way, I can always refer to the NGC number, that was on the slab, in order to lookup photos of the coin, on the NGC web site. That way, the NGC number serves as sort of a certificate of authenticity (COA).
A hack saw is a thin metal saw, with lots of very small teeth. Don't try to use a regular wood saw, because the teeth aren't small enough, and the blade is too thick. I cut off the end of the slab, away from the coin, to keep plastic dust off of the coin. Then, holding the slab over a box top with a soft pad in the box top, I put a large flat head screwdriver, into the cut end of the slab, near the edge of the slab, and carefully twist the large flat head screwdriver, to pry apart the top of the slab, from the bottom of the slab. When you pry with the large flat head screwdriver, you have to be careful, not to cause the top half, or bottom half, of the slab, to break, where the coin is, because that could scratch the coin. That's why I put the large flat head screwdriver, near the edge of the slab. You may have to carefully work your way, around the edge of the slab, with the large flat head screwdriver, to gradually get the top of the slab, and the bottom of the slab, apart. Here are photos, of one of my formerly slabbed coins, and my hack saw.
2019_07_13_Turtle_Stater_slab_removal_and_hack_saw_800_pixels_vertical.jpg

Edited by sand
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Here's one that I had tremendous trouble with. It was not at all similar to cracking more recent ANACS or NGC slabs. (All I could do with the vice was chip/shatter the outside edges, not even penetrate the seal. The entire perimeter was heavily rounded so there was nothing square or sharp or any "edges" at all for the vice to grip, and keep it from slipping when tightened.) Unlike NGC & ANACS, I never found any thin or weak spots to attack. I literally sawed off all four edges before I could pull it out safely.

This was one of the first ancient coins slabbed c. 2002. I don't know if all ICG slabs were difficult to open from that period or if the ancients were especially so.

image.jpeg.bf3d615e2a0f15c261a4b5d71c39a55b.jpeg

To be honest, it's one that I would've liked to have left in, only because it was part of the first major auction of slabbed ancient coins ever, a couple hundred coins from the Dr. Joseph Seventko Collection at Heritage Signature Sale 296 in July 2002 (it didn't seem to go well, but Heritage pushed through until encapsulating ancients became successful later).  

They ran full page ads (one shown below) for ICG / Heritage / Seventko Collection for several issues of The Celator and other publications, and held promotional events at coin shows.

But it was poorly slabbed -- the weight hadn't been recorded and the edges were covered up (losing >1mm of perimeter), and the coin was tilted, not flush. Once I got it out I was able to trace the provenance to a couple more prior sales (including the Athena Fund / NFA Sale at Sotheby's in 1993).

image.png.f27c0e0539276ea5255d03638cc756c7.png

Now I can keep it in my DIY slab if I want to:

image.jpeg.47ad994296917d4861c0da15a22b2e88.jpeg

image.png.1e6c8c8f9b03a7b814f06fe946263791.png

Edited by Curtis JJ
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Just cracked these two in under 3 minutes by placing them together in a hobby vice with rubber jaw covers and closing the vice just enough to stop them from moving and then I cut into a long edge on each slab with a stanley knife. Even with just a somewhat light cutting, the slab edge can be heard coming apart. I then removed them from the vice and was able to pull them apart with my hands.

This is definitely the easiest go I've had at removing coins from a slab. Before this I've opened maybe 4 or 5 slabs and have spent at least 10-15min on them with hammer, pliers, and screwdriver, and the slabs always end up a mess in many pieces.

20220831_134510.jpeg

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The easiest way I found to free a coin from a slab is to use a bench vise. Simply squeeze each edge in the vise until you hear a crack or pop. It should easily open, with no flying plastic.

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Explosion - Wikipedia

Only as a last resort.

 

I've found that gently tapping the edge of the slab with a small hammer (I use a small prospector hammer) will create a large enough crack to allow you to pry it open with your hands.  Do this on carpet.  The coin should fall out, usually along with the insert.  Keep the NGC label with the coin in its new holder.

