“Buy the holder, not the coin” trumpeted the front cover of Coin World’s April 2019 monthly edition, advertising a feature which elaborated on the value of some third-party grading (TPG) holders and inverting the traditional recommendation to “buy the coin, not the holder.” Since the advent of third-party grading from the 1970s through late 1980s a dizzying array of holders and holder-based products have been offered. While most collectors have a service they favor, particular holders from all services are collectible, in some cases worth more than their guarantee of authenticity and assigned grade, or even the coin they protect. As part of our series of Collectors Choice Online auctions, Stack’s Bowers Galleries regularly presents special “Old Holder” auctions, the most recent of which was on Wednesday, November 16.
“Slabs” have evolved quite a bit in the last half century, providing interested collectors with large possible sets. Some collectors put together type sets of holders, rather than coins. Some colorful nicknames like “rattlers,” “soapboxes,” “fatties,” and (pejoratively) “plastic tombs/coffins” proliferate, indentifying specific types. Some types of early holders, like NGC Black Holders or PCGS’ Regency holders are significant rarities, while other less rare old holders add charm and historic appeal.
“Old Green Holders” is an umbrella term which refers to a range of slabs with green labels used by PCGS from 1989 to 1998. “Rattler” refers to three specific series used by PCGS from 1986 to 1989. “Soapboxes” are ANACS holders, while “fatty” refers to slabs used by NGC from the late 1980s to mid-1990s. Coin World’s Editor-at-Large Steve Roach offered this succinct summary of the appeal of old holders in a 2016 article: “As documentary evidence of a point-in-time in our hobby, their value is undeniable.”
Stack’s Bowers Galleries has been offering Old Holder CCO sales since 2020, and typically they feature holders from different services and eras of TPG history. Check out the results from our November 16, 2022 event.
For more information on the sale or to consign to an upcoming auction, call 800-458-4646 or email [email protected].