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Viewpoint: Slabs added value in many ways

By Dennis Ranski


Have third-party grading slabs added value to your personal coin collection?

This is a real good question, which could have many interpretations. Does it add value, or how does it add value? Back in 2008, I purchased a raw 1896-S Morgan that I felt would grade at MS-62. I purchased this coin in the Detroit area from a very reputable dealer. I inspected this coin to what I felt was “to the extreme” and felt very good about the purchase. The cost was $1,000. You can only imagine my shock when it came back from NGC “ungraded” with the notation “added mintmark.”

I had scanned the coin before removing it from its flip. I kept all the material and the receipt from the dealer. I took the coin back to the dealer, with the scans and the flip, etc., and he refunded my money. Was there added value? Yes, in many ways. I am glad to have had the coin graded (or attempted to). Turns out it was not what it was supposed to be. If it was not graded, it would have sat in my collection as a raw coin that was an imposter. When I went to sell it, I probably would have been accused of trying to pass off a fake, which would not help my reputation. So I see this action as a definite added value.

I probably have had a couple of hundred coins graded since then, including my complete Morgan dollar collection. I also had numerous duplicates graded as to pick the best for my collection with the remaining then being sold on eBay. Buying and selling coins on eBay is a lot easier when the coin sits in a slab; again, “value added.”

Also, I like to handle my coins (even if they are in a holder). I like holding them up to a light to see how they reflect and to study the details of each coin. The holders make this easy. A small point, but I feel as “added value.”

I have also graded coins that have had little value monetarily. Many of these coins were handed down from Dad and Mom or Grandma. They fill a book of type coins. Some grade good, some fine, maybe a few a little better. But this adds personal value because of where the coins came from. Someone might say why waste the money, but it’s mine to waste, and I get great satisfaction to see these coins (including an AU Lafayette dollar) that I received as a high school graduation gift from a dear neighbor, who received it in change many years ago at his radio shop in Detroit. As a young collector, I was able to look through a box of odd coins that he had just put aside from his store. I fell in love with the Lafayette dollar. It is the only gift that I still remember (or still have) to this day from graduation. I can’t put a value on this coin, but it sure looks sharp in its holder. When I show it to someone, the response is usually, “I’ve never seen this coin!” No kidding.

This “Viewpoint” was written by Dennis Ranski a collector from Dearborn, Mich.

To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to

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More Collecting Resources

• Is that coin in your hand the real deal or a clever fake? Discover the difference with U.S. Coins Close Up, a one-of-a-kind visual guide to every U.S. coin type.

• The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is the only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. currency with today’s market prices.