1. Home

Grading Service Rankings in Five Tiers

By June 13, 2007

Follow me on:

The coin collecting hobby has been using a three tier ranking system to categorize grading services for a long time now. Most collectors are familiar with the term "top tier grading services" (which include NGC and PCGS.) The second tier is usually said to consist of ANACS and ICG. The third tier covers all the rest.

The problem is that "all the rest" comprises a wide diversity of companies and guarantees, as well as many different motives for doing the coin grading. For example, there is a whole category of major dealers who do their own slabbing. These dealers grade more or less consistently, guarantee that the coins are genuine, and offer some kind of (usually short term) guarantee. Contrast this type of slabber with someone like SGS (Star Grading Service,) which is widely reviled as the worst of the worst. SGS only issues 11 grades, MS-60 through MS-70, no matter how bad the coin is! A coin that was sent to them as a test coin came back (graded PR-70) with a big fingerprint added to it! SGS is frequently cited as the culprit when complaints about graded coin value fraud come in. Is it really fair to rank SGS "equally" with, say, PCI, which has been around for awhile but just doesn't grade as consistently as others?

I have created a proposal for a five tier ranking system for grading services in an attempt to remedy these inconsistencies. The first and second tier are unchanged. The third tier carries some of the "better" of the rest of the companies. The fourth tier is for self-slabbing dealers who meet certain conditions regarding buyer recourse and guarantees. And the fifth tier is called the "bottom tier," so that we can finally put grading disservices like SGS in their place! For such a system to gain widespread acceptance, it must have a consensus among the members of our hobby. What do you think about this proposed five tier system? Share your thoughts by clicking on "Comments" below.

Comments

June 13, 2007 at 6:44 am
(1) me says:

i’ve been a collector for quite a while not in just coins but other items all so. Evaluating an item (grading) and then possesing(at a resonable and personable cost) Was and should always be a process that is decided between seller and buyer only. Since they are the only parties involved.

June 13, 2007 at 9:38 am
(2) John says:

Great idea! Go with it.

June 13, 2007 at 9:41 am
(3) gdnp says:

I think such a system would be of great value to the consumer. What would be particularly useful would be information on specific lower tier grading companies. For example, centsles is a major dealer on ebay, having a feedback rating of 30191 and 750 items currently for sale. Many of his coins are “certified” by NNC. I have never seen NNC certified coins sold by any other dealer, and thus have speculated that this company might be owned by centsles. That being said, the one coin I purchased that was graded by them appeared to be fairly though not particularly conservatively graded. Just to have a relatively up-to-date list of grading companies would be useful.

June 13, 2007 at 10:18 am
(4) Terry says:

Sounds like a great idea Susan. Believe it or not I do rank some of the self slabbers even below SGS! All are equally fith tier though. How about a poll vote here on the rankings?

June 13, 2007 at 10:21 am
(5) craig says:

This sounds like a great idea. I’ve never had anything graded or bought graded, but in the event that I would want to get something graded, I would want as much information as possible, especially on the lower tiers.

June 13, 2007 at 4:03 pm
(6) Tbird says:

If the point is to educate the beginner buying public, then it maybe a good thing. But five tiers is a little much though. I’ve normally considered the top three to be PCGS, NGC, and ANACS in that order. Which for now is all a beginner needs to know until he gets comfortable at grading. PCI, SEGS, ICG, have all had their point in time where they holdered conservatively, and some nice buys can be found if enough are searched, but that is for the more edumacated amongst us in the game. The rest are, and should be, considered a purchase of a raw coin in a protective holder, nothing more. Three tiers is enough, its getting the word out that counts.

June 21, 2007 at 12:20 am
(7) Sam says:

Great idea!! However, “grading company” such as SGS should not be listed at all since SGS is nothing but fraud.

June 21, 2007 at 10:31 pm
(8) Ray Esposito says:

Susan – I would consider just four “tiers”, taking ANACS and ICG as Tier One and eliminating Tier Two as you have them listed one after another. I do not know if I can illustrate it but allow me to try.

