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Have TPG's Ruined Coin Collecting? This Morning I'm Thinking Yes!

 
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 Posted 09/28/2021  10:17 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add KauaiHawaiiGuy to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
It's just my opinion of course and I'm sure many will disagree, but it seems to me that with the onset of serious grading TPG's, the entire hobby has changed from looking for and collecting coins to looking for and collecting slabs of plastic with a coin inside.

They say "buy the coin and not the holder", and yet the hobby seems to have very much become buy the holder if it's one of the big two. Of course I understand that many other small collectables have gone in that same direction, comics and sports cards are a couple of examples. In a way, stamp collectors are lucky, TPG encapsulation has not completely taken over their hobby yet.

And I do get it about how TPG grades and certifications have taken the worry out of buying a coin, but I guess I'm just being nostalgic, remembering when I was young and searching through change and and coin shops and where ever I could, trying to find something special. It's too easy today. Any yahoo with deep pockets can be an instant slab collector.

And that's where my head is this rainy morning at 7:00 Am.
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 Posted 09/28/2021  10:22 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add halfamind to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Can I be on the fence? I like the simplicity of collecting w/o slabs. But counterfeiting has proliferated to the point you like to make sure what you're buying or selling is genuine.
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 Posted 09/28/2021  11:26 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add russell1256 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I collect to fill my albums, so I crack out slabbed coins. I rely on slabbed for authenticity of the coin.
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 Posted 09/28/2021  11:31 am  Show Profile   Check GrapeCollects's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GrapeCollects to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
There are obvious advantages and disadvantages. It makes buying online, which is what most people do, a lot safer.
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 Posted 09/28/2021  11:46 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add NumisEd to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The more fakes, the more people rely on TPG.
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 Posted 09/28/2021  12:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
To me you have to go with the flow, especially with pricier stuff. Tough to get fair money for an expensive coin in the raw.
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 Posted 09/28/2021  1:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bust10cent to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Up until my retirement I was collecting more expensive coins over 600.00 in all slabs with very little raw buying. Most of my certified is cac. Now I have a lower monthly budget and have gravitated to primarily raw. I have several sets ongoing such as buff nickels, large cents, cwt / store cards and more. It is a refreshing change. I'm with Coinfrog - go with the flow!
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 Posted 09/28/2021  1:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think you've summed up the advantages and disadvantages nicely. I definitely have mixed feelings about it, and only purchased my first slabbed coin about 9 years ago. However, as my collection has advanced I now primarily purchase only PCGS/NGC slabbed coins. Worry about high-quality fakes is my primary reason, but I also feel a bit better knowing that when I'm gone it should be a bit easier process for my heirs (none of whom are collectors) to dispose of my collection.

You mention the well-used phrase "buy the coin and not the holder"; while I know many don't necessarily follow that practice, I do believe that the majority of experienced collectors rely heavily on their personal opinions on grade and eye appeal when buying a coin, with the grade on the slab being a fairly minor consideration. Looking at the sometimes significant spread in auction hammer prices for different examples of the same coin with the same TPG grade is somewhat indicative of that. So, the "thrill of the hunt" for just the right coin is still there, in my opinion...
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 Posted 09/28/2021  3:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
One opinion from a former member who has passed on - listed by Bobby as a good read:
http://goccf.com/t/130186

TPGs killed the value of the coins themselves unless the coins are keys to a series. So yes - absolutely they killed off an aspect of the hobby.

EACH coin used to be valued comparatively to each other in a series. If the mintage and MM was lower than another, then obviously there were not as many out there and so each little pice of history had its own relative historic value reflected in the cost.

It was fun to find a lower mintage piece knowing they were more "special." A coin with an S mint mark, even after 1964, was seen as more rare and a very fun/good thing to find b/c of such low mintages compared to the other mints.

A set of, say Mercury dimes, was seen as something a lot more special than it is today. Completing finding all those coins with a mindset of knowing some were more difficult than others was a lot different than the nowadays mindset of the set being a few keys and a bunch of equally-valued junk silver dimes.

As a bit of fairness though...before the internet and being able to buy a complete collection of Mercury dimes online at any time, there was no way to tell just how many of the more scarce, but not key dimes or semi-key dimes per date/MM were still available.


Quote:
And I do get it about how TPG grades and certifications have taken the worry out of buying a coin

I don't! When doing the homework, you can find out there are a lot of people who have thought this very thing and been taken for thousands.

Read the No FG farce in my signature. Its a real eye opener about the lack of expertise these companies have using their own website data/links/pictures/and sold prices where people have spent thousands on a slabbed No FG where the letters are right there in plain sight. I have to wonder what other areas of the hobby this has happened in as well.

Plus the reality is the graders (two by the way is typical as in the PCGS documentation, not three like is generally thought - some interesting wording choices from PCGS make it sound like 3 all the time) are human beings who sit there for 8 hours a day grading coins.

