Grading Services for the Amateur Collector

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by pghpanthers2, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. pghpanthers2

    pghpanthers2 Resurgent Collector

    I am interested in sending 5 or so coins in for professional grading for the first time. Based on some quick research, it seems that ANACS is the most affordable for small volume, one-time submissions. Would you agree that the case?

    I know where ANACS typically falls among the "top 3" (last) but I am really just interested in having my coins authenticated and graded, not reselling. PCGS seems really expensive, and honestly I am not sure how I see some lower value coins in PCGS slabs. Doesn't seem to make much sense unless there are substantial volume discounts.
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  3. mlov43

    mlov43 주화 수집가 Supporter

  4. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    ICG is a good company. Check out their rates.
    Insider likes this.
  5. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    You'll get a wide range of opinions on this.

    Anacs is considered #3 on the Grading list (PCGS/NGC, then Anacs, then ICG). They do have some affordable specials (as low as $8-$10 per coin....although that sometimes requires sending a few more coins-usually 8-15).

    Sending a few coins to Anacs might be a decent way to get a feel for grading (they are also known as the company that will attribute more VAMS for Morgans and are the go-to grader for Dan Carr pieces). However, I will warn that they have seemed to be fairly conservative on some coins (there have been a few threads on this lately) in the past 1-2 years.
  6. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    Anacs may be the cheapest, and they're fine for authentication.

    AVOID ICG. They are worthless.

    If there is a chance that you or your heirs will sell them, I'd consider NGC or PCGS. Both are more expensive than ANACS, but both are also more highly regarded.

    All three will do a fine job of authentication, but the grades are more consistently accurate with NGC and PCGS. The guarantees are also stronger - which means their coins sell for more.
    Paul M. likes this.
  7. McBlzr

    McBlzr Sr Professional Collector

    Would you mind telling us the coins & dates you want to submit ?

    I have read that a ANA membership lets you submit to NGC.
    Another member may have details.

    I already have a NGC membership.
    mac266 likes this.
  8. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    @physics-fan3.14 just wondering why you think ICG is worthless? Are they letting through a lot of counterfeits or has something serious happened lately? From what I have seen, while #4, ICG still is fine for authentication and can get the grade right.

    Plus you might inflame @Insider with your talk :p
    Stevearino and Insider like this.
  9. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    Yes ANA members can submit to NGC:
  10. steve.e

    steve.e Cherry picker

    Can you post ypur coins here? We may be able to offer the information you seek.
    Stevearino likes this.
  11. pghpanthers2

    pghpanthers2 Resurgent Collector

    Just some common date indian head gold (including a quarter eagle, which is why I want it authenticated).
  12. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    ICG is too inconsistent. ICG used to be reputable enough that I wouldn't argue too much, but a few years ago they were sold. Ever since then, their grading has gone to crap. You just can't rely on them. Sometimes they might get it right, but not often enough to make it worth it. They've got some great people working for them (such as Skip Fazzari, who gives amazing lectures at FUN and other events, and is an expert in detecting counterfeit coins), but the overall product just isn't worth it.

    ICG and ANACS were sold around the same time, and in my opinion they have been equally unreliable since then. ANACS used to be reputable, as did ICG. However, I would not recommend anyone send their coins to either of these companies today.

    Insider and I disagree quite often, as you might have noticed. Insider has a lot of experience, and knows an awful lot about the business, but he and I have quite a different perspective on things. I respect that, as long as the conversations remain civil and productive.
    Stevearino, paddyman98, dwhiz and 3 others like this.
  13. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD Supporter! Supporter

    I would imagine the issue is more with the company’s grading standards...not the graders themselves. They can hire the best in the business but if ownership wants them to use certain standards then that’s what they have to do.
  14. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    Fair enough @physics-fan3.14
    I have never used ICG, but I did use Anacs a couple of times in the last few years. Most of the coins that I sent came back around what I'd expect. I agree that Anacs and ICG are generally less consistent, but I would also add that PCGS/NGC have been doing some odd grading lately too.