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I echo @AncientJoe’s suggestion. It’s how I freed my London-mint campgate.

slabcrispusvk2.jpg 

brokeslabvk2.jpg 

outofslabvk2.jpg 

Crispus, Roman Empire
AE follis
Obv: FL IVL CRISPVS NOB CAES, laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right
Rev: PROVIDEN-TIAE CAESS, campgate, 6 layers, 2 turrets, star above, no doors
Mint: London; Mintmark PLON (in ex.)
Ref: RIC VII 295

crispuslondonvk.jpg

Edited by ValiantKnight
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YEHOVA!

You can stone me. But I'm starting to like the slabs more and more. I have tried so many different systems of (safe) storage now. I can't come to a unified system (and I like unified systems). Sometimes the coins are different ovals, then different thicknesses and different sizes.

For example, I have small silver coins of around 17 mm from one collecting area and matching large silver coins around 30 mm. The large silver coins are also much thicker than the small coins. I can't put them in the same system - the boxes are available for 17mm coins and 30mm coins - but the big ones are too thick. So I have to use visually different boxes. 

Or I store them openly in simple coin drawers. But I can't take a 17mm division because big coins don't fit in there. So I use 30mm divisions - but the small coins are lost in them. So I take two drawers - one for the small coins, one for the big coins - even though they are the same collecting areas - they are separate. 

And with the slabs, no matter whether 16mm, 20mm, 25mm or 30mm, I always have the same base. They are protected. They always have the same dimensions on the outside. I can take ONE collection box and put them all in one compartment - in the right chronological and thematic order. And I have a little information right at the top of the coin.

I am seriously considering becoming an NGC member and having all my coins - the valuable ones first - boxed.

And now you can stone me 😄 

 

 

 

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But a great part of the pleasure of coins is that they are tactile! They were handled by saints and sinners unknown  and buried and forgotten until some local with a metal detector found them (usually). Plastic is so antiseptic, only for baseball cards and the like where the base is paper and non-fast colour images! (Photo labile!)  You are not collecting ( and studying, hopefully) coins  but plastic filing systems

 

Don't worry about storing the coins so much....it's the coins that count, they'll be fine .  Real provenance is who minted it and why, who got it and buried it.  The rest is stamp collecting.( Rutherford)

 

NSK=John

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6 hours ago, Prieure de Sion said:

YEHOVA!

You can stone me. But I'm starting to like the slabs more and more. I have tried so many different systems of (safe) storage now. I can't come to a unified system (and I like unified systems). Sometimes the coins are different ovals, then different thicknesses and different sizes.

For example, I have small silver coins of around 17 mm from one collecting area and matching large silver coins around 30 mm. The large silver coins are also much thicker than the small coins. I can't put them in the same system - the boxes are available for 17mm coins and 30mm coins - but the big ones are too thick. So I have to use visually different boxes. 

Or I store them openly in simple coin drawers. But I can't take a 17mm division because big coins don't fit in there. So I use 30mm divisions - but the small coins are lost in them. So I take two drawers - one for the small coins, one for the big coins - even though they are the same collecting areas - they are separate. 

And with the slabs, no matter whether 16mm, 20mm, 25mm or 30mm, I always have the same base. They are protected. They always have the same dimensions on the outside. I can take ONE collection box and put them all in one compartment - in the right chronological and thematic order. And I have a little information right at the top of the coin.

I am seriously considering becoming an NGC member and having all my coins - the valuable ones first - boxed.

And now you can stone me 😄 

 

 

 

I do understand this challenge. I use Lighthouse Quickslabs which can support most of my collection while still being able to open them on-demand. However, they aren't thick enough for some electrum staters, a couple tetradrachms, and my dekadrachm. 

I would like to unify under one storage approach which balances safety and ease of viewing. NGC slabs would perfectly meet the need... but the cost is exorbitant and I do like touching my coins (not to mention photography through slabs is awful). Double-thick Quickslabs would solve it entirely for me but they don't exist. 

So, for the time being, I have to use a hybrid approach where some coins are in flips, trays, and others in Quickslabs. My desire for consistency is not happy!

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Do what works for you.  However, think long term.  If these things get scratched up or yellow over time, that's a huge hassle in freeing them.