This likely is why the same coin can be re-slabbed at a different grade of cracked out and resubmitted. plus, since there is no actual verifiable science behind the grade they assign, there will always be a variance.

No, when people are buying an MS65 slabbed coin, they are not getting anything truly verifiable for their money (since that grade can change if/when resubmitted). The entire system rests upon the faith people put into the companies.

I am NOT saying people are foolish/dumb/etc. (or anything else negative) for having fun collecting slabs. Hobbies are not about logic, they are about enjoyment. I can understand how people can have fun with things like registry sets as well...the hunt is always a large part of the fun.

I am saying that when I first started doing some heavy homework into these companies (10 years ago now!) that I found an awful lot of hype vs. reality, and a lot of error vs. alleged expertise. And, as shown in the paper I mentioned in my signature, this has really cost some of the faithful thousands for common coins. That fact of fellow collectors losing money on something that SHOULD be living up to its advertised reputation is something that bothers people like me.

http://goccf.com/t/346174


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 Posted 09/29/2021  09:09 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ballyhoo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I feel you. I began sometime in 1975-76 and only ANACS existed, and little known because I don't believe they pushed the service as evident of those today. Largely by the speculators during the commodity boom in the eighties which saw the rise of both NGC and PCGS. While I buy primarily in the raw for the pure collecting and enjoyment of it, not to count on it as a retirement hedge, I have and do buy an encapsulated coin from time to time. Further, the only series run intended with grading exclusively is the Australian Wedge-tailed Silver Eagle in a perfect 70 grade on all three options. But keeping to my mindset, there are both NGC and PCGS slabs with varying labels since I buy them at the lowest possible cost per coin not the same grader/label. The sole reason for this series is to assemble it for my 16 year old niece who collects world coinage.
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Edited by Ballyhoo
09/29/2021 09:11 am
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 Posted 09/29/2021  09:15 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add KauaiHawaiiGuy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
TPGs killed the value of the coins themselves unless the coins are keys to a series. So yes - absolutely they killed off an aspect of the hobby


Earle42 ....... thank you, I enjoyed what you wrote and the link to Bobby131313's post was a good read.

Perhaps both you and Bobby and some of the others that chimed in are correct, that TPG's didn't ruin coin collecting, but they certainly changed it. How can a TPG slabbed 1880-O Morgan dollar be worth $550 in MS-63 and $125,000 in MS-66? Are they basing that MS-66 price because that's what people are willing to pay, or are people paying that amount because that's where the TPG's are pricing their slabbed product?

Even though I lament the advent of corporate America entering what used to be just a hobby for many people, it's nice to know that your "hobby's" value, considering what you may have spent on it is increasing rather than decreasing. On the other hand, if your hobby has become too much about it's worth measured in dollars, then you may have lost site of why you ever even started this "coin collecting hobby" in the first place.

I suppose that the way I really think of it is that there is a certain level of innocence that most fledgling hobbyists have, and that innocence equates to fun, and it doesn't matter if your hobby is coin collecting or Beanie Babies, once you have crossed a certain line as to your expenditures on your hobby, then you've lost some of that innocence, and it seems that TPG's have furthered along and accelerated that "loss of innocence" in the hobby by establishing grades and values for their plastic products that is to cast in stone, and that has too many collectors seeing their hobby almost like a business investment rather than the hobby I think it once was. At least that's how I see it, and it's probably become obvious that my nostalgia for more innocent times is peeking through my scribbles.
Edited by KauaiHawaiiGuy
09/29/2021 11:47 am
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 Posted 09/29/2021  10:44 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add OldSilverDollar to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
While I do like graded coins my thoughts have wondered lately why PCGS & NGC are not only grading coins but selling them as well as PCGS own legends auction house and that seems a conflict of interest to me.

I also believe both PCGS & NGC is behind the recent big price surge as everyone quotes the prices they recommend
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 Posted 09/29/2021  11:53 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Safaga to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting reads. As a world collector, I'm not caught up in the US slab hype and the continual breakdown into smaller intervals of the numerical grading continuum.

However, I do see a use for the TPGs: certainly because of the prevalence of counterfeits and secondly, to establish some certainty for my heirs on the value of certain coins. Thus I have started to submit some to the TPGs.
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 Posted 09/29/2021  12:01 pm  Show Profile   Check Collects82's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Collects82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'd agree with the "changed" statement.

The resulting populations reports, although imperfect, have brought transparency to what coins are actually rare and crème of the crop. I am OK with certain coins loosing value because they aren't as rare as once thought and the actual keys and rarities gaining value. While I know I have to take NGC/PGCS pricing with a grain of salt, its a great starting place of knowledge to make some better informed buys.

The timing of the TPGs along with the internet and eBay is interesting for similar reasons. It didn't take too many years in the 1990s for a buyer to access a nation or world's inventory for options.

