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

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

  1. tmoneyeagles

    tmoneyeagles Indian Buffalo Gatherer

    Saying some variation of "buy the coin, not the holder" on these forums is getting to be like yelling "Free Bird" at a rock concert.
    Pickin and Grinin likes this.
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  3. Tater

    Tater Coin Collector

    I know this is a us thread but with silver or gold pandas its NGC all the way they are more consistent.
    On US coins I have heard that NGC is more strict on IKE's and have seen it from the ones that I have sent to them. Now it could be they don;t like Ike's but they seem to consistently grade them harder. Now with that said an PCGS Ike that deserves the grade assigned to it will bring more in auction than NGC.
    I would like to hear peoples opinion on peace dollars. I prefer the look of peace dollars in NGC slabs but have seen nicer ones in PCGS and would say from the ones that I have looked at that PCGS tends to grade them better than NGC.

    Once again JMO
  4. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    I think NGC does a good job on moderns and I also like their slabs and labels for the coins.

    On classics, I don't care about that stuff.
  5. Penna_Boy

    Penna_Boy Just a nobody from the past

    Spot on. Thanks.
    Insider likes this.
  6. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD [Insert Clever Title]

    I totally agree that no matter what the certification company is...the coins should be thoroughly examined decisions made on those merits. Having said that, that has nothing to do with discussing the various differences in how PCGS and NGC evaluate a specific series.
    tmoneyeagles and Penna_Boy like this.
  7. Penna_Boy

    Penna_Boy Just a nobody from the past

    I think all coin collectors prefer one above the other. I personally think PCGS, NGC, ANACS and IGC do the best job they can. It's all a matter of personal preference.
    GoldFinger1969 likes this.
  8. micbraun

    micbraun coindiccted

    It’s not about who “does the best job” it’s about which of the grading services is stricter with a type of coin or a specific series.
    Insider, tmoneyeagles and CamaroDMD like this.
  9. St Gaudens collector

    St Gaudens collector Active Member

    PCGS is harder on Saints but they are both inconsistent.
    Apparently, there is some sort of war going on between the two with crossing.

    PCGS is supremely tight right now & you need a bean to straight cross.
    I suspect anything without a bean goes directly from receiving to the billing/shipping department, including recons.

    Regrade now is just an expensive re-holder.
    You're really taking a chance on a crack-out ending up in a body bag.

    You do get a consolation box as a prize for playing.
    I guess you can tell that I've not been doing well recently.
    Tater and tmoneyeagles like this.
  10. Tater

    Tater Coin Collector

    And its us the collectors that get stuck in this pissing match between the two on who can be the most strict.
  11. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD [Insert Clever Title]

    I don't know if that is necessarily true. The problem is grading standards aren't universal. There are a bunch of different standards using the same scale. The ANA has their own, they have a book you can buy and classes you can take. PCGS has their own...which is different from the ANA. NGC too has their own. All the other TPGs do too. So, there isn't just one.

    Now, is that a result of their direct competition...or is it just simply because grading has always been subjective and as a result different experts have different opinions and those people manage these companies? I don't know the answer to that. To me, it makes sense for PCGS and NGC to have similar grading styles. If one was too strict across the board people would not want to submit to them in the same quantity but if they were too loose people would lose faith in them. So, there is a balance.

    My opinion is that the relative differences in the grading scales (which is a series by series issue) is due to the subjectivity of the grading process and since these companies are managed and controlled by different people some differences would appear. I also think that it's important for the collector (consumer) to understand that they are different and how.

    Going back to the FBL example. If I choose to add a Full Bell Lines Franklin to my collection...I want a coin with Full Bell Lines. To me, that means all the lines on the bell...not just the bottom lines. If I am buying online and I am relying on photos...which can be manipulated, it would be beneficial to me to know that PCGS only looks at the bottom lines on the bell while NGC looks at both sets of lines when determining if a Franklin is an FBL. Yes, the coin is the key here...but if the photos aren't ideal, I'm glad that I know that NGC grades these coins more in line with what I want.

    Is one more right than the other...I don't know. The market seems to accept how both do it. But, because I can't always buy in person...understanding the relative differences between each company when evaluating photos is a useful tool.
    micbraun likes this.
  12. Morgandude11

    Morgandude11 As long as it's Silver, I'm listening

    PCGS is stricter on Morgan Dollars, Peace Dollars, Barber coins (dimes, quarters, halves), Kennedy Halves, Franklin Halves.
  13. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    CamaroDMD, posted: "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."

    I like this idea. Unfortunately, IMO. very often it goes back and forth. The real problem started when coin grading/authentication became a business that was dependent on customers. Originally, an authentication service was created by the ANA and funded by them independent of dealers and the coin market. Eventually it stopped losing money and became the main profit generator of the ANA! Nevertheless, it was independent.

    All TGS of today are businesses. Make money or go under. That's what happened to dozens of services. Because of this, PCGS and NGC especially (because they have most of the market) have become slaves to their major submitters in spite of their best efforts to hold a line. A member has already mentioned what happened to the old FBL "standard!"

    Standards will continue to evolve until some entity with deep pockets sets up a "real" service that can exist for years even if no one sends in a coin. Then, AU's will no longer be called MS and FBLs will actually be full with no breaks on both sets of bands.

