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
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
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
* 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
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