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Grading Service - What is a Coin Grading Service?

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This coin has been encapsulated in a slab by the NGC grading service.

This coin has been encapsulated in a slab by the NGC grading service.

Photo courtesy of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).
Definition: A grading service is an objective third party company that grades a coin according to recognized industry standards, and then encapsulates the coin, along with an insert describing the coin's grade. Grading services are said to belong to one of three tiers, based on the market's perception of their reliability.
  • Top tier grading services are PCGS and NGC, and they represent the "gold standard" in coin grading.


  • Services generally recognized to be in the second tier are ANACS and ICG, and represent reliable authentication but looser grading standards.


  • Third tier services are considered to be generally unreliable and inconsistent, and include just about everybody else who offers a slabbing service, including SEGS, SGS, PCI, NTC, ASA, etc.
See also:
Why We Need a Five Tier System for Ranking Grading Services

Examples:
Although ANACS was the first-ever coin grading service, it has since changed hands many times.

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