    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.[/QUOTE]

    I have worked at five services (not PCGS) where coins were graded. I have never seen any publication, etc where the company standards were posted and was never told to follow any certain standard. I have always graded coins the way I see them. Company "standards" are set by the finalizers. If they didn't like my grade, they changed it. If I was consistently too strict (always) it was suggested I try to loosen up.

    I think the major services grade very closely. Any slip-ups tend to make it look as if they don't.
  14. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD [Insert Clever Title]

    So, then the process is...a coin is reviewed by a group of "initial graders" who assign a grade, then a "finalizer" reviews it who has the final say? How does that person know if the grade is too strict or not. At some point there must be a company standard that they are using...right?
  15. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    I think you are over thinking this. As I wrote, I never knew of any company standard at any place I ever worked. For example, at the first TPGS - the International Numismatic Society Authentication Bureau, I was the person who determined our standard because I was the principal grader. On occasion Charles Hoskins and I would discuss a particular grade before the coin was sent out.

    Putting a grade on a coin is not difficult at all! :jawdrop::facepalm::D:smug::yawn: The inside secret (don't tell anyone):

    You all do it on a daily basis.

    The graders and the finalizers have all demonstrated they know how to grade coins consistently. What is difficult is putting a VALUE on a coin because a coin's actual condition of preservation from when it was made and its commercial value ARE VERY OFTEN NOT THE SAME!

    The "Big Bucks Boys" at the end of the process (confirmed by a QC grader) keep the standard. As I've said, the "standard" for the top four services is pretty close as far as grade. Big differences occur with problem coins. When I worked at PCI dealers would show me dozens of coins they bought cheaply as PCI "Red Label" problem coins that were straight graded. In spite of that, we did not change our strict standards for scratches and cleaning.
    Tater and Penna_Boy like this.
  16. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD [Insert Clever Title]

    So then...is the biggest difference between the top 4 grading services (PCGS, NGC, ANACS, ICG) simply marketing? Has PCGS and NGC just done a better job on the business side getting brand recognition?
  17. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    No, the biggest differences between the major grading services are:
    1. size.
    2. Customer service.
    3. Cost and speed of service.
    4. The perceived value of a coin in their slab due to collector preference.

    The top level of the numismatic industry is like a clique. No street urchins allowed. Why do you think CAC does not wish to increase their profit by "beaning" amazing ANACS and IGG coins until they are crossed?

    PCGS was founded by major dealers for dealers. NGC split away but wants the same customers. This may come as a HUGE SHOCK to most of you but (I better say IMHO to stay out of trouble) the average collector is unimportant. Apparently, they don't need your business at all and don't care to chase after it or develop a relationship with you. The idea of coin forums and Registry Sets was genius - LOL, it verifies that "they really do care."

    That said, NGC and PCGS rule the market and have the largest dealer base. For that reason they also have the largest collector's base. Both services are top notch so they DESERVE their one and two position and brand recognition.

    BTW, at least one of the second tier major services is doing just fine. We definitely don't need more customers.
  18. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD [Insert Clever Title]

    Interesting information...that does make a lot of sense. I guess it's just like anything else...big business needs big business and the little guys are irrelevant.

    Let me as you this...kind of off topic. Probably a decade ago (maybe more that that)...didn't ANACS changes hands and the former ANACS ownership took over ICG? It seems like at that time PCGS/NGC were considered "top tier" and ANACS was next on the list (when they had the little white slab) and then the perception was that ICG was lower on the list. Then, with the ownership change, the perception became that ANACS and ICG were equals but still below to the "big two." Was there any truth to that or was that simply "little guys" speculating?
  19. Morgandude11

    Morgandude11 As long as it's Silver, I'm listening

    What I have said for years. Most coin grading is accurate, as TPGs employ people who have experience, and know how to grade a coin in hand. Is there market grading, as coin certification is a business, and there is management pressure to “be kind to big boy dealers?” Of course. However, on the whole, TPG grading is consistent for the most part, and essential for coin collectors. Have standards changed over the years? What hasn’t fluctuated over the years?
    Last edited: May 20, 2020
    Insider likes this.
  20. TypeCoin971793

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

    They both do this to give the impression that they are stricter then the either. However, when someone with mucho money crosses back and forth as an experiment and reveals that it is nothing more than politics, they suddenly say that it is much harder to properly evaluate in the slab and they will err on the side of caution.


    I’ve heard of an experiment by NGC where they cracked out a bunch of PCGS coins, put them in NGC holders at the same grade, and only a few crossed.

    And the plethora of stories where someone attempted to cross a coin in an NGC holder, got a DNC, and then cracked it and got a 1-2 point boost upon resubmission to PCGS.

    Yup, the evidence clearly suggests no politics in play here...
    Tater likes this.
  21. Insider

    Insider Talent on loan from...

    In all honesty, at the time, I worked for NGC and I didn't care what those two services did. As I recall, I didn't even know about those shenanigans' UNTIL I was hired by ICG when they moved to FL. ANACS lost a lawsuit to ICG for what they did or the way they did it - whatever, I don't know the details.
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