    In the case of @pghpanthers2 I do see the dilemma. If the gold coins are common grades and grade below MS 63, sending them to NGC or PCGS would most likely be a waste (as the fee would not be recovered on resale). Anacs might be an ok choice for verifying authenticity. Showing them to a reliable coin store (or even posting pictures here) might help as well (in order to avoid grading costs).
  15. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    Could you explain this sentence?
  16. pghpanthers2

    pghpanthers2 Resurgent Collector

    I could always take them to a coin shop and ask what they would buy them for and suddenly have a "change in heart". If they offer a real value, they are most likely authentic! :happy::happy:
  17. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I have been reading multiple reports of coins receiving lower grades than expected (compared to last year) and even downgrading. PCGS also had a stretch where it appeared to be straight grading questionable toners, but some now claim that they have reversed course and are now detail grading natural-looking coins.

    Here are two threads that are more recent:

    I also talked with one person who submitted at the FUN show with poor results across the board and another who submits coins to PCGS and NGC almost every month who is receiving multiple lower grades for coins that are similar to what he was sending earlier last year.

    Edit: adding thread about Quest Color:
    pghpanthers2 likes this.
  18. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    Okay, just wanted to check.

    So, for the past several years, people have been complaining about "gradeflation."

    For several years, we've also been in a bull (upwards) market. In a bull market, optimism prevails and grades tend to loosen.

    However, now that the coin market is in a downward trend, there is a linked tightening of grades. That is completely expected. Values are decreasing, and so market grading (which is really judging the value of coins) is getting tighter. For the past year or so, the market has been in a secular trend, and grading has been getting tighter. Both of these are good things for the collector/buyer.

    I would argue that this is a natural, healthy, and expected trend in grading. It also follows previous downturns in the market (if there was a way to accurately correlate the date graded to the slab number, you could fairly accurately predict which coins were undergraded. This is one of the true advantages of slab-historians and old-timers in a bull market).

    However, people newer to the hobby perceive this as an unjust tightening, restrictive grading, and unfair practices. They lack the long term perspective of the hobby, and market cycles. Not saying this is where you're at, but don't be influenced by newer hobbyists.

    For example, Insider loves to brag about how long he's been in the hobby. Doug loves to talk about gradeflation. These old timers have seen these cycles, and we can all benefit from their longer perspective (even if they come across as slightly crazy, now and then).
  19. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    furham and Stevearino like this.
  20. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I think you make a fair point.

    However, I would argue that the coin market was not upwards in the past several years unless you make the cutoff around 2011 (when gold peaked); or 2008 (before the financial crash); or are talking about high end coins. For "generic" material that many collect, the prices have been going down over the past several years. MS 65 Morgans have been declining. Proof Franklins (including cameo graded pieces) have been selling for similar or lower prices than 3-4 years ago. Even some of the nice toners in the $500-$1,000 range have seen lower prices compared to what I saw on Heritage in 2004-2008. I could also mention Classic Commemoratives and modern US Mint products, but those have mostly always been on a decline.

    I read multiple dealer reports from the 2018 FUN show saying they were able to sell more for higher prices this year compared to last year (not all said this, but there were quite a few). I also have noticed that the toners that were selling for lower prices in 2016 (compared to 2004-2011) have started selling for more in 2017-2018. That makes me wonder if it isn't the reverse: the coin market was declining from 2011-early/mid 2017 and is now increasing.

    That makes me think that it's also the opposite with grading: the TPGs were being loose, hoping they would get more submissions and prices would continue to increase. However, when too many coins started showing up in seemingly overgraded holders (or questionable toners in straight holders), the market reacted by lowering its valuation of those coins (on average). The TPGs finally saw this and decided to tighten the standards to retain trust in their grading. Recent submitters, having become used to lenient grading, are now disappointed in the lower grading. (By the way, I see this tighter grading period as a potentially wise move by TPGs...when the market share of conservatively graded coins increases, TPGs will start loosening standards again and bring in the crackout revenue).
    Dynoking and Stevearino like this.
  21. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I point was that plenty of the straight graded examples are just as questionable. From what I have seen over the past few years, NGC has mainly avoided slabbing certain toners (particularly Silver Eagles) while PCGS seemed to open the doors and straight grade countless coins that they are now backtracking on (again look at Silver Eagles).
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