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What is the best way to "crack open" a slab?

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 Posted 07/06/2011  4:35 pm Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add BuffalosRock to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

I didn't think I'd ever want to, but I bought an ICG certified coin, before I knew they were the "kiss of death" when it came to TPGs and re-sale, and now want to put it in my new album.

So how does one crack one open making sure not to damage the coin? I really don't know how they are constructed so where and how to bust one open is a mystery!

Thanks in advance.

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 Posted 07/06/2011  5:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Scooby Due to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
What do you mean by "kiss of death"? I don't have a problem with ICG coins. I find I can get better prices for the same grades as the PCGS slabs.

That said, I might need to know this "crackin" thing, too. So, I'll be .
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 Posted 07/06/2011  5:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BuffalosRock to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I was trying to sell or trade an ICG coin and a PCGS one, having upgraded to better coins, and dealers etc. wouldn't even look at the coin or make me an offer on the ICG one at all - while they all at least offered on the PCGS one. It seems the "buy the coin not the slab" mantra only comes from one side of the counter!
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 Posted 07/06/2011  5:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Scooby Due to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I don't know why they would have a problem with ICG. They are as respectable as the other 3, in my opinion. It's not like they are one of the other "third graders" out there.

But, I still want to know about the "kraken".

Edited by Scooby Due
07/06/2011 5:35 pm
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 Posted 07/06/2011  6:06 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jimineez to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've only cracked 2 coins out... one an icg, one a pcgs. They were the same IMO, here is what I did:

1- hold the slab all the way across and just above one side of the coin with a large pair of channelock pliers...12" or bigger if you have them. These big pliers shield the coin from any stress while cracking.
2- take smaller pliers, I just used plain slipjoint ones, and crack away bits of the plastic on the side of the big pliers away from the coin. Be sure to crack away so no plastic flies at you...wear safety glasses.
3- once you get that side off, move the big pliers to shield another side of the coin 90 degrees around to one side & then continue to crack bits away with the small pliers.
4- once you get those 2 sides off, I was able to let the coin slide out without damage. The ICG had a little rubber insert that held the coin in.

It is pretty easy really...
Edited by jimineez
07/06/2011 6:13 pm
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 Posted 07/06/2011  6:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My best recommendation is with a rotary tool, often referred to by the genericized trademark Dremel (although Dremel makes more than just rotary tools).

Here is some reading for you...

http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/...PIC_ID=79901
http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/...PIC_ID=83820
http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/...PIC_ID=72556
http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/...PIC_ID=20759
http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/...PIC_ID=21201
Jbuck! ... Coin Collector since 1978 ... Learn more about my current avatar and my previous one.

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 Posted 07/06/2011  6:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jimineez to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
jbuck's method does sound safer than mine...
Note that while both of my coins were $700+ coins, they were gold and almost all of the value was due to the gold content. If I had a coin with well over $100 of numismatic value, I guess I may take the time to dremel instead of my pliers method...just in case.
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 Posted 07/06/2011  9:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Funny Money to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
hammer and chisel. On the seam by the label...insert chisel into corner, twist, voila....
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 Posted 07/08/2011  10:06 am  Show Profile Check nolawyer's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add nolawyer to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've had success with bolt cutters, but the dremmel option is probably better.

As for ICG, I think it depends what kind of coin you are talking about. I think they are fine for older coins in circulated grades, but they don't fare as well with moderns or top grades. For example, I recently had an ICG 1959 Lincoln MS67RD. The coin had lots of marks and probably would not have made MS65RD at NGC or PCGS. It sold for $8 on eBay. I also had an ICG 1973-D Lincoln MS67RD. It was a much nicer coin and it could have made MS66RD at PCGS or NGC. It sold for $4.25 on eBay.

On the other hand, I recently had a very nice ICG MS63 Walking Liberty half dollar that I thought was undergraded; however, I would be hesitant to spend big money on an ICG MS65 or MS66 Walker.
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 Posted 07/08/2011  10:20 am  Show Profile Check oih82w8's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add oih82w8 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have heard of hacksawing off the label portion and prying away the lower portion. Patience and safety glasses would be highly recommended! Although I do like the "motor-tool" idea.
oih82w8 = "Oh I Hate To Wait"

"I tell her coins keep me off the streets and out of the bars." Moe145

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Edited by oih82w8
07/08/2011 10:23 am
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 Posted 07/12/2011  4:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BuffalosRock to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for all the input. I'm not exactly Bob Villa when it comes to having power tools. I was chatting with a dealer who has an amazing collection of coins at the coin show Saturday and he told me he'd cracked open at least 4,000 slabs to-date and never damaged a coin. He said he takes a hammer and gives the bottom center a good whack then less hard whacks on each side and almost all slabs open that way for him - no matter the TPG.

It took me quite a few whacks, as I was still worried about damaging the coin but it did work. I have an NGC certified coin on the way that I'll also be cracking out!

Though I did buy a coin from that dealer, I am leary of dealing with him now a bit. Mainly because he MOSTLY deals in raw coins and hearing that he has cracked that many out my "take" is that it is in order to re-grade/label them at a higher grade to re-sell. Kind of the antithesis of those that "sell the plastic". I got a decent deal on the one I bought but I think he probably overgrades and he is one that sticks pretty strictly to the grey sheet ASK price based on his grades. He does have loads of MS65+ gems in many coin types though! Most are out of my budget range anyway.

Thanks again!
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 Posted 07/12/2011  5:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
It took me quite a few whacks, as I was still worried about damaging the coin but it did work. I have an NGC certified coin on the way that I'll also be cracking out!
Good to hear!
Jbuck! ... Coin Collector since 1978 ... Learn more about my current avatar and my previous one.

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 Posted 07/12/2011  6:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Namachieli to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I just use the Hammer / towel method.

I like buying ICG coins. I usually get good deals on nice coins because every discounts them so heavily. I've seen a few ICG slabs that are spot on, but a few that were not even close.

Buy the coin not the holder, amirite?

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 Posted 07/12/2011  7:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bryan1315 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I either use a dremel or this


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 Posted 07/13/2011  10:31 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Buy the coin not the holder, amirite?
You are right.
Jbuck! ... Coin Collector since 1978 ... Learn more about my current avatar and my previous one.

Did you know that our members sell on eBay? Click Here to see CCF member eBay Sales!

Did you know that there is a better way to search eBay for the coins you want? Click Here for the CCF eBay Search Engine!
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 Posted 07/14/2011  12:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Freedom to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My dealer removed mine for free. Of course I have spent half of my kids inheritance at his shop. LOL
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