PCGS v NGC grading standards for UK milled?

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by HiroBear, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. HiroBear

    HiroBear New Member

    Just reaching out to get people's thoughts and experiences with NGC and PCGS regarding UK early milled minor silver.

    From my limited experience it seems NGC grades a lot more UK material and the standards are comparable. There is a bit of LCGS material floating around but I try to avoid it.

    I had a 1696 shilling graded MS63 by NGC (but had been cracked out). Submitted to PCGS (dominant TPG in Australia) and it also came back a MS63.

    Thoughts and comments appreciated as always!
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  3. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    It doesn't matter whether the coin is slabbed by anyone in particular. Nor should you avoid a coin just because it's PCGS, NGC, (L)CGS, ANACS or whoever. All coins should be graded by the purchaser and a decision made based on their personal preferences, not on another person's opinion. Only you can decide what is going to be acceptable or not. The TPG opinion will vary from day to day, and for all the 'quality assurance', mistakes are still made - some significant.
    panzerman likes this.
  4. chuckylucky5

    chuckylucky5 Supporter! Supporter

    The old adage...buy the coin, not the slab
    panzerman likes this.
  5. physics-fan3.14

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

    Foreign coins in NGC slabs will be in higher demand and easier to buy and sell. PCGS generally is less accurate with foreign coins.

    If you are going to buy slabbed coins, I recommend NGC.

    Also, these types of coins often have a lot of hidden problems. Depending on your experience level, I recommend buying slabbed coins.
    kazuma78 and mlov43 like this.
  6. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    I can't comment whether NGC or PCGS are in greater demand, but concur with the point that a lot of these coins have hidden problems.

    Things that I fell foul of were a 1723 halfpenny in an NGC 65 slab which had a flan flaw on the edge which you couldn't see until removed from the plastic, and similarly an 1817 plain edge proof shilling (63) and 1844 (64) where the rim nick was hidden by the surrounding white plastic. As said, beware of hidden problems on coins in slabs.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
    panzerman likes this.
  7. mlov43

    mlov43 주화 수집가

    I agree.
    99% of the slabbed coins in South Korea (and slabbing is popular there) are NGC.
  8. HiroBear

    HiroBear New Member

    No doubt, but here's the challenge...

    If you collect UK early milled material and you're in Australia you either buy it from the UK, or wait to see if it comes up locally in auction. Most of the material is raw, and I'm not a fan of the ANDA's adjectival grading.

    In Australia you can submit to PCGS via a number of dealers, whereas NGC doesn't seem to have any. I've looked at direct submission but there seem to be customs clearance fees and other onerous paperwork, along with the cost of insurance. So most of the TPG graded material is done by PCGS.

    So if you're buying offshore you're buying against a dealer's adjectival grading and skills as a photographer. Where the material is slabbed it seems to be predominately NGC.

    TPGs aren't perfect to be sure, but they seem to help smoothing out the skewness and reducing risk of counterfeits. Would you buy a raw Northumberland shilling in a higher grade? I wouldn't, because I don't have the skill to pick up modern counterfeits. If I'm going to sell the coin it'll likely do better offshore in which case having it slabbed helps in the sale.

    I agree, buy the coin not the slab, but if I'm presented with a dealer's near UNC and a slabbed AU 55/58, and grainy photos for both... I'll take the slab.
  9. gmarguli

    gmarguli Slightly Evil™

    NGC Dealer Locator shows 3 dealers located in Australia.
  10. 7Jags

    7Jags Well-Known Member

    RobP is your man on the earlier silver, etc. I may be able to help out with the later milled predecimal. I accept the TPGs but many times do not agree with them, and in fact have posted some examples on these boards. But they generally give a starting point and not too far off the mark (with some notable exceptions!).
  11. Ancientdia

    Ancientdia New Member

    I'm not too sure why this is but I've found that both PCGS and NGC tend to be much more lenient with non-US coins. I know it's difficult to equate like for like with some types of coins but I've seen relatively common, circulated and accordingly worn coins getting surprisingly good gradings (64 on a silver crown when much of the detail had been rubbed away).

    Whether or not this was an actual grading or someone had played around with the slab I wouldn't like to say.

    I suppose the difference is fine if you know what you're aware of that fact and have the opportunity to inspect the coin yourself but otherwise be careful.
  12. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    I don't know enough about US coins to say whether they are stricter or not, but I do know this is a topic that will go round and round without resolution. My view is that they show too little consistency. Consistently graded where opinions differ would be ok, but a number has to mean something. Well over 10 years ago the topic came up after looking at some slabbed grades where the only conclusion to be drawn was that 11 MS grades covered everything from mint state to mostly smooth. Whether that amount was 60%, 61% etc was mostly tongue in cheek and irrelevant, but the variation was quite noticeable, even for a specific number.