You begin with Tier One, then you have space, space, space, space, space, Tier Two, space, space, space, Tier Three, space, Tier Four. What this says is that Tier One is not only composed of the best in quality, they are five times as good as Tier Two. It also says the bottom two must be crap because they are so close to each other but far away from the top tier.

I also disagree with not giving the bottom tier the title Fourth Tier. It is always possible that a service can work its way up and if nothing else, we need to show consistancy.

I would also like to comment on selling coins from bottom tier companies – I received 5 beautiful Sacawagea’s (this can also properly be spelled Sacajawea) graded 70. I was thrilled until I decided to read more about Stars and decided to stop ordering or biding on anything graded by them if grading is a major consideration. If I wanted the coin however then I would have it graded by one of the Tier One graders.

My position on limiting grading to four tiers and including ICG and ANACS in the first. Why?

Some of the loudest arguements I have gotten into concern grading and which one to used. I just think the four I put on Tier One are so close they should be together.

Watch the tv coin sellers for awhile. Shop at Home is ALWAYS pushing NCG but CSN is ALWAYS pushing ICG. Treasure Hunter pushes anything that will get a sale as do most of the other TV coin programs. Does that mean Shop at Home is better than CSN because they are part of a major playere? Or should we listen to CSN because they know something we do not?

I would also like to tackle – at another time – the question of why do the big sellers push one grader over another. It costs me $30 but if these sellers are having tens of thousands graded are they paying $30? Of course not. It would not surprise me – since they do not disclose the info – if they are paying no more than a couple of bucks. If NCG charged me just a few bucks – and they did a good job, do not think for a second I would not be on the roof shouting their name and sending them as much business as possible.

Sorry for the length but it is an important subject and I would like to hear your opinions. Susan started something. Let all of us continue.

You can see that tbird and I disagree but only mildly. I disagree with Sam. If they advertise themselves as a grading service they should be listed. Get enough comments and perhaps they could become a better company. And do not forget, if they are NOT listed then new collectors or even many old timers who know little about grading have no where to look for info. I would rather they all be listed and let the collector or dealer make up their own minds.

As to gdnp you are correct. NNC stands for National Numismatic Certification.

Finally, also to gdnp a list of most all of the grading companies are listed. I got my list from the internet but cannot remember where but the gentleman who went to all the trouble to gather the info get coodos from me. He even goes so far as to tell you which online companies are using these made up names but selling only their own coins. Susan, are you familiar with this person?

If gdnp would give me a snail mail address I will send you a copy. I will also try to find the list again and if successful I will let everyone know.

Finally, again, I am not the usual coin dealer or collector. I do not fall into any category actually. All sales by my company are given to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and three small organizations doing good things for our service men and women, especially overseas. It is because of this that I am careful who I buy from or sell to. Grading tiers are important to this process and if I can give away a few thousand extra dollars by using credible graders, that is what I want to do.

Okay folks – let the yelling begin. :-) )
Cheers and sorry for the typos.
Ray Esposito
Alpine, Texas

June 22, 2007 at 1:21 am
(9) Ray says:

I am a novice coin collector having purchased 18 Silver Eagle Proof coins over the past 3 months. One of the coins is a 2007 PR70 CAM Proof graded by SGS and purchased for $24.02 (thought I made a good buy at that price considering that the same coin graded by other services such as NGC were selling for $50.00 and more).
I was getting ready to purchase another coin graded by SGS until I read the comments about this grading service in the article. I believe that a 5 tier system for ranking coin grading services is a excellent idea!

June 22, 2007 at 10:36 am
(10) Susan Headley says:

Ray E. (and others who have shared ideas whom I haven’t had a chance to respond personally to yet),

Thank you for your thoughtful and thought-provoking comments regarding the proposed 5-tier ranking system for grading services. I’ve had half a dozen really well-considered responses and am considering forming an informal working group to try to arrive at a consensus on how many tiers to have and how to define them. Then, we’ll post a public survey listing all of the known grading services and let everyone who cares to vote to rank the services into the tiers. Periodically, we can re-survey so that companies who have improved (or gone down the tubes) can be reranked as appropriate.

