Greetings Members & Friends!

Should I collect raw coins or should I focus on graded and authenticated (PCGS, NGC, ANACS) encapsulated coins? This is a question most of us will face at some point in time. Raw coins can be most worthy if the dealer selling them has no idea about grading, errors, or special characteristics such as hub doubling or cameo contrast. A raw coin can be most risky if it is over-graded, has an altered surface, is heavily cleaned, or has hairlines which are not readily noticed.

Just over the last 12 years, since I re-entered the hobby I have seen at coin shows the division of raw coins to graded and encapsulated coins go from approximately 70% raw/30% graded to a paradyme shift 30% raw/70% graded. What does this tell us? It could be a number of things….first of all it could be good marketing by the coin grading services for which an entire extremely profitable business has grown. And, secondly it could also be the great acceptance of the buying public on graded coins and the reliance that the coins are genuine as well as the grade stated on the label.

I believe we have seen a great increase in coin collecting/investing over the last 12 to 15 years and that most newer collectors do not possess or resist the study and time needed to accurately grade raw coins, so the shift to acquiring professionally graded coins. No one likes discovering at a later time that they overpaid for a coin or taking at face value a dealers’ judgement of what the grade of a raw coin may or may not be.

I have seen raw coins, at coin shows, with grades written on the cardboard 2 x 2s or plastic flips of MS 63, 64 and even 65 when in my judgement these coins were at best AU 58. Diplomatically I would discuss my grading view of the coin with the dealer and point out such characteristics such as rubbing (cabinet or otherwise), hairlines in the fields, spotting, as well as damaged rims. Remember, a coin has three sides ie; obverse, reverse, and the rim. So, which should we choose….graded or raw coins? This depends on your acquired skill, knowledge, and experience of grading raw coins. This does not come quickly or easily…it must be acquired over time.

Don’t forget our Annual Summer Club BBQ on Saturday July 13th.

Our next Board meeting is Sunday, September 15th at noon at the Safeway in Alamo. (< click for map)

Kind Regards,