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Slab ripoffs


Roman Collector

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Slabs facilitate the fleecing of newcomers to the field of ancient coin collecting. They give an unwarranted sense of legitimacy to a dealer's advertised price. I pity the newbie who purchases this overpriced eyesore. They'll take a huge loss when the time comes to sell it. What competent collector would send this coin to be slabbed?

Eyesore Julia Mamaea for $115 anyone?

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~~~

Four years ago, when I was on a Julia Mamaea bender, I paid $75 for this one, which was FULL RETAIL at a fixed price dealer. It even came with an old Seaby tag.

MamaeaIVNOAVGVSTAEsestertius.jpg.079e8b571d16557a1db6ea745dd3c23a.jpg
MamaeaIVNOAVGVSTAEsestertiusSeabytag.jpg.f523cfe5455d5650b35f28ebf3439dd9.jpg

 

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Slabbing of common Roman coins of mediocre quality (or worse) is essentially a scam by certain dealers -- especially on Ebay -- to try to deceive gullible, inexperienced customers into paying a substantial multiple of fair market value. I'm sure the slabbing company knows perfectly well why a dealer would pay to slab such dreck, but closes its eyes to what's going on.

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What is great collections? Is it something similar to heritage? 

1 hour ago, DonnaML said:

Slabbing of common Roman coins of mediocre quality (or worse) is essentially a scam by certain dealers -- especially on Ebay -- to try to deceive gullible, inexperienced customers into paying a substantial multiple of fair market value. I'm sure the slabbing company knows perfectly well why a dealer would pay to slab such dreck, but closes its eyes to what's going on.

Add: American customers, as I understand from Berk, its mainly to attract US customers who are more familiar with slabbing of US coins. Whatever it is, downside is it has an effect on the entire market, when even low grade coins get slabbed to attract higher prices. 

Edited by Limes
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I just can't bring myself to buy an ancient coin in a slab (except maybe an authenticated gold/silver Eid Mar, but that won't be my problem). It doesn't matter if it's really expensive or even in the best condition, i just want to feel the coin in my hand, experience high relief of tetradrachms, the chunkiness of a large bronze coin or the density of even a tiny gold coin. Something you wouldn't experience by staring into a glass window (it's literally the same as window shopping or looking into the case of a coin dealer, unless you're willing to crack open the slab, you essentially pay for the coin to never be able touch it, that's just torture!

Edited by JayAg47
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1 hour ago, Limes said:

What is great collections? Is it something similar to heritage? 

Yes. Great Collections is an auction house. It seems to me, that Great Collections is an extreme version of Heritage. While most of the ancient coins on Heritage are slabbed, all of the ancients on Great Collections, that I've ever seen, seem to be slabbed. However, some of the ancients on Great Collections are ANACS, rather than NGC Ancients. Some of the ancients on Heritage are ANACS, rather than NGC Ancients, and some are raw (which Heritage calls "uncertified").

I don't mind buying slabbed coins. I've gotten pretty good at removing them. Sometimes the prices of slabbed coins seem pretty reasonable. Sometimes.

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Ionia EL 1/24 Stater. Minted 650 BC To 600 BC. Uncertain Mint. SNG Kayhan 678. Hogarth 6. Maximum Diameter 6.0 mm. Weight 0.59 grams. Obverse : Plain. Reverse : Square Incuse Punch.

Edited by sand
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Personally, the whole process of slabbing and grading feels off when it comes to ancient coins. I can somewhat understand it when it comes to more modern coins. Slabs are for grading and maintaining the value of a coin (or, for some people, make a profit) which is related purely to the grade mentioned on that plastic case. But no ancient coin is the same in design, strike, style, wear and so on. So the 'grading' is absolutely useless in comparison to mass production coin that came out of a machine.

I wonder why people buy ancients in slabs. First, I can imagine that for buyers who collect of collected US and modern coins in slabs, buying ancient coins in slabs is 'just the way to do it'. Second, it may give an extra feel of protection that the coin is genuine (even though its purely about the grade) and an imagined extra handling protection for the coin. Third, in connection with no. 1, perhaps for them its a way to hold on to the coins value. for future selling. And fourth, like Berk mentioned in his podcasts, there are buyers who simply go for that 'star' or 'Choice' on the label. Also, I do think there's a big difference between European, and American auction houses when it comes to slabs. There are almost no slabbed ancients in European auctions, unlike some US based auctioneers. Maybe its also a cultural thing? 