I do have the list you are referring to. It was originally posted to the eBay Coin Forgery discussion group (which has sort of become the watchdog group for all types of fraud in the coins categories on eBay.) Here’s the link to the thread (you’ll need to be signed in to eBay to see it, I think. You might even have to join the group):

http://groups.ebay.com/thread.jspa?forumID=100037392&threadID=1600474046&start=0&tstart=0

I have an updated version of this with additional information on it. When we’re ready to publish the survey, we can get the latest version from this wonderful person going by the name of i-hate-slabs who is really the prime mover behind all of this (and not me, I just wrote the little proposal, heh.)

I plan to give this another week to 10 days for more ideas to come in, and then we’ll organize the informal working group. Anybody else who wants to help, please let me know! I’ll contact everyone around July 1 or so.

Susan

August 22, 2007 at 8:32 pm
(11) Justin says:

I believe you are being way too harsh with this five tier system. Calling the 5th tier the “bottom scum” degrades a lot of reputable coin collectors. Not only that, but any collector is bound to trade or sell a coin at one time or another and will likely have applied a personal, subjective grade to that coin. Having done so makes that collector “scum” by your standards.

Everybody knows that coins are graded based on emotional attraction. Let’s do away with these faulty grading services and substitute them with services that only authenticate what type a coin is. Leave the grading the the owner of the piece!

September 5, 2007 at 5:49 pm
(12) Cecil Beavers says:

I just finished reading three of your articles about coin grading services and was I surprised. I know about PCGS & NGC and have a lot of coins graded by them. I was unaware about about other rading svs. I just purchased a small lot of certified coins graded by INB but before buying I checked the grading service he uses, IBN, so I wasn’t taken in by knowing what I was buying wasn’t worth the price that the seller was quoting. I just collect and don’t sell coins so I wasn’t concerned about INB services. I totally agree with you on having a five tier listing of coin grading services. It would go a long way for helping new collector’s from being taken by these seller’s who always have one or more lots of coins from an “estate” for sale. Yes, a five tier system would be very helpful for consumers. eBay should have this five tier system (or three tier) placed on their site map for Coins, US so that people will know about these services before buying.

September 5, 2007 at 11:39 pm
(13) Susan Headley says:

Justin,

I am grateful to you for pointing out my inappropriate use of the word “scum.” This is, indeed, an ugly and strong word, and it doesn’t belong in this article. As you probably surmised, the subject of grading service abuses is one that I have strong feelings about, and I got a little carried away when I wrote about the “bottom tier.”

I reread the rest of the article, and I don’t agree that my wording gives the impression that the collectors who own “bottom tier” slabs are in any way at fault, or scammers. I guess it would be up to a person’s individual sense of ethics whether he tried to pass off a misgraded coin on someone else or not, but the fact that a collector is unfortunate enough to end up with one of these slabs doesn’t make him a bad person, and I don’t think my article implies that.

Based on your feedback, I replaced the word “scum” with something less inflammatory. I always appreciate thoughtful, constructive criticism and I appreciate your taking the time to provide some.

Susan Headley
About.com Guide to Coins

October 7, 2007 at 1:40 pm
(14) JD says:

All I can say as a newbie collector is that “good judgement from experience…and most of that come from bad judgement”. I place most of the blame on SGS for calling itself a “grading service”. I will not remove the slab from my Ebay purchase because that would be destroying evidence that I’m sure will part of some sort of “Action”. The biggest problem with SGS is EBay. It is not only in bed with SGS with the listing fees they collect but the coin selling rules are BS and won’t stop even one listing from this Service. On the positive side-SGS does have nice holders.

November 2, 2007 at 11:10 pm
(15) andyb says:

i ve collected coins off and on since 59. i would think that to get control over the fake coins that are out there a 5 tier service would be well received. i would ask who makes the call as to who goes in what tier

December 25, 2007 at 8:33 pm
(16) JDB says:

Hello everybody!
I have a question for specialists.. What do you prefer?
A very antique coin graded PCGS Xf 40 or the same coin graded ICG AU 55?

Best Regards!!

