Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Raw Coins vs. Encapsulated Coins

Raw Coins vs. Encapsulated Coins
A Numismatic Debate

Welcome, fellow coin enthusiasts! Today, we delve into a spirited debate that has ignited passionate discussions among collectors: raw coins versus slabbed (encapsulated) coins. As we explore the merits and drawbacks of each approach, let’s remember that our shared love for numismatics unites us, regardless of our chosen path.

Raw Coins: The Unfiltered Experience


  1. Tactile Connection: Raw coins allow us to engage directly with history. We hold them, feel their weight, and marvel at their intricate designs. It’s like shaking hands with the past.
  2. Grading Independence: As raw collectors, we become amateur graders. The thrill lies in deciphering mint state, wear, and eye appeal. Our expertise grows with each coin we evaluate.
  3. Personal Journey: Raw coins tell stories beyond their monetary value. We uncover hidden details, speculate about their previous owners, and appreciate their imperfections.


  1. Risk of Damage: Handling raw coins exposes them to scratches, fingerprints, and environmental hazards. Proper storage and care are essential.
  2. Authentication Challenges: Detecting counterfeits demands vigilance. Are we skilled enough to spot the subtle differences?
  3. Market Perception: Some buyers prioritize graded coins for investment. Raw coins may face skepticism or lower demand.

Encapsulated Coins: The Shielded Guardians


  1. Certified Authenticity: Slabs from reputable grading services provide peace of mind. Authentication and grading are done by experts.
  2. Market Acceptance: Investors and collectors alike trust graded coins. They’re like blue-chip stocks in our numismatic portfolio.
  3. Preservation: Encapsulation shields coins from physical harm, oxidation, and handling. They remain frozen in time.


  1. Loss of Touch: Coins encased in plastic lose their tactile allure. We can’t feel their edges or appreciate their heft.
  2. Costly Process: Grading fees add up. Is the premium worth it?
  3. Uniformity: Slabs strip coins of individuality. Each coin becomes a standardized unit, devoid of personality.


In this debate, there’s no clear winner. Raw collectors cherish the rawness of history, while encapsulated enthusiasts seek security and uniformity. Perhaps the ideal approach lies in balance: collect raw coins for the joy of discovery and encapsulated coins for long-term preservation.

Remember, whether you’re a raw coin aficionado or a slab devotee, our shared passion unites us. Let’s continue celebrating the rich tapestry of numismatics, one coin at a time!

Financial Pros and Cons

Let’s delve a little deeper into the financial aspects of collecting raw coins versus encapsulated coins.


Raw Coins:


  1. Cost-Effective Entry: Raw coins are often more affordable upfront. As collectors, we can acquire a diverse range of raw specimens without breaking the bank.
  2. Potential for Hidden Gems: Raw coins offer the thrill of discovery. That unassuming penny in your hand might turn out to be a rare date or mint error, significantly increasing its value.
  3. Market Timing: Buying raw coins during market downturns can be advantageous. When prices rise, the appreciation potential can be substantial.


  1. Uncertain Grading Outcome: The lack of professional grading means uncertainty about a coin’s true condition. A raw coin’s value can vary widely based on subjective assessments.
  2. Liquidation Challenges: Selling raw coins can be tricky. Buyers may hesitate due to authenticity concerns or lack of third-party certification.
  3. Risk of Overpaying: Without expert grading, we might overestimate a raw coin’s potential. Overpaying for a common coin can be disappointing.

Encapsulated Coins (Slabs):


  1. Certified Value: Slabbed coins come with a grade assigned by reputable services like NGC or PCGS. This certification provides confidence to buyers and investors.
  2. Higher Market Demand: Many collectors and investors prefer graded coins. They’re easier to trade, especially in online auctions and numismatic markets.
  3. Investment Security: Encapsulation protects coins from environmental damage, ensuring their long-term preservation. This security appeals to those seeking stable investments.


  1. Grading Costs: Submitting coins for professional grading incurs fees. These costs can add up, especially for lower-value coins.
  2. Reduced Flexibility: Once encapsulated, a coin’s fate is sealed. You can’t handle it or appreciate its raw beauty anymore.
  3. Uniformity: Slabs strip coins of individual character. Each graded coin looks the same, lacking the uniqueness of raw specimens.


The financial choice between raw and encapsulated coins depends on your goals. If you seek affordability, adventure, and hands-on experience, raw coins beckon. For stability, market acceptance, and assured authenticity, slabs are the way to go.

Remember, whether you stack raw coins like a treasure trove or display graded slabs like museum artifacts, the joy of numismatics lies in the journey. Happy collecting!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

A lesson about Counterfeit Coins Part 1

     Well for today's post lets talk about counterfeit and phony coins.  Now that the coin market is picking up pace and more people are buying rare coins for their collection or for investing, it is probably wise to be somewhat knowledgeable about if a coin is real or not.  I myself have met people who have failed to pawn off a fake coin to me.  Of course I can't say how many times I've heard that sad tale of a deal gone south because the coin wasn't really a coin after all.  So with that said  I would like to start with a little snippet from PCGS. "Since perhaps the very day coins were first produced, quick-buck artists and their counterparts throughout history have sought illicit gain by making copies-or counterfeits-of the genuine articles".
     OK.  Now that you've seen the beginning, I suggest that you take some time and read the rest of this article.  If you don't have the time, bookmark it for a later.  You will come away with a little more ease of mind and understanding about these types of coins that leave a sour taste in  ones mouth.  

Have a nice read

A lesson about Counterfeit Coins Part 2

OK.  This is a little late, but as I say better late than never.  This is a second article about the fundamentals of detecting counterfeit coins.  I can not stress how significant this practice is.  There are several countries who turn a blind eye to counterfeiting.  Most are in the east, but never the less, this is an on going problem within the coin community.  Even today there are encapsulated coins that have been counterfeited with the grades and  labels of some well know grading services.  So if you're a numismatic enthusiast, I suggest you take time a read through this educational information.  It may one day spare you from the agony of purchasing a phony.

Enjoy the read.