US Coins

The curious MS-65 1837 dime in an NGC black holder

Selecting the monthly market analysis topic can sometimes be a challenge because just a single coin can be illustrated and this one coin has to be representative of a broader market lesson.

Thankfully, this month’s pictured coin has a lot going for it in terms of both its educational potential and its eye appeal.

It’s an 1837 Seated Liberty, No Stars dime in a black Numismatic Guaranty Corp. holder with a gold Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker.  

The “NGC 1.0 Original Black Holder” dates back to 1987 and roughly 30 are known today. 

NGC originally put its grade insert on the back of the slab, as on this piece, but quickly shifted and placed the label on the slab’s front, corresponding with the coin’s obverse. Any NGC black slab from 1987 is a rarity, and an enthusiastic collector base of people collect these encapsulations. 

It’s also unusual in having a CAC gold sticker. CAC founder John Albanese describes the infrequently seen gold sticker as identifying a coin that could “easily green sticker at the next highest grade level.”

Typically, the gold sticker is seen on common coins, as most exceptional coins are sent to grading services for regrading in an attempt to get a higher grade and boost a coin’s market value. 

It’s virtually unheard of to find a piece of this high quality in a very early slab, and buyers are willing to pay a premium. 

This one was offered at an April 25, 2013, Heritage auction where it sold for $17,625. 

For comparison, on April 28, 2013, Heritage sold a different example of the coin, graded NGC MS-65, for $4,406.25, and on Nov. 29, 2012, Heritage sold one graded NGC MS-67 for $18,800. Neither was in a black slab.

How much of the increased value can be attributed to the slab and how much is due to the coin’s quality is a matter of educated guesswork. Perhaps one buyer viewed this coin as a potential MS-67 example, or alternately, he or she was willing to pay a huge premium on a coin that is virtually unique in its NGC black slab. 

The same piece is currently being offered by Coin Rarities Online for $25,000. The firm’s description aptly describes the handsomely toned dime, writing, “A superb über-gem example with lustrous original surfaces, lovely blue, rose and golden toning and i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e eye appeal.”

So, this one coin serves as a reminder of the experimentation that accompanied the early years of third-party grading services, showcases a rarely seen CAC gold sticker, teaches a lesson on coin valuation, and reminds readers to look beyond auctions when looking to add coins to their collections.

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