December 25, 2007 at 11:51 pm
(17) Al Babich says:

I don’t disagree that there are some really bad graders out there but I would not bet the ranch on PCGS or NGC either. They have many conflicts of interest – heavily dealer oriented. The Dealers and NGC, PCGS have a love fest going on and trying to exclude or squeeze out any other players in the grading market. Unfortunately it does not matter what you think when trying to sell a coin. The same grade displayed on the holder might be a better coin slabbed in a PCI holder than a PCGS holder but that would not matter. The reality is you would get far less froma dealer in the PCI slab. There is no honesty in coins – I have decided to get out of collecting all together because in my view the playing field is rigged against the collector.

April 25, 2008 at 2:47 pm
(18) perry harris says:

the grading issue is completely out of hand.last year i wrote a letter to the editor of coin world complaining about the ANA and its lovefest with ngc and pcgs.
I have a lot of coins that i have collected many in segs holders some in nnc,some ntc and anacs and icg along with many ngc and pcgs. with the political games and comraderie enjoyed by the “top tier” grading companies and the ANA and EBAY. it is apparent to me that my coins(as nice as they may be)are not good investments unless they are in the top tier holders.
as an example EBAY in its infinite wisdom has decided that they will only let you display information for (4) grading companies. pcgs,ngc,anacs and icg. SO if i want to sell a few of my segs graded coins im at a disadvantage and that leads to less value of these segs coins.the problem is this. people are actually buying the holder and not the coin within it even if the risk is less if you have pcgs or ngc
here is a breif illustrationto think about. i recently purchased a 2006 reverse prove silver eagle ms-70 NGC at a price of $600 several weeks later I purchased another sreverse proof ms-70 in an ICG holder for $360. smae coin just as nice no spots,blems or defects.
to me it’s a good deal but i know why i got such a good deal on the icg, it wont trade as well in it’s present holder not only that but if you look at what sgs has in their holder you may find that they are exactly the same in grade but discounted because of the holder.I raelize that sgs does overgrade to the nth degree.it should be the coin itself that tells the story.
I happen to like SEGS because i do think they grade fair and i think ICG has been more than conservative with some of the coins i sent in to them. I do realize the value of of the top tier graded coins but c’mon people this is all about politics, big dealers,ebay and MONEY
thaks for the opportunity to rant

July 31, 2008 at 3:11 pm
(19) john keeler says:

Long time Morgan col. Bought MS-68 early Frisco other day graded by SGS (for grins). Placed bid 15 percent below CDN MS-60 and won. Whoopie, right-wrong. The coin was strongly struck MS(64-65), but had been lightly whizzed. How could they miss that. Rank them lower, they are adversely affecting the unknowledgeable/beginning collector. collector.

July 31, 2008 at 3:18 pm
(20) john keeler says:

For what its worth, I believe ICG should be elevated to “tier One”. I believe they are more conservatiove than NGC and that’s what we need today in the grade-inflated market. Given time, I believe they will meet or exceed PCGS/NGC approval ratings as seen in CDN. Heck they already are almost even with NGC.

December 26, 2008 at 9:57 am
(21) Jeff Jarrett says:

I’m a collector, not a seller. I collect for the joy, not for investment; I base my purchase decisions on eye appeal. Never the less I don’t want to feel taken advantage of by paying too much for an over graded coin. Your article has helped educate me, ant that’s most important. a five tier system will add little to my comfort without an umbiased way for someone (who?)to decide into which tier a grading service is placed.

January 1, 2009 at 5:32 am
(22) coinycom says:

Hi folks! What all grading services need to do is take out the subjectivity. Regardless of how many graders a coin passes through their hands. The final grader has the last say on the grade of the coin. So in repect to all coin graders, there should be an automatic chart to go by, that passes muster with the coin being graded. A comparison chart with pictures to compare the coin against to help take some of the subjectivity out of the grading process. That should help alot with the novice collector coming into the hobby, as well as the seasoned hobbiest, to have charts along with the numbering system in use now. This would help take the mystery out of the grading process and lay it at every ones disposal. This way te buyer can be the subjective eye. The graders can stick to their grading business. Leave being subjective to someone else. I think this type of new standard grading would help the hobby imensley. It would help keep down playing favorites in the field. And an even brak to all tiers of graders, as long a they follow the charts, and comparison pictures. That should put every one in lock step, and keep favoritizum out of the grading equassion.

