News Article

WARNING: The Desire for Old Holdered Certified Coins

By Warren Mills

There are many collectors that just want old small blue and old green holders from PCGS, or old fatty holders from NGC.  Nothing wrong with that at all!  I understand the desire for seemingly strictly graded early certified coins, or the thoughts about potential future upgrades.  However, I must warn our enthusiasts that these holders can be traps too!  Keep in mind, there have been advancements in the field that may lead you to purchase an inferior coin instead of a superior one!  Feel free to re-read my spring edition of The Enthusiast, regarding the grading advancements made for correctly identifying Proof-Like and DMP/L Morgan Dollars.  An old holdered coin that looks P/L may be that way from a repolished die and is not a true P/L piece.
There are many other things that grading has made advances with in the last 20 plus years too!  One important thing to look for is the large amount of older holdered coins that have developed PVC.  Keep in mind, as much as a coin may look under-graded, the creeping cloud of PVC can mute that coin over continued years of storage.  We’ve seen hundreds of older holdered coins this year, and about half of them had varying degrees of PVC.  In most cases, the solution is that the coin can always be taken out of the holder and have the PVC removed.  It won’t work every time, but either way, there goes the old holder.
Another thing, is that coin doctors have been playing their craft for decades and there are older holdered coins that have had putty added to them, spots ground off of them, even spooning on Standing Liberty Quarters.  Do you remember spooning on Standing Liberty Quarters?  I still see the odd older holder Standing Liberty Quarter that had the leg friction tampered with by tapping the leg to give the friction a uniform color.  This was a major problem for the grading services and many pieces were compromised.  Not to mention the horrid danger that existed with lasering proof gold coins!  The creator of that nightmare is still in business, and doing business with an affluent clientele.  The temptation of money brings out the worst in most people and coin dealers are no exception. 
These are just a few of the old mine fields.  Thankfully, the grading services have done a good job of eventually sorting out those problems, but there are many pieces out there in these old holders.  Be careful, I don’t know why people buy expensive coins without CAC verification, because CAC is also very good at detecting these problems.  Enjoy your collection, but the next time you are offered an old holdered coin, be careful!