A few months ago a rep from Heritage Auctions
provided a presentations on the state of collectibles with an emphasis on coins to our coin club. One bit of information reiterates what has been written already: Heritage
will assess a collection worth in total at least $5,000 with individual items worth at minimum $150. This is why most collectors suggest slabbing a coin worth $150 or more.
I think you should have a trusted professional assess your collection before slabbing anything. There may be a fee but as your acquisitions are Lincoln cents and are well-known among most auction houses and there doesn't seem to be anything that has an obvious worth well above $1,000, you are likely not to face a high fee for this service. Furthermore your posts suggest you are grading based on your own eye and experience. I would revisit your cents and compare the ones you think are high grade with those shown on online auctions, PCGS
photograder site and ANA
grading guides. Also anything with a strong strike even in a lower grade will do better on the market than a coin with a weak strike and high grade. However, this does not hold true if the coin with a weak strike is scarcer or rarer than the one with a strong strike. A good example of this is to compare a 1919S Walking Liberty with a !946 Philly Walking Liberty half dollar
. The difference in strike is dramatic, but the 1919S will always be much more expensive than the 1946 due to the modest mintage and very low survival rate as well as this issue being notorious for weak strikes making it much scarcer/rare than the 46. Another comparison is a 1940S with a decent strike with a 1939 Walking Liberty half dollar
at the same grade, the 1940S will be more expensive one. 1940S WLBs are notorious for having very weak strikes but the mintages and survival rate is only slightly lower than the 39. But 1940S with a decent strike are much scarcer than 39's with a good strike. The 1939 Philly was well struck and quite affordable except in the very highest grades.
Also interesting point about having a collection with a uniformity of grade. TO me this means if you can get the affordable ones in Mid MS while key or semi-key in high XF- Au then high XF to mid MS would be the broadest range recommended with a preference for Au 55 - MS66 best. Eye appeal (which includes the strength of the strike) play an important role in valuation would be the widest span recommended. I think they all should have some eye appeal --- even an XF coin can still have enough eye appeal to have it be attractive. THink of the difference between say a high AU Shield Reverse Lincoln cent versus a Memorial Reverse cent from the early 1970's --- usually due to the higher relief and good strike they are more sought after than the very low relief Shield reverse cents which are prone to get covered in hairlines from use and even in MS state black spots from the minting process.
As for the slabs making it easier for your heirs to sell the coins, that is not guaranteed. One still has to understand the grading code and comments (for example before I got into numismatics, if I saw a slab with AU 55, Details that would have been a mystery).
Which brings me back to my suggestion to first have your collection assessed and, in my opinion, slab those cents that would be worth over $500 on the market if you feel thge need to do this.