As collector interest in early holder coins continues to surge, Heritage has introduced its popular series of Showcase Auctions for U.S. Coins in Early Holders – every coin in those sales is an early holder coin! Early holder coins offer an additional element of interest and focus for numismatists. This article provides specific examples of early holder coins and discusses why they appeal to collectors.
Preview the Elusive NGC Black Holder and Other Early Coin Holders. Browse, bid, or track the 1924 $20 NGC “Black Holder” coin shown above. Browse all items, and see the most active and most popular lots in the December 5, 2022 “Early Holder” Showcase Auction.
Significantly, Heritage Auctions is offering a 1924 $20 Saint-Gaudens coin in a seldom-seen and highly desirable NGC Black Holder. This “Rare First-Generation Black Holder” is Lot # 92580 in our December 5, 2022 Showcase Auction, and as the description explains,
“. . . this piece stands apart from its peers, housed in a first-generation prototype black NGC holder, produced only for a short period in late 1987. At least a few thousand coins of various denominations and dates are believed to have been slabbed in these holders, but most have long since been broken out. As few as 30 or perhaps a few more still exist, holding their original coins. This holder carries a green CAC label, indicating high quality for the double eagle within, which shows luminous, frosty peach-gold luster and minimal abrasions.”
The broad interest in this lot is confirmed by the tremendous number of views, and many bids, the coin quickly generated.
WHAT IS THE COVETED NGC “BLACK HOLDER”?
NGC’s website identifies its iconic “Black Holder” as the first holder used by NGC, described simply as: “The Original Holder” and “A stunning, distinctive display.” Collectors seem to agree, judging by the extraordinary interest aroused when an NGC Black Holder comes to market. Given this popularity, NGC celebrated its 25th anniversary by introducing a limited-edition “Retro Holder” to commemorate its original Black Holder, with NGC’s webpage showing an image of the Retro Holder and the same original Black Holder 1924 $20 coin offered above by Heritage.
WHY ARE “EARLY HOLDER” CERTIFIED COINS SO POPULAR?
In our auctions, coins housed in early generation PCGS and NGC holders often command heightened interest and bidding. Collectors have different reasons for pursuing early holder coins. Some collectors, for example, simply prefer a particular holder style or design, and therefore seek out such coins. Other collectors may appreciate the nostalgia associated with early holders, which serve as a reminder of the past. Early holder coins are historical markers, reflecting a point in time many years ago when a particular coin was certified and encapsulated.
In some cases, collectors may assume that early holder coins are conservatively graded or “premium quality” for the assigned grade. Similarly, some collectors may believe that grading services applied stricter grading standards during the early days of certification. Coin grading, however, is a nuanced affair involving many factors. Collectors should not make grading assumptions based solely on a coin’s holder. Instead, as the wise adage in coin collecting suggests, evaluate the coin regardless of the holder.
THE EVOLUTION OF PCGS AND NGC COIN HOLDERS
Third-party coin grading has become increasingly important as collectors value the benefits of purchasing professionally authenticated and graded coins. Coins certified by PCGS and NGC have proved to be especially popular with many collectors. PCGS’s website states that it “launched operations on February 3, 1986,” and NGC’s website states that “NGC was established in 1987 and has been dedicated to certifying coins, tokens and medals for over 32 years.”
Since their inception, PCGS and NGC continuously have revised their holders, thus introducing new holder versions to replace prior holder designs. Although collectors may debate exactly which holders constitute “early holders”, a general consensus exists that at least the earliest holder generations used by PCGS and NGC qualify as early holder coins. Examples of these early holders are shown below.
PCGS EARLY HOLDER COINS — EXAMPLES
The PCGS website includes a “Museum of Coin Holders” showing images of each type of PCGS coin holder. This visual history displays the evolution of the PCGS holder and 25 different holder versions defined as Generation 1.0 through Generation 6.1S.
In 1986, PCGS initially used white labels in its holders for a brief time period, before adopting the green labels used until September 1998. The different holder generations used during this early period are generally regarded as early holders, including the so-called “rattler” (the name arose because coins in those holders may move slightly and “rattle” within the holder). PCGS discontinued the “Rattler” holder in September 1989 in favor of the “Doily” holder used briefly in late 1989 (PCGS characterizes this holder as “Very Scarce”). Next, PCGS adopted holder variations with other “green labels” – these holders are sometimes referred to as “Old Green Holders (OGH)” coins. All of these early PCGS holders are among the types that Heritage Auctions includes in its “Early Holder” Showcase auctions.
Example of a PCGS “Rattler” holder coin in a Heritage auction:
Example of a PCGS “Doily” holder coin in a Heritage auction:
Example of a PCGS “Green Label” (also known as “Old Green Holder” or “OGH”) coin in a Heritage auction:
NGC EARLY HOLDER COINS — EXAMPLES
Like PCGS, NGC has introduced a variety of different coin holders since the company started grading coins. NGC’s website shows the evolution of its coin holders introduced over the years, including images of NGC holder types:
Examples of NGC “early holder” coins include holders with white paper labels, holders with no front bar code (some of which include a gold NGC logo on the back), and holders with an NGC hologram logo. While collectors may prefer one type over another, and may consider additional varieties to also qualify as old holders, at least the above examples are generally regarded as NGC “early holder” coins.
Example of an NGC “White Label” coin in a Heritage auction:
Example of an NGC “No Front Bar Code” coin in a Heritage auction:
Example of an NGC “Hologram Logo” coin in a Heritage auction
Don’t miss the 2022 December 5 U.S. Coins in Early Holders Showcase Auction #60289
CHECK HERITAGE’S COIN AUCTIONS REGULARLY TO FIND MANY EARLY HOLDER COINS
Check the Coins Auction Calendar with Consignment Cutoff Dates
An early holder is likely to remain a factor when many collectors evaluate and purchase rare coins, so it is helpful to understand the evolution of coin grading and the various holder generations. Heritage offers early holder coins not only in its Showcase Auctions that exclusively feature those coins, but in its other auctions as well (for example, Signature Auctions, Select Auctions, and other venues). Collectors should regularly check all of Heritage’s numismatic auctions, therefore, to find many desirable U.S. and world coins in early holders – happy hunting!
Learn More About Coin Collecting
Subscribe to Newsletter
Get collecting news, auction recaps, and sneak previews when you subscribe to the Heritage Auctions Coin Collecting newsletter.
View Coin Value Guides
Protect your investment. Download a free copy of The Collector’s Handbook – your definitive guide for documenting and safeguarding your collection.
Ready to Sell Your Coins?
Get a Free Auction Evaluation for Rare Coins – Generous Cash Advances Available
Leave a Comment