33 minutes ago, JayAg47 said:

I just can't bring myself to buy an ancient coin in a slab (except maybe an authenticated gold/silver Eid Mar, but that won't be my problem). It doesn't matter if it's really expensive or even in the best condition, i just want to feel the coin in my hand, experience high relief of tetradrachms, the chunkiness of a large bronze coin or the density of even a tiny gold coin. Something you wouldn't experience by starring into a glass window (it's literally the same as window shopping or looking into the case of a coin dealer, unless you're willing to crack open the slab, you essentially pay for the coin to never be able touch it, that's just torture!

Like @sand, I don't mind buying a coin in a slab per se, if the price is right. I have mentioned before, that I bought a Hadrian Germania denarius from US Heritage. It came in a slab, but the price was right. It goes without saying I freed the coin. Like you, I want to hold it in hand.  Unfortunately, the fees from Heritage were absurd, so it's very unlikely I will ever buy from them again. Another coin in a slab came from a retailer, based in Europe. The price was again great, and I cracked it open. The Hadrian was low graded, somewhere VF, and the other coin was XF, but who cares, not me. (I do care about Heritage's 'handling costs' and it still annoys me. A lot.)

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I have to admit that the last couple of coins that I have added to my Probus collection have been slabbed. This is because I have followed the edict of "buy the coin, not the slab". These are coins that I have a gap for in my collection, are scarce to rare and because they were being sold by a "slabbed coin" seller were not identified as anything unusual. As such the price was less than I would have expected to pay retail for an unslabbed example. I bought the coins not because of the slab and if anyone has seen my collection they know that I couldn't give a jot about grade.

Slabs are not always evil. They can be a route to obtaining a coin that you want from someone who doesn't know or care about what they are selling.

Probus

Obv:– IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right (seen from the rear)
Rev:– TEMPOR FELICI, Felicitas standing right, holding caduceus and cornucopiae
Mint – Lugdunum (I in exe) Emission 6 Officina 1. A.D.278 to A.D. 279
Reference:– Bastien 264 (1 example cited). RIC 103 Bust type C var (not listed with this bust type in RIC)

Possibly an oversrike. There is a lot of residual detail of a coin on the reverse but not enough to identify the undertype.

RI_132aab_img.JPG

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From the point of view of a collector who does not have condition as a primary factor in choosing/liking coins, I don't understand slabbing. 

I know there are collectors (some of them with experience) who praise slabbed coins and consider it's the only way to collect. 

NOTE - I admire the skilled specialists from grading companies, who really know their job (hats off) - so I certainly have nothing against them. 

But again, from my point of view, what I noticed is that people who buy slabbed and only slabbed coins 

1. overpay. Because they buy the plastic not the coin. Slabbing costs money. Money reflects in price. Yes, it was checked by a specialist and this is something that adds a degree of warranty, many people are afraid of forgeries, but is this warranty enough to pay 10 times (in this particular case)? The Mamaea sestertius shown in the thread is ugly. Don't get me wrong! I have coins in worse shape than it and I have nothing against them! But if I want a Mamaea sestertius, I would choose a better example without breaking the bank.

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My example, even if it is not a coin to brag about, is far superior. Including fees it was 20 euros in a public and popular auction. I don't know about you, but I would choose mine without blinking. 

Why would the first owner slab the OP coin? because of pedigree? Beats me, but I would buy a slabbed coin in this condition only if it has a fantastic pedigree, a previous owner who is very important to me. 

Would somebody pay that price? Actually I think somebody will. For the reasons mentioned above. 

2. Study less. This might be wrong, but I noticed the collectors who only buy slabbed coins usually remain with the information on the slab. Due to space constrains, this is usually very laconic. When I buy a coin, even if the auction house description is very short, I do my own research. Again, not sure if this is a rule, but I noticed some collectors remain with "Julia Mamaea, 222-235. Sestertius". Their loss. 

3. Rely too much. On another board I saw at least 2 collectors having the supreme punch line to end a conversation - yeah, but mine is slabbed. 

Personally, I know my skills to detect forgeries are weak. Certainly weaker than the specialists in grading companies BUT I think that if a collector relies ONLY on slabbed coins as genuine and has doubts / doesn't trust all the non slabbed .... this is quite a problem. 