I think the internet and TPGs have probably brought a lot of coin's values more in line with what maybe they should be. More information and more options is a great thing for buyers. If that means that values have come down, maybe the problem was something about the past system rather than TPGs ruining it.

Like other's have said, I do think that there are fewer collectors who can grade on their own as well as a previous generations; that the new age of collecting doesn't involve scrutinizing and learning as much about the details of a coin. Obviously that isn't a step forward for the hobby. For a lot of us in the hobby, I think the knowledge we gained is greater than the coins themselves, so its hard to see personal knowledge declining; that hurts the soul.

My buying includes raw and slabbed coins. I do try to provide my own final layer of analysis. I ask myself about the eye appeal regardless of the grade. I try to question the grade and ask if I personally agree. I try, but my record isn't 100%.

- As a disclaimer, should I spend my money to slab, I'm the guy who waits for the appropriate ANACS special to roll around. I just sent in some Buffalos this week that I had bought raw over the last year. I hope that most come back as MS62-64, but I wouldn't be shocked by a couple AU-58 in the lot, which I'll chalk up to my learning experiences as I get deeper into the series. I'm excited to see how my thoughts compare with "the pros."

- Disclaimer pt 2. For the slabbed coins I've bought, its a fairly even split between NGC and PCGS with a few ANACS. They say buy the coin and not the label, so I don't feel I need to focus on one TPGs slabs should I like the coin itself.
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 Posted 09/29/2021  12:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Earle42 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
How can a TPG slabbed 1880-O Morgan dollar be worth $550 in MS-63 and $125,000 in MS-66? Are they basing that MS-66 price because that's what people are willing to pay, or are people paying that amount because that's where the TPG's are pricing their slabbed product?


I do not believe the companies set the prices.

I do think they keep percentages of how many of a certain grade they will asign.

I know their registry set concept was a genius idea that accomplished:
1. Driving up the price of the higher marked coins (despite them being cracked out and resubmitted never guarantees that same dollar-value high grade).
2. Brought in profits b/c more people want to pay to try for that money level grade.
3. It means more people with coins that COULD make it that high can gamble and resubmit more to see if they get "lucky."

BTW - this is what a business does nowadays. The collectors involved in it get the thrill of the gamble. But like a rigged roulette wheel, if the companies deliberately keep high grades assigned to a percentage (I have some pretty good data showing it highly probable with ASE monster boxes...only) then I see it as a dishonest practice. But there currently is no proof this happens. The more I research though, the more I do admit I would not be surprised b/c of the other "gray area" practices I have found.



Quote:
it's nice to know that your "hobby's" value, considering what you may have spent on it is increasing rather than decreasing.

Admittedly, I am waiting for a Beanie Baby style crash. Why?
1. If enough people find out they have been taken for thousands (or even a couple hundred) on a common face value coin b/c it was "professionally labeled" as such, people could, rightly so, become angry (I suspect the companies know the "Emperor's New Clothes" effect is something that stops some of this form happening to any great degree).
2. We are in an age where people are more and more detail oriented and want reliability/validity to a level even to modern tech. This means the companies need to start scientifically grading instead of new lesser system of opinionated grading. BTW - when the companies were marketing the idea of computer grading (scientific) in the 90's, THEY are the ones who said it was a more accurate system. I can easily see one of them finally deciding its time to stop milking the public for everything they can on the way they grade now and marketing the idea of how they have now developed a scientific system...how in the world can people sleep at night knowing their MS66 Morgan is "REALLY" MS66 or not? We will re-evaluate your old slab and give a scientifically verifiable grade for only $$$$$$!
Marketing has been known to do these things in the past. I think what has stopped them, since the tech was marketed in the 90s and our computers nowadays in our pockets make their mainframes of the 90s look like an abacus, is the re-slabbbing game would come to a halt and so would, therefore, profits.

I personally think the now two-generations-ago iPhone has the capacity to be programmed to repeatedly grade the same coin the same way all the time even when viewed at slightly different angles. No worry about glare when it sees the coin since it uses infra red with 30,000 data points for instantaneous facial recognition. 30,000 data points on a coin with an algorithm for determining surface wear, damage etc, would likely be a whole lot more than we can ID by eye.



Quote:
At least that's how I see it, and it's probably become obvious that my nostalgia for more innocent times is peeking through my scribbles.

Reality is always going to be reality no matter how the books get rewritten. There always has been that mass of society who never take things like this into consideration as well as those (seemingly fewer) who do.

Unfortunately it usually turns up our systems are formed to make the masses happy who are either legitimately ignorant to what they have (have never experience and is) lost, or have been trained to believe (typically by indirect marketing/peer pressure) what they have is better (whether it is or not). Both my grandfathers being debt free and owning- paid off their own homes and owned two cars by the age of 35...neither having 4 years of college... tells of a much greater way of life and economy that has been lost

...but...but...we have cell phones!

Oh Yeah...thanks.
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