My only slabs are presents; coins from the local coin shop.  The slabs really make these coins look worse, in my opinion.

Flips in coin boxes would be pretty uniform.

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8 hours ago, Prieure de Sion said:

YEHOVA!

You can stone me. But I'm starting to like the slabs more and more. I have tried so many different systems of (safe) storage now. I can't come to a unified system (and I like unified systems). Sometimes the coins are different ovals, then different thicknesses and different sizes.

For example, I have small silver coins of around 17 mm from one collecting area and matching large silver coins around 30 mm. The large silver coins are also much thicker than the small coins. I can't put them in the same system - the boxes are available for 17mm coins and 30mm coins - but the big ones are too thick. So I have to use visually different boxes. 

Or I store them openly in simple coin drawers. But I can't take a 17mm division because big coins don't fit in there. So I use 30mm divisions - but the small coins are lost in them. So I take two drawers - one for the small coins, one for the big coins - even though they are the same collecting areas - they are separate. 

And with the slabs, no matter whether 16mm, 20mm, 25mm or 30mm, I always have the same base. They are protected. They always have the same dimensions on the outside. I can take ONE collection box and put them all in one compartment - in the right chronological and thematic order. And I have a little information right at the top of the coin.

I am seriously considering becoming an NGC member and having all my coins - the valuable ones first - boxed.

2 hours ago, AncientJoe said:

I do understand this challenge. I use Lighthouse Quickslabs which can support most of my collection while still being able to open them on-demand. However, they aren't thick enough for some electrum staters, a couple tetradrachms, and my dekadrachm. 

I would like to unify under one storage approach which balances safety and ease of viewing. NGC slabs would perfectly meet the need... but the cost is exorbitant and I do like touching my coins (not to mention photography through slabs is awful). Double-thick Quickslabs would solve it entirely for me but they don't exist. 

So, for the time being, I have to use a hybrid approach where some coins are in flips, trays, and others in Quickslabs. My desire for consistency is not happy!

I sympathize with your frustrations.

My (mostly) unified system, is to use an Abafil velvet tray, which has only 1 huge compartment. I keep most of my favorite ancient Greek coins, ancient Africa coins, and ancient Middle East coins (32 coins) in 1 tray (the exception is 2 slabbed coins, which I keep in a cardboard box). I keep my favorite ancient Roman coins in 1 tray (46 coins). I keep my favorite Byzantine coins in 1 tray (34 coins). I keep my favorite Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese coins in 1 tray (36 coins). And, I keep my favorite Celtic, medieval, Spanish colonial, English, and US coins in 1 tray (43 coins, except for my Lincoln cent collection, which is in albums). I like this approach, because I can arrange the coins the way I want (for example, chronological order), and there is no wasted space between coins.

I keep each tray in a separate Abafil "Diplomat 2" case. The "Diplomat 2" case is designed to contain 2 regular depth trays, stacked on top of each other. But, I just keep 1 tray in each case. This  allows the thick coins and trachy (cup shaped) coins to be stored, and I don't have to remove a tray, to see a tray underneath.

By "safe", do you guys mean, that it has no PVC or plastic or other harmful materials? By that definition, I consider my coins to be safe.

However, if I ever were to drop a case, or even if I were to tilt a case at an angle greater than 20 degrees from the horizontal, or jerk a case too hard, then all of the coins would get jumbled up together, which would be bad. So far, that hasn't happened. Also, the coins tend to drift across the velvet over time, so I have to move them back to their original positions occasionally, to prevent them from eventually touching each other. I moved my exercise equipment to a different room, to minimize vibrations in the "coin room", to minimize the coin "migration".

I've been using this approach, for 2 years. So far, it has worked, for me. However, it may not work, for some people.

However, I also have Abafil trays with 24 compartments in each tray (approximately 48 mm interior diameter per compartment), and some trays with even larger compartments, and some deep trays, if I ever decide to switch to that approach.

image.jpeg.53268d504769ecd596abe6569a8b19aa.jpeg

image.jpeg.045eb52d747fc3e7d0d4fd3b434998d6.jpeg

 

Edited by sand
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