I only have 1 slabbed coin. It was a type I always wanted and searched an example for a few months. Not rare. But every time one appeared, it was either too good (and expensive) or too worn and I really wanted the design visible. 

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This is a very good example for me (as you see, graded by a smaller company). I didn't buy it FOR THE SLAB - actually I was afraid the slab will raise the price. It didn't . I was really happy with the price (70 euros + fees) and I would have paid this price without the slab. Do I agree with the grade? No. Firstly because I think Sheldon scale should not be used for ancient coins. I decided to keep the slab. Why? because I simply found it interesting. I keep the auction ticket in the album and the coin in a box. Is this a habit? oh no. But if I ever encounter a coin that I want and feel the price is right but it is also slabbed, I will keep the slab also. 

Note - I have a few sestertii in my collection that would get the VG grade, I think. 

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If anyone is willing to pay $115 for either of them if they are graded, I am happy to sell them. 

Edited by ambr0zie
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7 hours ago, Roman Collector said:

Slabs facilitate the fleecing of newcomers to the field of ancient coin collecting. They give an unwarranted sense of legitimacy to a dealer's advertised price. I pity the newbie who purchases this overpriced eyesore. They'll take a huge loss when the time comes to sell it. What competent collector would send this coin to be slabbed?

Eyesore Julia Mamaea for $115 anyone?

