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How Do Grading Services Rate? 
PNG & ICTA Reveal Survey Results

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(Fallbrook, CA) - Responding to hobby concerns about perceived wide variances in the grading standards between different rare coin certification services, the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) and the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA) asked their members for their professional opinions.

The survey results, in grid format, are posted on the PNG web site, www.PNGdealers.com.

Survey respondents were asked to rate seven different grading services on a ten-point scale to evaluate 11 different criteria, from grading accuracy to the quality of the holder in which certified coins were housed. The voting scale ranged from "unacceptable" at the low end to "outstanding" at the high end.

The final tally of the survey indicated that no grading service was ranked overall as "outstanding," but one company was listed as "unacceptable."

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) were both listed overall as "superior," the second highest ranking on the scale. Accu-Grade (ACG) was listed overall as "unacceptable," the lowest-ranking category on the scale.

ANACS and Independent Coin Grading Company (ICG) were ranked overall as "average." PCI Coin Grading Service (PCI) and Sovereign Entities Grading Service (SEGS) were ranked overall as "poor."

"The survey results are being published solely as a service to the numismatic marketplace, particularly members of the public who buy coins. The results do not necessarily reflect the views of PNG or ICTA, or any particular PNG or ICTA member, with respect to any particular grading service or services," said PNG Executive Director Robert Brueggeman.

This past March, PNG officials issued a consumer advisory, urging caution because some rare buyers, especially newcomers who conduct transactions on the Internet, may discover their "bargain" purchases are too good to be true.

PNG President Harlan J. Berk explained at the time that "many collectors and rare coin investors are under the potentially costly, false assumption that all numismatic certification services abide by similar criteria for judging the authenticity and grade of United States coins. Not all grading services make the grade."

"The value of a rare coin usually is dependent on its grade, but not all grading services are equal. So, be aware. Some use more liberal standards than those generally accepted in the marketplace, and their certified coins may be worth far less than those certified by others as the same grade," Berk stated.

This past summer, PNG and ICTA agreed to conduct a survey.

PNG and ICTA each sent a survey to its professional members during August 2002. Respondents ranked the criteria on a scale of 1 to 10.

The survey was sent to over 300 people, and 151 responses were received prior to the close of the survey (September 16).

"Not all respondents responded with respect to all seven grading services, and some did not respond with respect to all 11 criteria. Other responses were not counted because the respondents responded affirmatively to PNG/ICTA's request that they disclose any ownership or other affiliations they might have with particular grading services, or because PNG was otherwise aware of an affiliation," explained Armen Vartian, PNG legal counsel.

PNG and ICTA members were asked to consider these criteria for the seven grading services in the survey.

* Grading accuracy (Mint State 60+ and Proof 60+)

* Grading accuracy (AG-3 to AU-58)

* Ability to detect altered, repaired damaged, cleaned and counterfeit coins.

* Accuracy of all (type and variety) attributions.

* Grading guarantees.

* General marketability.

* Availability of pricing information.

* Customer service by phone, print and Internet.

* Cost for service provided.

* Turn-around time.

The results were tabulated by PNG with respect to each individual criterion, and also overall based upon weighting factors established by PNG/ICTA. The weighting factors were disclosed in advance to respondents."

PNG has retained copies of all survey responses, and originals are being held by PNG's Legal Counsel.

For additional information, contact Robert Brueggeman, PNG Executive Director, 3950 Concordia Lane, Fallbrook, CA 92028. Phone: (760) 728-1300. Fax: (760) 728-8507. E-mail: info@PNGdealers.com.


For immediate release October 14, 2002

News media contacts: Robert Brueggeman (760) 728-1300 Harlan J. Berk (312) 609-0075 Armen Vartian (310) 372-1355


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