coiny

January 1, 2009 at 9:06 am
(23) txcoinlover says:

I’m a rookie and I enjoy the hunt, the surprise, all of it. I am very much an amateur in a hobby that has so much that can be learned. I love the history lessons that can be learned along the way while appreciating the beauty of 20 different colors of brown on 20 different pennies//silver on dimes etc. My concern is for the newest and those who have not yet been bit by the bug that they will get bogged down in all the b.s. they read and hear about the grading etc (that and the b.s they hear, see, buy on the shopping channels) and will either never get involved or will just get started and give up. That being said, here goes….

Before you look at further complicating the grading system with more ‘tiers’ I think you first need to look at why “grading services” were established. PCGS has some great propaganda on their website about their altruistic concern for the victimization of the buyer and for the ‘potential’ of the industry. While I believe that there may have been some truth to these thoughts, let’s face it…. this was a group of people who had spent a lifetime in the business and saw a way to create a new cottage industry within the existing coin collecting world and thus MAKE MONEY. I’m all for capitalism and applaud their entreprenuerial spirit and it could have been something that both made them money and helped the coin collecing industry. Unfortunately those that were in it first did not solve the problem, the next in followed the same lead and the consumer was lost in the “market share/growth/stock value/bottom line” topics that are a company. The dollars took over the goal of providing a service for the consumer. Nothing wrong with making a buck but they didn’t further their own industry if they didn’t resolve the initial problem that got them into the grading service business…the subjective difference and what it might cost the consumer and how they were going to stop that. And ultimately all our “heroes” did was shift the issue from the hands of the dealer to the hands of the GRADER and did not save our buyer from the problem presented when a coin has a vastly different value between grades of MS64 and MS65 as indicated in their example which you can read in the second PCGS paragraph below.

My problem with all of these expensive grading processes is that the subjectivity has still not been removed and I do not believe it can be removed. I believe that these companies can make money and offer services that help the consumer. They can AUTHENTICATE and after that the subjective decisions should be left between the buyer and seller. All the rest of this has just increased the cost for collectors and indeed the “grades” on slabbed coins today are very much weighted and valued by the name of the grading service on the slab.

As to how many ‘tiers’ there are for the grading companies… I don’t think it really matters. You can call a Zebra a Giraffe but it will still be a Zebra. You can call a CZ a “colorless gemstone” and that still does not make it a diamond. You can say any one of these companies is on any of these tiers and that will not change who they are in the marketplace.

Only the market, the consumer (made of ALL the collectors whether they are dealer, investor, expert, rookie, etc) can determine what will happen with these companies and with this money driven rating system that has many coins rated and valued inappropriately. Within this existing system these “off the mark” gradings are made far more often and at a much higher financial risk to the consumer by PCGS and NGC than by the quote bottom feeder or whatever you want to call some small self serving petty thief on ebay. The day the market does finally correct itself, and whether sooner or later it is a day that will come, there will be some folks that will feel the loss in a big way.

A side note to all of this is that their greed has been showing for a while. For private collectors who sell into the open market (not talking transactions w/dealers @ value pxing) it is absolute “requirement” for grading in order realize a decent price, competing with dealers and auction houses to sell them (often an auction house that is selling your coins), dealers and auction houses that pay pennies to your dollars for this grading “SERVICE” that is overpriced to begin with, the PCGS/NGC “monopoly” on the market for the higher value that their name gives to a coin can’t afford to use anacs etc if high value coin….. but again, eventually the seller/consumer will say enough and “risk” anacs etc, or will deal direct w/ each other and sell RAW! And bring back some joy in the process. Don’t you miss HOLDING a coin?

(the following text is copied directly from the website at http://www.pcgs.com From their home page click on “The Importance of Grading” which is the first in their ‘how we came to be’ story. On this first page they talk about the Sheldon Scale as something that collectors agreed upon but that they found to still be too subjective.