image.jpeg.c7b2bccf15465ee1cf9fbaea512c2454.jpeg
image.jpeg.de777c727b9b6a11ac0d2306251fbdbb.jpeg

~~~

Four years ago, when I was on a Julia Mamaea bender, I paid $75 for this one, which was FULL RETAIL at a fixed price dealer. It even came with an old Seaby tag.

MamaeaIVNOAVGVSTAEsestertius.jpg.079e8b571d16557a1db6ea745dd3c23a.jpg
MamaeaIVNOAVGVSTAEsestertiusSeabytag.jpg.f523cfe5455d5650b35f28ebf3439dd9.jpg

 

The subject of slabbed coins is like a bad dinner, it keeps coming up & is impossible to digest 🤢. Some people like slabbed coins & some don't, period 😏! There are many reasons why some collectors like their coins slabbed, & only one serious reason why others prefer their coins raw, they like to handle the actual coin. Anyone stupid enough to bid on the slabbed coin you posted deserves to be ripped-off 😉! I noticed that no one has bid on that coin & would be shocked if it sold at any price. The comment on the slab "scuffs" is amusing 🤣, mutilated would be more appropriate. As maridvnvm posted, "buy the coin & not the slab", regardless of what is printed on the slab. If people don't follow that simple rule they're not serious ancient coin collectors. In regards to the Julia Mamaea sestertius in your collection, it's an attractive coin & was a bargain for $75.00 ☺️. Pictured below is Julia sestertius I won at a CNG auction 4 years ago for $460.00, including the buyers fee. That very same coin was auctioned 10 years ago by CNG for $546.25. JuliaMamaeaFelicitasSestertiusAWK.jpg.f4cfda9b0d90be8d7f117c74179f53b8.jpg

For comparison, the coin pictured below was sold by CNG in their Coin Shop, #538841, for $875.00.

                                    CNGCoinShop.jpg.cd27371bbad9dea347a96c98a6334e8b.jpg

 

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2 hours ago, Al Kowsky said:

The subject of slabbed coins is like a bad dinner, it keeps coming up & is impossible to digest 🤢. Some people like slabbed coins & some don't, period 😏! There are many reasons why some collectors like their coins slabbed, & only one serious reason why others prefer their coins raw, they like to handle the actual coin. Anyone stupid enough to bid on the slabbed coin you posted deserves to be ripped-off 😉! I noticed that no one has bid on that coin & would be shocked if it sold at any price. The comment on the slab "scuffs" is amusing 🤣, mutilated would be more appropriate. As maridvnvm posted, "buy the coin & not the slab", regardless of what is printed on the slab. If people don't follow that simple rule they're not serious ancient coin collectors. In regards to the Julia Mamaea sestertius in your collection, it's an attractive coin & was a bargain for $75.00 ☺️. Pictured below is Julia sestertius I won at a CNG auction 4 years ago for $460.00, including the buyers fee. That very same coin was auctioned 10 years ago by CNG for $546.25. JuliaMamaeaFelicitasSestertiusAWK.jpg.f4cfda9b0d90be8d7f117c74179f53b8.jpg

For comparison, the coin pictured below was sold by CNG in their Coin Shop, #538841, for $875.00.

                                    CNGCoinShop.jpg.cd27371bbad9dea347a96c98a6334e8b.jpg

 

 

That is a beautiful, pristine specimen, @Al Kowsky! Here is my lesser grade specimen, acquired from William Rosenblum's Mailbid Sale 40J, lot 120, 13 December, 2010, for USD 50.

MamaeaFELICITASPVBLICAstandingsestertius.jpg.7ab02a5d2ae5aebf2a331c5faaac2590.jpg

 

Edited by Roman Collector
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2 hours ago, Al Kowsky said:

There are many reasons why some collectors like their coins slabbed, & only one serious reason why others prefer their coins raw, they like to handle the actual coin.

I think this is very much the other way around. I'm not anti-slab in the sense that I buy pre-slabbed coins for the right price, I've yet to free one, and don't really mind if someone else slabs theirs, certainly less than them messing with them. I've even thought about slabbing certain coins, but came up against all sorts of drawbacks that raw coins just do not have:

1 - You can't see the coin properly, even in the new holders. It's a reflective surface and the plastic is thick.
2 - If the coin moves about you can't move it back. Your only solution is to crack it out or send it off for re-slabbing at great expense and wasted time.
3 - The case scratches easily (even if you pay for scratch resistent). Your only solution is to crack it out or send it off for re-slabbing at great expense and wasted time.
4 - You can't photograph the coin and have to do with the garish, over-produced 'TrueView'.
5 - You can't see what a real coin looks and feels like behind the plastic, so you never learn.
6 - You can't even weigh it and no weight (or diameter) is listed.
7 - You can't change what it says on the label.
8 - The label says almost nothing, even though it's ten times bigger than it needs to be.
9 - The slabs are too big and take up twice as much space as they need to.
10 - It costs a lot to slab a coin. Even when it's worth it because of the coin's value, the costs increase with the value.
11 - They reel you in with a 'membership' so you have to slab all your coins to make one seem cheaper. This is like buying something you don't need in the sale because it was on offer.
12 - It takes months to slab a coin. Even if they didn't sit on it for weeks, it would take a long time. And they often make mistakes which mean you have to send them back again.
13 - You have to send it off in the mail and have it mailed back, which in addition to receiving it from the dealer or auction, trebles the chance of it getting lost. Ironically, there's a big chance that the slab will get damaged and you'll have to send it back. Again.
14 - If you're in the UK or country where there aren't TPGs, you have to mail it overseas at huge expense and even more wasted time (plus more risk).
15 - You have to have your coin judged on a fatuous basis - essentially how much wear it has. This score then determines whether it was worth all the money and time to send it off for grading in the first place because this, not the coin, determines what people will pay if you want to sell it.
