You can buy your modern MS/PFUC 70 coins from a dealer or with a roll of the dice buy them directly from the mint at a lower price and hope for a 70 grade on your submission.
I recently purchased one each of the P&W mint marked 2011 September 11 National Medal from the US Mint. The next day I sent both medals to NGC for certification and eventual incorporation into my ?Inspirational Ladies? custom set.
Since some of these medals are already certified, I found ?Modern Coin Mart? offering them for sale in both PFUC-70 and PFUC-69. Based on their listing, a set of P&W medals in PFUC-70 goes for $235 including postage and $175 for PFUC-69. This gives a collector centered on their collecting goals at least three options to own these certified medals. Since ?Modern Coin Mart? advertises on Collector?s Society, and I have purchased coins from them in the past, I will use them as an example to illustrate my points.
Buying the medals from the mint cost me $118.95, the submission $61.70, and the registered postage fee with $120 of insurance to Florida $15.81. In other words, the total cost to submit raw medals to NGC cost me $196.36. If your target grade for collecting these medals is PFUC-69, then purchasing a set of PFUC-69 medals from ?Modern Coin Mart? at $175 is much more economical.
Another option if you absolutely must have PFUC-70 medals is to buy them directly from ?Modern Coin Mart? for $235. This option takes the guesswork out of submitting them for yourself, and the risk of not getting a PFUC-70 grade. The last three or four ?First Spouse Coins? I bought for my collection, I bought from ?Modern Coin Mart? because PFUC-70 was my target grade. Prior to this I purchased raw coins directly from the mint and symbolically ?rolled the dice? in hope of a good submission. The only downside to purchasing direct from ?Modern Coin Mart? is that you do not get the mint packaging with the coin. When it comes to selling, this is very important as many potential buyers ask for it.
The third option is to ?roll the dice? and take your chances on getting PFUC-70 grades with a raw submission. This first requires that you receive coins from the mint that have no obvious flaws. Even so, there are still no guaranties that you will get your desired grade. However, if you hit the jackpot and receive two 70s you will save $38.64 over the ?Modern Coin Mart? direct purchase option and you get to keep the mint packaging.
I have found these three options to be consistent with everything I have ever purchased from ?Modern Coin Mart?. Therefore, I suspect this will also be true for the ATB five-ounce coins and the upcoming 25th anniversary SAE set.
Thinking about it though, I really don?t need to have 70 graded coins for my ?Inspirational Ladies? set, but naturally, it is always nice when I can. However, in the future I think I will go with ?Modern Coin Mart? and get the cheaper 69 graded coins.
I will close my post today on a more somber note. Tomorrow is September 11 and the tenth anniversary of the devastating 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States in Washington DC and New York City with yet another attack thwarted by the actions of brave passengers onboard United Flight 93. On that tragic day 10 years ago, we saw the best and the worst in humanity on display. Rather than make a feeble attempt at writing a 9/11 tribute, I will let a picture of the 2011 September 11 National medal do the talking for me. For the mint?s description of the September 11 medal follow this link; http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/medals/?action=911NationalMedal