(in the following, the use of italics and underlining for emphasis are mine)

The Beginning of the Rare Coin Revolution – In 1985, a small group of the nation’s leading rare coin experts recognized that in order for the rare coin industry to realize its potential, several serious problems needed to be addressed. Market participants soon became aware that one of the fundamental factors in determining rare coin values is the physical condition, or grade, of the coin.

….They learned that a coin graded Mint State 65, for example, may have market value many times greater than the same coin graded Mint State 64 — although the difference in an MS65 coin and an MS64 coin may be virtually undetectable to the untrained eye. A coin sold by one dealer as an MS65 may be sold by another dealer as an MS64 (or less). In some cases a coin buyer could be victimized by product misrepresentation. In other cases, he was caught in the middle of a dilemma of wide ranging definitions due to the absence of a true standard. In other situations, they were simply caught in the middle of divergent definitions, due to the absence of a universal standard.

The PCGS Solution – Industry leaders were deeply concerned that without standardized grading the rare coin industry could face major problems. Over the course of many months of meetings, the blueprint for the Professional Coin Grading Service evolved. The advent of the third-party appraisal of a coin’s physical condition, backed by a guarantee, and a national network of reputable coin dealers could provide an extremely reliable form of protection for rare coin consumers. PCGS would create a climate in which consumers could participate in the coin market with greater confidence. The concept would revolutionize the rare coin industry.

———————————–

REALIZING THAT THIS IS LONG WINDED AND THANKING YOU FOR LISTENING TO ME….
I HAVE ONE FINAL NOTE THAT IS SOMETHING I NEED TO SAY FOR MYSELF AS A BEGINNER AND I BEG YOUR INDULGENCE….

I may be a beginner but I have read voraciously about coins. I have asked many questions and listened to many who have years and years in coins. I have spent time quietly perusing/studying coins in dealers shops and just listening to the conversations that take place around me so that I could learn from those transactions. I made it a point to make the small purchases I could afford from my local dealers (big believer in supporting local small biz in all industry) to not only support their business and my habit but to help establish bond between us.

Please remember that though I may be new and you may have 25, 35 or more years in the trade…. I ask that you PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE

Do not treat me like a child as I am obviously a grown person. And although I will defer to your expertise, I will speak up when I know something to be true.
Do not dismiss me just because I am not spending a lot of money right now…you never know what the future holds and besides your regular customers that spend smaller amounts but keep showing up are the bread and butter of your business.
Do not assume that your observation is always correct over mine. I am able to read, to see, to recall, to reason and you are capable of error.
Do not assume I am not speaking of you right now. (This has happened in some of the most established shops and with some of the most reputable auction houses, with people who are usually very nice and would not even believe it of themselves)

April 1, 2009 at 12:31 pm
(24) Eugene Walton says:

ANACS as of right now 4/1/09 Is the most Conservative grader of MORGAN dollars, I have Been buying ANACS slabs And having them re graded by PCGS. they almost always up grade. I can`t speak for yesteryear. But for now there are deals to be made on ANACS yellow slabbed coins

July 20, 2009 at 12:25 pm
(25) DAVID MEREDITH says:

I think its a great idea, i am new to this but was learning. Learning enough to know that a MS70 coin was supposed to be perfect. I purchased 20 presidential dollars from a company called ABON. These coins we said to be graded by SGS as MS70. These coinswere so bad they all contained scratches and surface nicks clearly visible to anyone. I bought coins graded as such that were NGC and PCGS AND WERE INDEED PERFECT. Had i know about this tier system it would have saved me wasting money on JUNK graded by SGS.