16 - Rather than ensuring your coin is not fake, it stops the auction house or dealer from taking responsibility. See Heritage's T&Cs if you don't believe me. Much better to have a raw coin that's been through the hands of several experts, who've all had to stake their reputations on its authenticity, and not just one at a TPG who looks at it for ten seconds before entombing it.
17 - Slabbing is for investment and commoditises collecting. It hinders collecting for enjoyment.

That's 17 serious reasons to have your coins raw and I haven't even mentioned holding them for the fun of it.

And the list of reasons to put a coin in a slab? I've only ever heard three:
1 - You know it's not fake or tooled. This is partly true, but quite dangerous as it might still be fake or tooled but no-one will ever get a good look at it again.
2 - It's easier to store. Once you have a slab, you want them all slabbed to fit in the box. An excruciatingly expensive solution, but a solution.
3 - You like the TrueView images - because they make the subtle patina look as colourful as possible. This works for the investor who stacks their coins high and sticks them in a bank vault never to see or hold them in real life again (because they can't anyway). This puts me in mind of when Henry VIII had a painting done of Anne of Cleves to see if he wanted to marry her. He'd have been better off just looking at the painting.

Even so, I don't know if I'd blame slabs for tricking new collectors into paying more. That scam has been going on a lot longer than TPGs. Like the Late Roman Bronze worth a dollar that's put in a wooden box and sold with an information leaflet for 100 times its worth - selling the history and not the coin. A slab makes no attempt whatsoever to sell the history of a coin, or even the aesthetics or rarity or anything but an opinion of condition.

Edited by John Conduitt
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I have picked up a handful slabbed coins this year. Not because they were slabbed but because I wanted the coin inside and would have paid the same price for them "raw." More often than not slabbed coins are a rip off, especially anything with a high grade. But because they are usually bought and sold by people who collect the rating rather than the coin, it's possible to get nice deals, especially on scarce types like maridvnvm says. The left facing Gallienus from Antioch I recently posted in "Post your latest ancient!" was one, listed at the same price as common coins in "AU" slabs. Same for the unpublished Salonina in "Gallienus and Claudius II imperial coinage in the East." And I just got this Gallienus for $27, which would be a ripoff for a common coin of his but when it is the second known example with this bust variant I'm happy to add it to my collection. 

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7 minutes ago, Molag Bal said:

I have picked up a handful slabbed coins this year. Not because they were slabbed but because I wanted the coin inside and would have paid the same price for them "raw." More often than not slabbed coins are a rip off, especially anything with a high grade. But because they are usually bought and sold by people who collect the rating rather than the coin, it's possible to get nice deals, especially on scarce types like maridvnvm says. The left facing Gallienus from Antioch I recently posted in "Post your latest ancient!" was one, listed at the same price as common coins in "AU" slabs. Same for the unpublished Salonina in "Gallienus and Claudius II imperial coinage in the East." And I just got this Gallienus for $27, which would be a ripoff for a common coin of his but when it is the second known example with this bust variant I'm happy to add it to my collection. 

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This is a brilliant argument for wanting other people to like slabs 🤣 A bit annoying if you just want a common coin but great for rarities.

Edited by John Conduitt
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My perspective as a remote collector who handles a coin the first time when it arrives.

Slabbing serves several purposes:
- Authentication: certainly a bonus. Some fakes are made by die transfer, making them 'die-linked' with genuine coins. It is very hard to assess such coins from photos.
- Grading: a bonus for evidence of tooling, rim state, bends and other attributes that are easy to miss on the photo. A few times, my coins were not described accurately by dealers. The grading scales for ancient coins and the consistency of grading need improvement.
- Protection from damage/elements: Unlikely needed for the coins I collect. This may be helpful for more fragile coins and coins from some alloys. I have not seen evidence of how protective slabs are.
- Presentation: I dislike the current slabs, which are designed with dealers rather than collectors in mind. The slabs I have, sit outside the main collection, breaking the flow of the collection presentation.

Also
- Secure slabs facilitate direct sales between collectors.

I am not against slabs in my collection,  in principle. To buy me in:

1. Make them much smaller; reflect the size of popular antique coins. Denarii, aurei, solidi, and many other coins are ≤20 mm and relatively thin. My preferable slab size would be ≤50x50 mm with slab thickness = coin thickness + 1-2 mm of the slab.
2. Remove labels at the top and keep the slab square. 99.99% of the time, I am the only person who sees my coins and know what they are.
3. Put slab ID on the rim to be scannable but ideally no-visible or minimally visible when the slab is viewed front or back. Keep the label information online. Label information may change with evolving attribution, die information, and changes in the grading system. Keeping the label separate from the slab would avoid the need for re-slabbing (the grading industry may feel different about this).
4. No cheap plastic. Use quality, highly transparent materials for smaller square slabs keeping rims visible. I want to see the coin, not the slab.


