The photo above constitutes the gist of this post concerning cracking out coins and submitting them to NGC, to see what difference, if any, a world-class holdering company assigns to coins in lower-level slabs.
NGC is one of the top companies because of its consistent grading standards. I admire this company for many reasons, especially for its excellent customer service, and submit coins regularly (apart from PCI toned Silver Eagles—more on that later).
As you can see, I removed a 1986 MS-69 Silver Eagle from its PCI holder, an 1881-S MS-66 Morgan dollar from its National Numismatic Certification holder, and an 1880-S MS-61 Morgan dollar from its Hannes Tulving flip. (Tulving, a coin dealer, sold raw coins years ago in soft vinyl flips that often leave PVC damage on coins; this one lacked that damage.)
Again as you can see, the PCI coin came back labeled “artificial toning,” which I would have predicted with NGC; the NNC coin came back two grades lower; and the Tulving coin, 3-1/2 grades higher.
This Tulving flip probably was graded in the 1980s on a harsher scale than we often find today. Later, Tulving had snap-on holders that weren’t airtight, meaning coins inside often toned. You’ll also note that the $57 price for an MS-61 might seem steep. (That’s about $141 in 2017 dollars; the price also indicates that this coin was put in the flip before the 1989 collapse of the numismatic market.)
I won this coin with a bid of $45. So the investment was worthwhile. (I paid $55 for the NNC coin; so that was break-even.)
Keep in mind why Coin Update does crossover posts such as this one. Hobbyists seldom do what I do in testing the grading companies on a regular basis, as long-time readers of my columns know (and links here attest). While your experience may differ from mine, you might be able to draw some conclusions about the amount you should bid in online auctions if you are interested in coins in lesser holders.
(TIP: If you are confident about a grade, be sure to check a reputable online service like PCGS CoinFacts or the Red Book Online and see current auction prices. Then add any buyer’s premium, shipping, and other fees.)
Awhile ago, I did a review of NNC holders in this post. I often consider coins in these holders, adjusting a few points before placing my bids, as you might anticipate. In this post, I submitted NNC coins to PCGS with mixed results.
Concerning the PCI Silver Eagle, I doubted NGC would grade the coin. I have questioned NGC repeatedly over the years for ceasing crossovers from coins in all holders apart from PCGS, primarily because it is too easy to state that toned coins are artificial. PCI coins are noted for the intense rainbows in coins that often bear the label “100% white” when the coins show spectacular rainbows. See this post about PCI toned coins.
Here are a few from my own collection:
On January 1, 2011, NGC changed its crossover policy because customers were often disappointed in the lower grades that they often received. You can read about it in this Coin Update post.
In a month or so, you also will read about what happened to that 1986 PCI coin above, dubbed “artificial toning,” because I have submitted it raw to PCGS and predict that this company will slab it at MS-68.
What is the lesson now in this crossover column? Here are a few:
- Do not bid on coins in lesser holders unless you know something about the history of the company, as I did with the Tulving coin.
- Do not bid on coins in lesser holders based solely on the grade on the label and the the value from a price guide.
- You do take a risk when you crack out coins, and we do not recommend that you do that, because there are dangers to both you and the coin if you lack the training and proper eye gear.
Have you had any recent experience bidding on coins in PCI, NNC, or Tulving holders? If so, share in the comments below! ❑