Michael Bugeja

Online Coin Auctions

Michael Bugeja

Michael Bugeja, a coin collector since childhood, is a professor at Iowa State University and also a former member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. He is a nationally known author, journalist and educator.

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Vintage Holders Sell for Thousands Online

Two of the most coveted vintage holders were auctioned  this weekend  on  Great Collections  and  eBay for a combined $7,189.99. The coins inside were worth less than $200.

A 1946-D Half Dollar, graded MS65 in a vintage black NGC holder, sold for $3,740 (with buyer’s premium) on Great Collections. There were 56 bids.

A "Sample" Regency PCGS holder with an uncirculated 1879-S Morgan Dollar sold for $3,449.99 on eBay. There were 34 bids

The original NGC Black Slab was introduced in 1987, the year the company was founded.  (The company reintroduced a retro Black Slab in 2012 to celebrate its 25th Anniversary.)

There are an estimated 35 to 200 of these original holders in individual collections. They rarely come on the market, and when they do, they go for exorbitant prices.  

The Sample Regency slab was offered by Michael Kittle Coins. Kittle, a well-known numismatist who won the ANA Presidential Award in 2014, offered the rare holder through his eBay store.

Kittle believes the PCGS Regency Sample Slab is unknown to collectors.

“This was just a lucky find at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Anaheim and was being sold by the dealer who had it made back in the 1990s,” Kittle stated. “When I put it in my case at that show, I immediately received several offers for the coin, and it got lots of attention.  Because I knew that no Regency sample had been known up until then, I really did not know what a fair retail price for the coin was.  And with so much interest in the piece I figured auctioning it would be the fairest thing to do for all involved.”

Hours before the eBay auction ended, Kittle thought the coin would sell for at least $1,500. “How much higher than that would be just a wild guess,” he said, noting that NGC vintage Black Slabs sell for $3000 to $4000 with common coins in them. 

Kittle added that collectors can usually find one of the NGC Black Slabs a few times each year. His PCGS Regency Sample Holder may be the first one offered in 20-plus years.

The Regency holder is one of the oddest slabs ever produced, and is not immediately recognizable as a PCGS product.

The holder measures about 5 inches by 3 inches in the middle, narrowing at the top and bottom. As an added attraction, the holder originally came with an emerald green drawstring pouch with a PCGS gold logo.

“I’m not sure this one ever came with one of the green bags that typically came with the PCGS Regency Holders,” Kittle stated. “This ‘Sample’ version was made by one of the founding members of PCGS who worked with (PCGS founder) David Hall to get it made up at the time.”

PCGS Sample Slabs are highly collectible. More than 120 sample slabs were on display earlier this year at the Florida United Numismatists convention and at the Long Beach Expo.

You can visit Sampleslabs.com if interested in viewing some promotional holders over the years for NGC, PCGS and other companies. 

A more complete catalog of holders can be found in David Schwager’s Sample Slabs. The book has detailed listings for 760 sample and related coin and currency holders. The 620-page catalog is available as a printed softcover or as a PDF and includes more than 900 photographs. See Schwager's website for ordering details.

You also can find more about the NGC Black Slab and the PCGS Regency holder in my 2013 Coin World article