There is little value in slabbing your coins until you are close to the
point of selling them. Grading services change over time, particularly with
respect to each other, so you increase your risks associated with such
changes by slabbing too early. But if you're close to selling, here's the
economics of slabbing:
Slabbing has positive value where a buyer significantly reduces his/her loss
if a coin turns out to be worth less than estimated, or a seller
significantly reduces his/her loss if a coin turns out to be worth more than
estimated. Since coin values increase (geometrically) with grade, this means
slabbing increases the certainty that the grade of the coin is as purported
by the other party. The formula for making this decision is as follows:
Value of Certification = [(Change in Value if Wrong) x (% Likelihood of
Being Wrong)] minus (All-In Cost of Certification)
Thus, slabbing is worth more to less knowledgeable buyers/sellers (such as
yourself). It is also worth more where "price curves are steep" (where one
or two grade points makes a large difference in the value of the coin).
Finally, the lower the slabbing costs the better; if you submit multiple
coins, you can get lower mailing/insurance/etc. costs. On this last point,
however, I absolutely do not mean that you should use the grading service
with the lowest fees. Some grading services (ACG, NTC, and PCI in
particular) have reputations for assigning very wrong grades very often;
whatever you might save on the Cost of Certification, you will likely give
up on the % Likelihood and Change in Value parts of the equation.
For the coin you pictured (I recall it was an 1893-P $10, roughly EF/AU.)
I'm not real knowledgeable in this series, which may help illustrate the
point--let's say I think there's a 50% chance it's really MS60, in which
case the change in value would only be about $25--a fairly "flat" price
curve. Applying the equation, the Value of Certification would be negative
$12.50: (50% times $25, less about $25 for slabbing, shipping and
Hope this helps!
> I have a few coins, and I wonder whether I should bother sending them
> to one of the coin grading services. In particular, what if I want to
> sell them one day? Does it really make a big difference?
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