Naturally, different collectors may have different preferences.

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Your coins are beautiful and we're not knocking you, Al.  I can see why you do it.  You're making a rational financial decision because you're selling some through Heritage.

Aaron Berk's opinion was that slabs are sold through telemarketers or auction houses (I'd add to this, dealers who don't specialize in ancients*), to people who aren't really knowledgeable about ancient coins.  He also added, authenticity isn't guaranteed (which a lot of a casual buyers don't know) and that the grades often were way off. Furthermore, according to him, the American coins dealers had so trained to the clientele to only buy coins in slabs.

*Per my local coin store.  The owner, who is a really nice guy, doesn't know much about ancients and freely admits this.  For a while, NGC slabs were the majority of the store's stock.  My dad only buys from the local coin store.  Hence, birthday or Christmas presents come from here.  While there were a couple of slabbed coins which I was delighted to get (because they were types which I'd always wanted), my favorites by far were the raw coins, sourced from a long-time ancients dealer.  Since my dad is also their best ancients customer, I asked him to ask them if they could cool it a bit on the slabs.  The dealer also had an anecdote about raw coins.  He had a stack of some common, but beautiful Constantine-era LRB's.  The source advised him to price them at $60 and they flew out the door, mostly to non-ancient collectors.

I view my slabbed coins as less valuable and were I less of a klutz, they'd all be freed.  The only thing I liked about them was that I could handle the slab when my hands weren't bone dry.  People also don't take into account of how slabs will age.  Will they yellow?  Will they scratch up?

Stated grade is also pretty unimportant to me.  I don't care if it's the greatest authority in the world.  While I freely admit to being a budget collector (mostly under $300), I buy a coin if I like it and it's not a ripoff.  Patina is high up on the scale for AE buys.  Like Aaron Berk says, grading ancients is a bit subjective. There's a bit of room for wiggle room.

TiberiusIII-698-705-AVSolidus-S1360-4_46g.officinaBXFflatstrikeobvsltdbstrrx.jpg.361c6b9399c02fa9f0e85c382b552165.jpg

Here's an example.  I personally would grade this as XF (by wear) - yeah, it wouldn't qualify for old-school XF, but despite the crappy strike (which made it affordable), it's pretty much like it was out of the mint.  It has the most mirror-like surfaces by far of any gold coin I have.  It is a neat type, a neat bust type, and the Syracuse tetradrachm which I was looking at lost out.  Not the Syracuse one with the beautiful style, but rather the one with the hair looking like that headgear that Jamaican rastas wear.  This coin gave me a lot of happiness.  Rasta Syracuse, which was an ok Fine, wouldn't have.  I later bought a ghastly Syracuse, just to say I had one.  Although it was in nice condition (by wear), I bought it because it appealed to me.

Edit: The upsides of this coin, the wonderful, mirror-like surfaces, would have been hidden in a cloudy slab.  I also don't like those little prongs.

 

Edited by Nerosmyfavorite68
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4 minutes ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Your coins are beautiful and we're not knocking you, Al.  I can see why you do it.  You're making a rational financial decision because you're selling some through Heritage.

Yes most of the problems with slabs come not because people disagree with their benefits (authentication being the main one, which is a fair request), but because the coin has to be locked inside a container for that authentication to be valid - even though for ancients they don't actually authenticate the coins anyway.

I'm not entirely sure why they need to be locked up. If the TPG takes high resolution photos of the coins, isn't that enough? Or is it possible for someone to make an exact replica of a coin, scratches, patina and all? Looking up the photos is the only way I know to verify the slab is genuine and untampered with, so it must be sufficient. NGC even tell you to do that.

So they could just photograph the coin and keep a record of the current owner, so that if someone else turned up with the same coin, you'd know it was a copy. If it has an extra scratch when compared to the photo, the price could come down. It doesn't need to be in a slab.

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7 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

Yes most of the problems with slabs come not because people disagree with their benefits (authentication being the main one, which is a fair request), but because the coin has to be locked inside a container for that authentication to be valid - even though for ancients they don't actually authenticate the coins anyway.

I'm not entirely sure why they need to be locked up. If the TPG takes high resolution photos of the coins, isn't that enough? Or is it possible for someone to make an exact replica of a coin, scratches, patina and all? Looking up the photos is the only way I know to verify the slab is genuine and untampered with, so it must be sufficient. NGC even tell you to do that.

So they could just photograph the coin and keep a record of the current owner, so that if someone else turned up with the same coin, you'd know it was a copy. If it has an extra scratch when compared to the photo, the price could come down. It doesn't need to be in a slab.

Yes. I wish that NGC Ancients would allow customers, to choose a "grading certificate", instead of a slab. The certificate could have an ID number, just like a slab does. One could use the ID number, to lookup high resolution photos of the coin, on the NGC Ancients web site. Every ancient coin looks different, because of flan shape, style, strike, wear, and corrosion/tone/patina. Therefore, if the coin looks like the photos on the NGC Ancients web site, then it seems like, you could be pretty sure that the coin was graded by NGC Ancients, and therefore is probably authentic. NGC Ancients already offers such a certificate, but only if the coin cannot be slabbed (too small, too brittle, etc).