September 4, 2009 at 12:13 pm
(26) buck50 says:

Susan, I genuinely enjoy your articles and respect your opinions regarding coins and coin collecting/investing. I recently ‘won’ an auction on ebay that consisted of 3 “perfect MS70′ Lincoln cents (1946 PDS)- a nice matched set, so I thought. Fortunately, I spent less than $10 to learn a very valuable lesson about grading services and slabbed coins. The coins were graded by SGS and I must say that I have never seen uncirculated pennies that looked quite like these…dull and almost a matte finish but reasonably sharp (MS60-63?)strikes. This experience tweaked my interest in differential grading to the point that I purchased 7 1955-S Lincolns (since they are pretty cheap) each coin from a different grading service (5) or dealer-graded (2) as MS-66. What an education! I totally agree with your assessment of the grading service debacle and will personally only purchase ‘slabbed’ coins from the ‘Tier 1′ group you identified (PCGS and NGC). Perhaps in your quest to rectify this grading service dis-service you may want to do something similar to prove your point…good luck and please keep us informed.

December 20, 2009 at 2:58 pm
(27) john roche says:

Susan
There are many folks who have 3rd tier graded coins and in clever ways try to elevate thier questionable reputation for self serving reasons/motives. The motive is simple MONEY!! 3rd tier services deliberately overgrade to attract the unscrupulous dealers who hope to defraud the trusting newbe to our hobby. Granted some are better/worse than others in the 3rd tier. A few of the close but no cigar services are: NTC,SEGS,PCI which no longer exist like ICG who are employed by ANACS currently. Although the above are far better than SGS,HCGS,NNC,ANI etc. these slabs sell for a small fraction of thier IMPLIED value by the grade printed on the slab.Keep this in mind BEFORE you spend!!! As it is,there are only 3 grading services,PCGS, NGC,and sometimes ANACS. The latters grading standards are similar to PCGS and NGC but thier slabs sell for considerably less.As for the rest of 3rd party services, thumbs way down with questionable motives with a true spirit of fraud and misrepresentation.

December 20, 2009 at 3:13 pm
(28) john roche says:

A few more points. Beware of suggestions that encourage you to “buy the coin not the holder”. This is sound advice but should apply ONLY to top tier slabs and sometimes ANACS/ ICG. 3rd tier slabs are easily counterfieted!!! Ive seen so many 3rd tier slabs and i am polite about refusing to buy any of them.I often say ive never heard of this company. 3rdly, coin doctors LOVE 3rd tier slabbers!!! So many obviously cleaned and recolored,repaired,corroded,scratched works of art are currently in 3rd tier slabs. Another good reason to ignore ALL 3rd teir companies. None of the above is my opinion only.This is widely known among dealers and experienced collectors. Beware of ANYONE who tries to elevate these criminal intent services!!

February 4, 2010 at 6:57 am
(29) Doc. says:

PCGS and NGC both touch coins without gloves. Once a coin is touch by human hands it can no longer be grade as a 70. There is no way. The perfection of the the coin is gone. I have e-mail both with no response. Asking them to ensure me my coins will be graded by graders with gloves on. When they become so big that the customers product is not #1 on their priorities. The system you propose fails

February 6, 2010 at 1:13 am
(30) john roche says:

DOC Niether PCGS or NGC will negotiate with any submitter. The graders NEVER know whos coins they’re grading. Having seen PCGS and NGC and ANACS grading procedures in video,i’m sure they dont handle coins without gloves. Its a statistical fact that most surviving coins are NOT worth the cost of certification.Many dealers who scoff at top tier graders have mostly junk for sale and top tiers wont help them unfairly inflate thier value with undeserved grades. Such unscrupulous folks turn to bottom tier slabbers who in some cases likely dont even look at the coins! Coin doctors LOVE bottom tier slabbers like NNC whos slabs have many coins turning out to be cleaned or conserved in some way. WORTHLESS!

February 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm
(31) john roche says:

Recently heard a very good parallel. Our adversarial judicial system along side true 3rd PARTY grading services. In our judicial system, great lengths are taken to ensure an unbiased jury!!!! Especially in civil cases.PCGS, NGC and ANACS/ICG are true nuetral 3rd party services as a jury should be. They have no knowledge of whos coins they’re grading,have no stock or inventory to protect(for 1 example) the famous 1933 St. Gaudens coin that sold for $8 million+!!! Imagine your the owner of this coin. Then imagine your a PCGS grader. Then realize grading the 5 others that surfaced soon after as genuine and equal in grade. OOOOFF!!! My 8 mil coin will be worth less than 1 mil !!!(theoretically). I’d better downgrade these coins to protect my significant investment!!!!!!This will happen with grading services who grade thier own investments! This is not allowed in true 3rd party services such as NGC, PCGS and ANACS/ICG. I know this is an old article but some will see it and understand there is more than “grading standards” involved !!! I hope Susan would e-mail me so we can chat. I know so few girl collectors.

