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The crossover bugbear

7 posts in this topic

Pardon my recent obsession with crossovers, but I think I've figured out why my friends and I have been beaten up by this lately. (Please note that I'm talking mostly about NGC and PCGS, and going in either direction. And, my observations pertain mostly to the current situation; the past is the past and doesn't have a bearing on current submission rejections.)


My so-called revelation came after reading some stray posts by Tad, GregM and even David Hall...


1. DHall wrote somewhere that PCGS and NGC operate by different standards. Let's assume that, in general, a PCGS slab of the same grade tends to be a PQ coin in an NGC slab. GregM also wrote somewhere that NGC is tougher than PCGS on matters of cleaning and damage. Both of these happen to agree with my personal beliefs on the matter. Generally, I have had better success in getting PCGS to slab my marginal-quality material than NGC, yet PCGS will hit me harder grade-wise on my nice material.


2. Supercoin (Tad?) suggested that the holder might introduce a materially observable negative effect on the coin entombed inside. I think no one will argue that the BEST way to scrutinize a coin is without any packaging whatsoever. There is some basis to the suggestion that the plastic itself diminishes the coin somewhat. Perhaps the lustre seems a little bit muted, or the toning seems a little bit lifeless, or whatever...


3. We're dealing with human beings. No matter the stated policy of NGC and PCGS that they do not discriminate against other company's slabs, and that their graders will assess the coins as if they're raw, you cannot ever 100% eliminate the potential of bias. I am not suggesting something insidious or unprofessional. These graders are people, and they likely take a great deal of pride in their work. They probably feel that they do an excellent job -- top-notch! The flip side to this is that they may subconciously feel that the work of other services warrant some extra scrutiny, just to see if they measure up. To that end, this extra scrutiny may be a little bit too extra...


Those dealers who live and die by the upgrade are known as CRACKOUT artists. They are not known as CROSSOVER artists. Yes, they are going for the upgrade, while many of us are simply looking for holder uniformity (and thus are happy with the same grade). Still, there is overlap.




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It is my strong impression that PCGS uses the MS/PR62 grades as a catchall for coins that they are not immediately sure how to grade. I have no proof of this, but reviewing my purchases of both NGC and PCGS, I have a decided bias that when a coin not meet a stringent (rigid?) definition of color or mint luster/bloom for that series, PCGS tosses it into the MS62-PR62 basket rather than think it through (see attachment-MS62-1903-S, Half Eagle)? NGC, on the other hand, will normally give the coin a more accurate grade, reflective of both interpretive and strict quantitative grading standard .


This is reinforced by my gold collection. I have a large number of gold coins that strike, full luster and lack of defining marks would cause me to grade the coin MS63/64. It seems to me that any copper blush on gold coins will drag them down to MS62.


Now I admit that I am more or an interpretive grader than a strict grader. I also do not know what the "inside" rules are for PCGS Graders. I believe that this is the factor that causes me to believe that NGC grades gold more accurately than PCGS. I have many samples of PCGS MS62 gold to support my conjectural thesis. Comments? tongue.gif


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evp!!!!!!!!!!! extremely astute abservations wow wow wow


and you know how to put them into words to express yourself moreso than i can do!! you are a smart man and really

fair minded!


a brilliant observation on the nuting of coins in the holders i mean for example many dmpl dollars are not

graded as such because when put into the holders they really do not quite look dmpl! and many toned coins

with lustre that is juat a little below the norm if you saw it out of the holder it would be great and superb


but for some reason the holders are really not crystal clear i can tell that and i do not know why but the coins

some coins do not look as good in the holders as if looked at raw!!


another problem of third party grading but i guess you could look at it another way if a coin is a monstere toned

coin and has monster lustre underneath the toning in the holder can you imagine waht it looks like out of

the holder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but overall the series of coins that really get killed are the


dmpl morgan dollars as many coins that should be real dmpl coins maybe not monster dmpl but a real dmpl

nonethe less are mnot slabbed as such as in the holders they do not look dmpl !! whereas raw they are

now not monster dmpl but a solid dmpl


take for instance the super rare 1881-o dmpl that is a real dmpl but with mirrors shallow as comapired to

an 1880s or an 1881s i know of one 18810 dmpl pcgs 64 that is really a 65 easy mark wise but in the holder

doesnot quite look like a 65 dmpl even though it is but the holder kind of subdues it!


