PCGS/NGC Reference Thread - Who's Stricter by Series

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by CamaroDMD, May 17, 2020.

  1. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD [Insert Clever Title]

    I don't want to get into the discussion of which grading company is better. Both are considered top tier companies in the coin market. But, both grading companies have their own standards (which both differ from that of the ADA) and as a result, grade coins slightly differently. Because of this, one company is stricter when it comes to one series...and the other is stricter when it comes to another.

    This is widely known, and if you search CT you can find references to which series is grader stricter by which company. But, that information is spread all over CT and it would be nice to have that basic info in one place.

    For example, NGC is known to be tougher on Jefferson Nickels and Franklin Halves. FS for NGC is certainly tougher and for Franklin's both sets of lines on the reverse need to be complete to earn the FBL designation.

    So, I think it would be useful if the experts on here would pool their knowledge in one thread.

    Let's make a list like this:

    Stricter Grading Standards
    Jefferson Nickel: NGC
    Franklin Half Dollar: NGC (requires both sets of lines to be full for FBL)
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  3. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    That would help many people including me. :)
  4. Penna_Boy

    Penna_Boy Just a nobody from the past

    Just my opinion. If you are buying silver then PCGS is my first choice. If I buy gold then NGC is my first choice. As I said: Only my opinion.
    GoldFinger1969 and Robert Ransom like this.
  5. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    So Cam, let me see if I understand you correctly. You want people to give you their opinions of the TPGS' opinions. Isn't that like averaging averages? ~ Chris
  6. ldhair

    ldhair Clean Supporter

    At one time PCGS was known to be stricter on high grade Lincoln Cents. Getting a 67 was tough. They were also stricter on Lincolns with color/toning.
  7. tmoneyeagles

    tmoneyeagles Indian Buffalo Gatherer

    @CamaroDMD, my availability heuristic is as follows:

    Stricter Grading Standards
    Quarter Eagle, Half Eagle, and Eagle Gold Indians: PCGS

    There's nothing in writing for that that would support my claim, but after seeing enough of those, it's clear to me that PCGS has historically been more strict on those series.

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but these days the standards for PCGS and NGC in re PL and DPL (NGC)/DMPL (PCGS) Morgans is the same:
    - 2-4 inches = PL
    - 6+ inches = DPL/DMPL

    There was a time where PCGS was tougher, I believe at one point it was 8 inches to earn their DMPL designation. I even believe the PL designation for them was 4-6 inches at one point as well. So ten or so years ago I would've said PCGS was stricter. If my memory isn't fuzzy and I'm right on that, then my advice then is to pay close attention to the generation of PCGS slab you're buying, and you may get yourself quite the frosty mirrored coin!

    As far as grading standards proper for Morgans, there really isn't much difference between PCGS or NGC.
  8. J.T. Parker

    J.T. Parker Well-Known Member

    Hello Penna_boy,
    I've heard the very same analysis from 3 older coin salesmen. Silver coins PCGS,
    Gold Coins NGC.
    Although given that everything is in a state of flux, who knows what the generality is now.
    Ultimately, the buyer of any specific coin needs to be the final judge.
    GoldFinger1969 and Penna_Boy like this.
  9. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD [Insert Clever Title]

    No...not at all. We know that each company has their own grading standards. This is why companies like ANACS and ICG are considered lesser quality companies. They can hire the best graders in the world...but if their standards are looser than then their grades will be inflated.

    PCGS and NGC have their own standards for each series...and they are different from each other. So, what I want to know is this...which company has the stricter standards for each series.

    Here is a simple example. FBL Franklin Half Dollars. If you have a Franklin Half graded MS65 FBL by PCGS it was graded by a different standard than those by NGC. We know that FBL means something different at NGC than it does PCGS. NGC has stricter standards for Franklin Halves. Those of us who focus on a certain series know which grading company is stricter than the other.

    So, my thought was we could compile a list by series of which company tends to grade tougher. As an example...I have no clue off hand if PCGS or NGC is stricter for Seated Liberty coinage. But, I'll bet one has a stricter standard than the other and I'll bet someone who focuses on Seated coinage knows that.
    GoldFinger1969 likes this.
  10. physics-fan3.14

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

    You don't want to dicuss which company is better? You just want to discuss which company is better for each series?

    So, do you want to discuss which company is better, or don't you? Your post seems conflicted.
  11. micbraun

    micbraun coindiccted

    Not really, I think it’s an excellent idea for a thread. It’s about specific series where the results could differ because each TPG applies different “standards”.

