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Tyranny of the hole vs. Tyranny of the slab.

FrankHFrankH Posts: 700 ✭✭✭✭✭

When I started collecting seriously, I gradually began to consider albums as creating a... "tyranny of the hole."
IOW.... The empty holes in the pages stared at me in a veiled threat to force me to FILL them. ;)

Which I did. Okay, I caved in to my own theory.

NOW....there seems to be developing a .... "tyranny of the SLAB !" :o

No matter what.... it's not in the RIGHT slab.
So fellow collectors, what do you think?
Have you felt this same way yourself? >:)


  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,033 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 6, 2023 10:03AM

    I gave up worrying about holes I could not fill many years ago. Over time I acquired the resources to fill more of them than I ever imagined.

    As for the slab, I buy NGC and PCGS slabs almost exclusively for U.S. coins. I actually prefer to have my British, Imperial Roman, and tokens and medals raw. More and more tokens and medals are ending up in slabs. I don't care for that, but I have to go with the flow. If I want the piece, I'll buy it.

    As for crossovers between services, I never do it. I did crack-outs for higher grades when I was dealer.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • Manifest_DestinyManifest_Destiny Posts: 1,844 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I had my completed seated quarter collection in a Dansco. I started slabbing them to make it easier for my kids to inherit. I like old school collecting the best though - no slabs. But it's been fun building them in to a registry set.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 30,360 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 6, 2023 3:53PM

    I gave up on bith a long time ago. I prefer type collecting. I don't care if my coins are slabbed or raw or whose slab. It's very liberating. If you like it, buy it. If you don't like it, don't buy it. IT is always the same, regardless of holes or slab.

    [Unless you collect holes or slabs. In that case, have at IT. ]

  • The_Dinosaur_ManThe_Dinosaur_Man Posts: 744 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Just my personal opinion, but slabs really should be useful only coins you really wouldn't put into an album. I still like collecting the way I got started with raw coins. For me there is a better joy to holding a coin than a plastic case.

    Custom album maker and numismatic photographer, see my portfolio here: (http://www.donahuenumismatics.com/).

  • 124Spider124Spider Posts: 644 ✭✭✭✭✭

    OP, I think your "issues" are quite common.

    For me, the first step was filling all the holes. I did that, eventually (well, except I don't have a 1916 standing Liberty quarter or an 1893-S Morgan dollar, since I'm not willing to spend as much on either as it would cost to get a reasonably nice-looking copy; but most of my sets are complete).

    Filling those holes inevitably resulted in a few slabs. So the next decision was what to do about the slots for which I had a coin, but it was slabbed. The answer to that was to fill the hole with the same-sized coin, from a different series. So, for instance, I got common-date, slider-BU peace Dollars to fill the Morgan holes; 1964 JFK halves to fill the walker holes, etc. And I reject the idea that, just because Whitman said so, I have to get an 1895 Morgan, or have a hole, so I put an old British half-penny in that slot, to signify that it ain't going to be filled because I make my rules for a set, not Whitman. :smiley:

    But, inevitably, came the urge to upgrade. So that caused more holes, formerly filled with the right coin, to be filled with place-holders (because I don't buy expensive coins raw). Not a big deal, but not ideal, since the original purpose of upgrading was because I found many well-worn coins to be unattractive (and mixing types is not as attractive, to me, as a uniform set, especially when there are a lot of interlopers).

    Then came my decision to start a "box of 20," which has become a great quest to find very interesting coins. And shown me that the eternal upgrade cycle is silly, since I enjoy a really interesting, sometimes historic, coin much more than a higher-grade replacement for a coin I already have.

    I think that the only thing that really "ends" is the money to buy the coins we want. Or life, eventually. :wink:

  • erscoloerscolo Posts: 353 ✭✭✭✭

    As for slabs, I buy the coin. I have a mix of PCGS and NGC graded Lincoln Cents from 1930 to date, with a few "holes" to fill. The slabs are easy to store and the mint state and proof cents are well protected. So my holes are empty slots in some of the 12 slab boxes of 20 each I have for the mint state coins and another 7 for the proof coins.

  • messydeskmessydesk Posts: 19,466 ✭✭✭✭✭

    To me, "tyranny of the slab" means that a coin is being held hostage by the plastic it's in and becomes uncollectible as a coin.

  • Pnies20Pnies20 Posts: 1,862 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 7, 2023 6:34AM


    BHNC Associate member #AN-07 … 88 and counting.

  • telephoto1telephoto1 Posts: 4,638 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @messydesk said:
    To me, "tyranny of the slab" means that a coin is being held hostage by the plastic it's in and becomes uncollectible as a coin.

    I think in the case of end of the road overgrades this take is spot on. You can't liberate it from the plastic without losing value (and anyone with grading knowledge won't buy it). So it's stuck in the holder. Seen plenty of these out there.

    RIP Mom- 1932-2012
  • CryptoCrypto Posts: 3,119 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Collectors are as drawn to the thrill of acquisition maybe more than accumulation. The trigger to look may change but it always pushing you toward one more.

  • TrampTramp Posts: 614 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I too like the way I started decades ago but I've just kept the higher valued ones in their holders and plugged the Dansco holes with a paper "Holdered" sign.

    My next set might be all PCGS holdered Lincoln cents but for now I've got a completed Dansco MS64RD / RB (w/one exception) and another set that's targeting XF-AU in BN unless I just happen to have an extra UNC red laying around.

    Feed the tyranny! Lol

    USAF (Ret.) 1985 - 2005. E-4B Aircraft Maintenance Crew Chief and Contracting Officer.
    My current Registry sets:
    ✓ Everyman Mint State Carson City Morgan Dollars (1878 – 1893)
    ✓ Everyman Mint State Lincoln Cents (1909 – 1958)
    ✓ Morgan Dollar GSA Hoard (1879 – 1891)

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Neither the tyranny of the hole, nor the slab, has ever ruled my collecting. When I did a series (years ago), such as the CC Morgans, I just purchased ones I liked - either raw (GSA cases) or slabbed. I collect coins, coins I like and attract my attention. So, perhaps I am ruled by the tyranny of coins. ;):D Cheers, RickO

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