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Today’s Holders Allow for Edge Viewing

Is there a slab through which I can view the edge of my coin?

None of the third-party certification services are particularly “edge friendly,” however the modern slabs that hold a coin in place with prongs allow a superior view of the edge than do many of the older encapsulations housing the coin with what I will call a seam. When viewing a coin in one of these older holders, you are viewing the plastic rather than the edge of the coin.

How can I remove a coin from a slab?

There is no single method that works on all third-party certification service encapsulations. The encapsulations have been improved over the years to discourage tampering. Some people place a coin in a vice, others use an electric saw (hopefully gingerly), while others put the encapsulation in a position through which they can try to snap it. Any time you attempt to remove a coin from its plastic tomb, you risk damaging the coin or yourself.

What coins are preferred “raw” versus being encapsulated?

Any U.S. or Colonial coin that has reasonably higher value from one grade to the next is a good candidate to be authenticated and graded by a third party service. Modern foreign coins where a significant price difference between grades is likewise a good candidate. A majority of ancient coin collectors prefer their coins “raw.” It should not be overlooked that these services authenticate a coin prior to grading it. The authentication alone may be of importance to your coin regardless of the grade assigned.

Some collectors and dealers play the crack-out game, re-submitting a previously slabbed coin to a service hoping for a higher grade. Could a service somehow identify the coin as being re-submitted if the submitter doesn’t tell them so?

Population reports are skewed because of re-submissions. This is a continuing problem. About the only way a service could identify a coin as being re-submitted would be to apply some sort of secret marker only visible under special lighting. To my knowledge, none of the active services do any such thing.

Are there any advantages to having a coin slabbed in addition to its authentication and grading?

An encapsulated coin is protected from being mishandled when being examined. Certified coins are also easier to document and trace since a number is assigned to each encapsulation. Even past sales records of an individual coin may be able to be traced, which can be handy for provenance purposes. 

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