May 3, 2010 at 1:06 am
(32) Jim M says:

I think scammers should be in a separate tier from small dealers.

Also, ICG definitely overgrades. I got a roll of 2 GW dollars MS 63 and since I’d not paid much opened it. Even I, a very inexperienced grader, could tell a few coins were not MS63.

May 6, 2010 at 10:28 pm
(33) john roche says:

Yes Jim M. Scammers should be in a seperate tier. A seperate tier in prison. Without Govt intervention with universal grading standards with better tamper evident holders together with enforcible law,scammers,crooks and the like will live with impunity. The govt has bigger fish to fry. Ive personally held in my hand what looks like fake PCGS and NGC holders !! Anything that can be abused will be.

June 27, 2010 at 8:57 pm
(34) Tom Kuligowski says:

I fully agree with the teir system. The second teir however should actually be empty. ICG and ANACS have had numerous in house problems; starting with management changes and philosophy and trying to get out of the so called weeds. I have obtained numerous ANACS Silver eagles that are far from MS65 let alone the MS70 grade they are given. The material used to slab their product is inferior in that numerous cracks appear in just a very short period of time – eventually damaging the coin itself. They seem to have agreed to a deal with the numis network where Numis themselves will sell very over graded coins as PERFECT. As long as there are beginners and people collecting and not paying attention – these companies will be around taking advantage of the situation. Good luck with your proposal.

September 13, 2010 at 5:48 am
(35) Tim says:

They have different grading services because some services with grade you culls/cleaned coins but others would not.

November 21, 2010 at 11:57 pm
(36) CombatVet says:

I just sent this message to SGS:

Dear aboncom, I made this purchase for a reason: 270662276485 – I am a Gulf War combat veteran and the owner/operator of the largest, single military unit, web site on the Internet. I’ve received complaints about your business from fellow veterans. So, I checked out you and your fraudulent “3rd Party” grading service. Placing the comment “We believe the coins should be/or are graded properly” does not alleviate responsibility for purchases made by others in good faith. Be forewarned: I am going to send the slabs to NGC to be re-graded. If the coins do not come back graded as you have claimed, the veterans and myself, will take this public through a class-action suit. BTW: PCGS has offered to pay the legal fees. In short, whatever you ship better meet standards. Don’t screw veterans, public opinion is on our side!

I don’t care what SGS thinks, but we are not joking about the class-action suit.

November 26, 2010 at 8:32 pm
(37) Les B. says:

I like your idea however, I have been purchasing SGC coins for gifts and I must say they appear to be trying. Nice looking coins although they are graded higher than they really are. Price is acceptable for the novice collector. Of course NGC and PCGS are tier one but I would not count out SGC. They could become legit if they try a little harder and gain respect with true collectors. Will be interesting to watch the outcome.

November 28, 2010 at 8:09 pm
(38) chappy says:

I would find such a listing very helpful.

While in Saudi Arabia during the original Gulf War in ’91, one of my soldiers wanted to borrow $200 from me to buy a coin from a street vendor. He took me to see it and it was a Walking liberty with a mint date of 1776 it also had a mint stamp for New Orleans.

I looked the coin over really close, and there was no sign of reworking, and what ever it’s original date, if not altered would have graded very high,

I pointed out that we were not making that style coin in that time era, and that we did not even officially have a New Orleans Mint because we had not purchased the Louisiana lands. This coin had a COA from someplace I have to this day not run across again.

Bottom line, collectors, especially new ones need to be able to find out who to trust and who to take with a grain of salt.
I have started collecting after retiring for medical reasons, and it is a steep learning curve to say the least.

By the way he had already borrowed $800 to go with my $200.

Leave a Comment


Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.