    I think the question has to be asked on occasion whether the in-house knowledge is sufficient for the service they offer. Knowledge and ability should be directly correlated to experience, but there are a lot of 'top pops' in non-US coins which have a type population of 1. This does not and can not instill confidence. There are a couple hundred countries on this planet, with hundreds more defunct, many of which have coins the TPGs have not seen or certainly aren't familiar with. If you haven't seen a number of coins in a range of grades from as it left the mint to completely flat, I would say it is difficult to assign an accurate number to the coin whoever you are.

    I also think part of the problem is terminology, which doesn't translate well when crossing the pond. Mint state is an absolute, just like unique. Things aren't very unique despite claims to the contrary, and other than genuinely mint state pieces are best described as EF or better (aka unc with wear). It's a topic guaranteed to provide controversy.
  13. brg5658

    brg5658 Supporter! Supporter

    Rob, this is spot on. The world is far too large to know every country and their respective current and historical coinage. NGC and PCGS know US coinage best. In my opinion, they try to export that knowledge in an often farcical way to grading non-USA coinage.
    7Jags likes this.
  14. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I do feel however, that getting it across is akin to pushing a very large boulder up a very steep hill - as you will be aware.
  15. 7Jags

    7Jags Well-Known Member

    Ah, yes, I too agree. However, "mint state" is not always as crystal clear. Many things and stages occur at the mint. Even coins leaving "as struck" from the die can have many defects (ie planchet or die defects, imperfect strike, etc.) and yet be perfectly preserved in that state.
    I personally have had issues with the TPGs even with later date milled - this includes matte proofs of "off years", patterns, models, specimens, etc. These have been obscenely missed and erratically graded. I would suggest caveats to any buyers of these at auction - that is, based on the numerical grades. I have seen "61s" fully as good as or nice as "66"s. And I have seen the graders to deny the opinions of some of the very best in the field - often experts that they themselves have relied upon for arbitration. Unbelievable.
    So while not horrible, they are most certainly not the final decision makers regardless of what popular opinion may be.
    In other words, I am in agreement with young Robp and Brandon...
  16. brg5658

    brg5658 Supporter! Supporter

    It gets even worse when you look at companies like ICG and ANACS, where they have such a small staff of graders that the combined knowledge is so thin.

    I implore any and all collectors in specific collecting areas to learn about that niche areas themselves. @7Jags and @robp are absolute rock-stars for UK coinage grading and knowledge. Others like @Jaelus are almost unmatched in their specific collecting areas (e.g., Hungarian coinage). I would say @Zohar444 is top notch in Talers. Etc., etc.

    I would consider myself an "eclectic" collector, but my experience crosses coinage from many countries and time periods. I can hold my own - but if I wade into new waters, I always seek out area-specific advice and information from those who have more focused interests and expertise.

    It is completely unreasonable to expect any TPGS to have universal and infallible knowledge. They have access to great libraries of reference materials, but "book-learning" can often not replace hands-on learning in very specific areas of numismatics.

    I largely use TPGS for the "authentication (genuine)" and "conservation (slab protection)" factors. The grades are mostly irrelevant to me when buying a coin, so long as I find the quality to be up to my expectations and the corresponding price to be reasonable.
    Jaelus likes this.
  17. offa the saxon

    offa the saxon Active Member

    Slabbing is the devils work. I like looking at coins not a plastic sarcophagus
  18. brg5658

    brg5658 Supporter! Supporter

    Slabs are transparent - so I can see my coins just fine.

    Get a grip on reality here man. Drama much?
  19. offa the saxon

    offa the saxon Active Member

    No drama I just do not like slabs.
  20. Ancientdia

    Ancientdia New Member

    I think it really depends on people.

    I personally don't care much for slabs as it feels a bit like being in a museum to me. You know, being able to see the coin but never touch it? They're also a little more cumbersome than some other ways of storing slabs.

    On the other hand, I can understand that some people like the reassurance of having their coins safely stored and that they appreciate the comfort of knowing that their coin is certified authentic and has a certain "pedigree" through the grading.

    To each their own. Some only collect slabs. Others avoid them like the plague and many collectors have a bit of both.
  21. jgenn

    jgenn World Crown Collector

    Obviously, the best way to evaluate a coin is to view it in person. However, that greatly depends on what coins you can physically get to. If you desire to collect world coins you may not get a very good selection to view in person where you live or can easily travel to.

    TPG graded and slabbed coins are not a perfect solution but they do reduce the risk of buying coins that you cannot see in hand.
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