On March 11, Coin Update published an article I wrote titled “Cracking Out Top-Tier Holders,” in which I profiled these coins:
As you can see, I paid retail or above prices on each of the aforementioned coins. There’s a reason for this. Many bidders are as skilled as I am in selecting under-graded coins in top-tier holders. I must have passed up hundreds of Carson City dollars and dozens of 1888-O Morgans in selecting these three. Under-graded coins are scarce and every service, including PCGS, NGC, ANACS and ICG, can be inconsistent on occasion (by a point, typically).
In my previous post about these coins, I wrote:
In choosing crack-out candidates, you have to know these aspects of grading: luster, eye-appeal, strike (for the year), high points on devices (indicating wear), and absence of grade-eroding details such as cleaning, alterations, environmental damage, bag marks, rim bumps pin scratches, PVC discoloration, corrosion, smoothing, rubs, artificial toning, and other conditions. These three coins above have been sent in recently and haven’t yet been graded by PCGS. I’ll let you know the results when all three grades come in. I may score 1 out of 3, 2 out of 3, or all 3.”
Well, the results are in. I scored 3 out of 3:
The upgrade above netted a $525 retail price on a $99 investment (minus $20 slabbing fee).
The upgrades shown in this photo netted $560 retail price on a $414 investment for the 1884-CC and a $500 retail price on a $286 investment for the 1883-CC (minus $20 each slabbing fee).
The lesson here does not concern my grading skill; it concerns developing your grading potential so that you can take advantage of the rare under-graded coin in a top-tier holder.
As we caution every time we mention cracking out coins, don’t try it unless you learned how to do it from an expert numismatist and know what you are doing — and always wear protective eye gear. Also keep in mind that you can damage the coin by cracking out the holder (even pros experience this from time to time).
Finally, there is another option: Don’t crack out the under-graded coin but keep it as a trophy (no need for affirmation if you are satisfied with your purchase). Or send it to Certified Acceptance Corporation for a sticker as your badge of grading prowess.
Have you ever cracked out a coin and resubmitted it for a higher grade? Tell us what happened in the comment section below!