    It would also be good to hear about personal experiences with coins which were only lightly cleaned or had minor issues and were submitted to both NGC/PCGS. Same results or different?
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
    Tater likes this.
  12. Penna_Boy

    Penna_Boy Just a nobody from the past

    Hey J.T.: That's just my opinion after years of collecting CC Morgans and Gold coins. I love NGC Gold in any form. Just seems prettier to me. :happy:
    Tater likes this.
  13. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    Dear CamaroDMD,

    If you think ICG standards for coins THAT ARE SEEN IN THE GRADING ROOM by their top graders are looser than NGC or PCGS you are very much mistaken.

    I cannot comment on our bulk grading of SE and common date dollars or quarters as our top guys don't "burn-their-eyes-out" examining bulk submissions.
    Penna_Boy, green18 and micbraun like this.
  14. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    Here is something I learned from a dealer today. Apparently the top two services now are allowing one or two hits across the bell lines and still assigning the FBL designation. While I happen to agree that a hit across steps, bands, or bell lines has nothing to do with how complete they are; that's not what was allowed by TPGS's in the past!!! So if this is true = more gradflation.
  15. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD [Insert Clever Title]

    It's not conflicted at all...because it's not about better or worse. It's about different and who has stricter standards based on a given series. I have made no mention of if I thought stricter standards for a given coin was better or worse. I do know that an FBL Franklin in a NGC slab should meet the PCGS standards but the reverse may not be true.

    I thought such information in one location of the relative quirks of each company per series in a single thread would be useful. That has nothing to do with "which company is better."

    Hi @Insider, good to hear from you. I was under the impression that the knock on ICG (and ANACS for that matter) was that the company mandated threshold for grades was looser than that of PCGS/NGC. Meaning, a coin graded MS65 by ICG may only be a MS64 in a PCGS slab due to the relative differences in each company's grading scales . You would know far better than I.

    I know that the grading talent at ICG is top notch...but I always assumed that the graders had to grade based on the standards that ICG management put down (which I was told was looser than the standards at other companies). That is in no way a criticism of the people who grade coins for them and if I am inaccurate please let me know.
  16. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    I prefer PCGS for Commemorative issues, but I can't discount commems in 'old fattys' by NGC............
    Tater likes this.
  17. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    How about Double Eagles, Saints & Liberty's ? Anybody got some relevant feedback ?

    And maybe one was tougher/looser on a certain DE at a certain time period, and then it flipped to the other TPG ?

    Maybe there's a certain interval where you don't want a coin to be graded by one or the other TPGs.
  18. J.T. Parker

    J.T. Parker Well-Known Member

    Hi Penna_boy,
    When I started putting together my Mexican gold 50 Peso set ( gold was $900/ounce) I purchased 95% of the collection from 'Broken CC' Coin Dealers in Nevada. At that time they only offered this variety of gold graded by NGC, therefore my entire collection graded from MS-63 to MS-65 is NGC.
    There was also an older gentleman located in up-state NY who dealt strictly in rare U.S silver & I had spent $30-40K w/ him. I asked his opinion on NGC vs. PCGS. His opinion, along w/ 2 others I ran into at local coin shows, was the same, i.e. For silver (generally) PCGS was superior, For gold
    (generally) NGC. All 3 admonished however you need to use your eyes, & OPINION when purchasing any TPG-ed coin.
    Thus endeth the tale,
    Penna_Boy likes this.
  19. dimeguy

    dimeguy Dime Enthusiast

    Mercury Dimes: NGC requires the center, top and bottom bands to show separation for "full bands" designation. PCGS requires center bands to defined and separated to have full bands.

    Concerning Roosevelt Dimes: PCGS requires both upper and lower bands of the torch be fully split and without interruptions to receive designation of "Full bands." NGC requires both upper and lower horizontal set as well as all vertical lines in the torch to be uninterrupted and deemed "Full torch." (Personally, I like the title of Full Torch, but who am I?)
  20. Long Beard

    Long Beard Active Member

    Simplify things. Buy the coin you find most appealing for the series you're collecting. The grader and holder should be secondary unless you collect those.
  21. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody who doesn’t know anything...

    NGC is historically much looser with IHCs.

    NGC used to be bad with CBHs, but I hear they are doing better. They still go for garbage prices in NGC holders though.

    Both NGC and PCGS are pretty terrible with large cents
    EyeAppealingCoins likes this.
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