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41 minutes ago, John Conduitt said:

keep a record of the current owner, so that if someone else turned up with the same coin, you'd know it was a copy

P.S. : It seems to me, that, this part, may be helpful, or it may become too complicated, and perhaps it would be unnecessary.

Edited by sand
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4 hours ago, John Conduitt said:

I think this is very much the other way around. I'm not anti-slab in the sense that I buy pre-slabbed coins for the right price, I've yet to free one, and don't really mind if someone else slabs theirs, certainly less than them messing with them. I've even thought about slabbing certain coins, but came up against all sorts of drawbacks that raw coins just do not have:

1 - You can't see the coin properly, even in the new holders. It's a reflective surface and the plastic is thick.
2 - If the coin moves about you can't move it back. Your only solution is to crack it out or send it off for re-slabbing at great expense and wasted time.
3 - The case scratches easily (even if you pay for scratch resistent). Your only solution is to crack it out or send it off for re-slabbing at great expense and wasted time.
4 - You can't photograph the coin and have to do with the garish, over-produced 'TrueView'.
5 - You can't see what a real coin looks and feels like behind the plastic, so you never learn.
6 - You can't even weigh it and no weight (or diameter) is listed.
7 - You can't change what it says on the label.
8 - The label says almost nothing, even though it's ten times bigger than it needs to be.
9 - The slabs are too big and take up twice as much space as they need to.
10 - It costs a lot to slab a coin. Even when it's worth it because of the coin's value, the costs increase with the value.
11 - They reel you in with a 'membership' so you have to slab all your coins to make one seem cheaper. This is like buying something you don't need in the sale because it was on offer.
12 - It takes months to slab a coin. Even if they didn't sit on it for weeks, it would take a long time. And they often make mistakes which mean you have to send them back again.
13 - You have to send it off in the mail and have it mailed back, which in addition to receiving it from the dealer or auction, trebles the chance of it getting lost. Ironically, there's a big chance that the slab will get damaged and you'll have to send it back. Again.
14 - If you're in the UK or country where there aren't TPGs, you have to mail it overseas at huge expense and even more wasted time (plus more risk).
15 - You have to have your coin judged on a fatuous basis - essentially how much wear it has. This score then determines whether it was worth all the money and time to send it off for grading in the first place because this, not the coin, determines what people will pay if you want to sell it.
16 - Rather than ensuring your coin is not fake, it stops the auction house or dealer from taking responsibility. See Heritage's T&Cs if you don't believe me. Much better to have a raw coin that's been through the hands of several experts, who've all had to stake their reputations on its authenticity, and not just one at a TPG who looks at it for ten seconds before entombing it.
17 - Slabbing is for investment and commoditises collecting. It hinders collecting for enjoyment.

That's 17 serious reasons to have your coins raw and I haven't even mentioned holding them for the fun of it.

And the list of reasons to put a coin in a slab? I've only ever heard three:
1 - You know it's not fake or tooled. This is partly true, but quite dangerous as it might still be fake or tooled but no-one will ever get a good look at it again.
2 - It's easier to store. Once you have a slab, you want them all slabbed to fit in the box. An excruciatingly expensive solution, but a solution.
3 - You like the TrueView images - because they make the subtle patina look as colourful as possible. This works for the investor who stacks their coins high and sticks them in a bank vault never to see or hold them in real life again (because they can't anyway). This puts me in mind of when Henry VIII had a painting done of Anne of Cleves to see if he wanted to marry her. He'd have been better off just looking at the painting.

Even so, I don't know if I'd blame slabs for tricking new collectors into paying more. That scam has been going on a lot longer than TPGs. Like the Late Roman Bronze worth a dollar that's put in a wooden box and sold with an information leaflet for 100 times its worth - selling the history and not the coin. A slab makes no attempt whatsoever to sell the history of a coin, or even the aesthetics or rarity or anything but an opinion of condition.

John, Most of the 17 reasons you cite are superfluous gibberish, especially #17. I don't collect slabbed coins as investments or commodities & don't know anyone else who does, although many of the slabbed coins I've sold turned out to be great investments. One thing that makes me grind my teeth is watching a clumsy oaf mishandle a raw, gem grade ancient coin with their filthy hands 😠. Ancient coins are treasures from the past & need to be respected, protected & past on to future generation without being mishandled by thoughtless collectors, that's why most collectors like slabbed coins.

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For those who genuinely want authentication only, the current system with TrueView should be fine. The offered standard slabs are cheap, add little cost to the overall grading process and may be considered packaging to be opened on delivery. 

The photos and IDs remain online, and ex-slab coins are not uncommon on offer. 

NGC does not offer a guarantee for authenticity - this does not mean they are not putting all their expertise into detecting fakes.
 

Edited by Rand
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