the pcgs holders are not currently crystal clear as to way i do not know maybe something to do with security

and the sonic sealing you maybe cant have a crystal clear plastic or maybe the sonic sealing does something to

the plastic?? well i do not know as i know really nothing about lots of things............lol


anyway a great post and extremely wells said!! also you are a really good sport on these boards besides being

extremely knowledgable in your aspeciality coin field and no matter waht always has sometyhing good to say and add

and i have learned much from you!


sincerely michael

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EVP - I agree with what you've said and have observed the same. Thanks for the post. However, my sincere belief is that the psychological side - i.e., what you touched on in terms on individuals having pride in their company and what they do - is the most potent factor in the process. David Hall's idea that PCGS grades more strictly, and that contended by you and others, is by my own personal experience not true. If anything, this is a cyclical phenomenon that each company experiences on its own rhythm. This rhythm is unpredictable for the most of us, and has a group-think phenomenology, but we experience the outcome of it as it cycles. It is acceptable from the standpoint of market grading, even though it has market-wide effects and can impact collectors. (I do not like it personally, but who am I?) Anyhow, I find that NGC grades nickels far more strictly (and is more difficult to cross to) than PCGS and that they are more honest with ultra-moderns; now, if that honesty is interpreted as less strict, then I concede for ultra-moderns. (PCGS has simply denigrated their own standards by their recent shifts in ultra-modern grading and sucked the grade of PF/MS70 into 69, thus defending the "theoretical" position of the 70 grade). These areas, nickels and ultra-moderns, are where I have most of my personal experience.


I got side tracked a little, I can see. However, my point is primarily that all of the nuances and shifts in standards appear to me to be psychologically driven, and shift back and forth between the major services, NGC and PCGS. As for the crossover routine, it is as much a ploy or an art of war as anything. And if one side says that they simply cross deserving coins and pass on others, then they are even deceiving themselves. Competition is a powerful psychological force that has real consequences. In this case, I believe that one of the consequences is the refusal on each service's part to adjust their biases when viewing a coin through plastic. (Initial visual bias is one of the fundamental violations of any controlled experiment). The more competative another service may be, the harder the evaluation at hand. It fits with the cognitive nature of competition in us humans.


Okay, so much for my armchair psychology, but it is what I believe.


Charlie - you probably know gold as good as anyone can and your evaluations are quite informative.



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I've never crossed over a coin in my life, and I have no intention of ever doing it. I have played the crack out for upgrade game for my business with some success, but that was for a financial reward.


To me it's the coin that counts. LIfe is too short and coin collecting money is too precious to waste it on redundant slabs. Besides, even if you do get your coins in all the same brand of holder, the companies keep changing things like the color of the label or even the design of the slab itself which ends the consistency,


I really have no slab brand loyalties although I do have some slab brand adversions. I don't have much use for PCI and ACG is off the table completely for me. Through the business I have learned that selling ICG and SEGS coins is a real chore regardless how nice the coin is.


My attitude is that collectors will be better off if we support PCGS, NGC and ANACS products. Lining up behind any ONE of them would restrict the market which would be detremental to all of us. If a fouth company comes along that provides good service we should support them also.

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My guess is that PCGS holders are probably PET or PETG (the stuff used to make soft drink bottles). The material is probably not an optical grade material. If it was a Cellulosic (Butyrate), Poly Terphalate (what Contact Lens are made of) or even Crystal Styrene, it would transmit a much higher percentage of light.


I have have noticed that some coins look much better in slabs than out. Also the point is well taken that slabbed prooflike coins lose much of their reflectivity, because of poor transmission. I have a 1900-S Eagle (attachment) that I purchased as a AU58, that is now in a MS60 holder and looks much better than unslabbed. I believe this effect is caused by the disappearance of many small surface marks. Lost because of low transmission and surpression of the optical reflectivity of this coin.


I guess that this problem will not be solved unless the grading services are convinced to use a higher cost optical grade plastic. So if you have an affected coin, only you will know what it really looked like. tongue.gif


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