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15 posts in this topic

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Hello everyone.


I wanted to copy over a post that I left on the Registry boards for everyone here to see. Your thoughts are most welcome.



I have now been here at NGC for just over a month now and have some observations regarding grading I'd like to share with you.


I'm not sure if the collecting public knows just how difficult it is to find coins graded by NGC with certain designations. Having worked "across the street" and here for a month, it has allowed me to see first hand, just how hard it is for a coin to qualify for certain designations.


For those of you who collect Jefferson Nickels, Franklin Halves, Morgan Dollars, and any proof coin, I want you to know how fortunate you are to have any of these coins with the highest designations affixed to them. NGC clearly adheres to a most rigid standard when employing the Full Step (FS), Full Bell Line (FBL), Deep Proof-Like (DPL), and Ultra Cameo (UCAM) designations to those coins I've mentioned above.


And as such, I want to make clear the standards utilized here at NGC for these coins, so that everyone knows and can make the appropriate comparisons against other services and their standards.


First, any Jefferson Nickel assigned as Full Steps (FS) is required to possess 6 full steps. Other services only require 5 steps for the designation, while others actually specify the number of steps visible.


Second, Franklin Halves designated Full Bell Lines (FBL) must not only have the lowest set of lines along the bottom of the bell be complete (a small allowance of weakness is acceptable to the left of the bell's crack), but the secondary set of lines just above must also be complete (with the same allowance accepted). This is an important feature as I am unaware of any other service requiring this high a standard.


Third, Morgan Dollars achieving the Deep Proof-Like (DPL) designation will only be those coins that possess the deepest mirrors against the frosty device. A coin that truly looks like a proof. There is not a depth gauge for DPL like there is at other services for the very reason that NGC requires the coin to not just be reflective at a certain depth, but the coin must have the clarity of a true proof coin against the whiteness associated with so many proofs.


Fourth, speaking of proofs, the NGC Ultra Cameo (UCAM) is the toughest in the industry. These coins must, like the DPL counterparts, possess the blackest mirrors against the whitest devices. Any shortfall here will preclude the coin from being designated as UCAM.


Which leads me to pose the question to all of the registry participants out there....being that NGC has the strictest of standards for these coins, should NGC graded coins not be so recognized within the body of the Registry?


Think about this and please let me know your thoughts. I certainly know that to complete a Jefferson Nickel collection in FS would be near impossible in NGC holders, FBL Franklins will also be available but difficult for certain dates. While Morgan Dollars might not seem as difficult due to this series being the most certified and therefore the most populated, I would still challenge collectors to assemble a set in DPL to appreciate the difficulty of the set. And lastly, we all know that a proof collection of any type, be it early silver, gold, or post WW-II coinage, will have to be those of the highest quality to achieve the UCAM designation, and as such, are much more difficult to attain.


I look forward to hearing your thoughts.




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I find this very interesting. I had always thought that NGC changed to 5 step to follow the PCGS way.


Why doesn't NGC make this information more public? It would be nice if they let people know that they require "more" for these designations.


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I agree with what I read here. Most of my collection is NGC graded. I have several PCGS and ANACS graded coins as well. I buy what looks nice for the grade. Often, the PCGS graded coin will be more expensive than an equal looking and graded NGC graded coin. I will buy the cheaper one.

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Hmm..I'm kinda confused here-I have several ?? about what are you saying about the Morgans.

It's taken me 30+ years to learn what I know, now I have a new set of standards?


A DMPL now has to be frosty? How heavy? Has to look like a Proof? What kind of Proof? A Deep Cameo, a Cameo or a Brilliant Proof? Do all Morgan Proofs have a reflectability of 4"+ ? Oh, you said there will be no depth gauge!


What about the ones I already have? Can I send them in under the regrade service and get $$ back on the junky ones? Should I just send them back under the reholder service to get my old slabs changed to the new slabs that are supposed to be graded tighter so they will be more valuable?


Does NGC have a Code of Conduct like PCGS does that says dealers can't price accordingly to what generation slab the coin is in?


Is a Full Eagles Beak Morgan next?

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Rick are you suggesting that coins in the designations you mention should be scored higher? If indeed they designations you cite are tougher then it might be logical, but you will hear lots of howling from across the street. wink.gif I'd have to think on this one for a few days.

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I am glad for the info on NGC standards. But I am a little confused about the DPL Morgan grading!? No depth of field? Must look like a proof? Frosted devices? Not all proofs have frosted devices, or deep mirrors. Could you please explain further?



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yes i agree with you within my speciality of the pre 1915 proof deep/ultra cameo coins

yes yes ngc does have a stricter standard

for this designation and this is from my own experience and from what i have seen!!!!!



the above and below COMMENTS ARE ONLY FOR pre 1915 deep/ultra cameo

silver nickel copper proof coins usa!!




and i can say 100% that the ultra cameo designation from ngc is much more consistant than

other major services coins i have seen


there are monster stellar ultra/deep cameo coins at other serivces

and also ngc!

but at other services some/many of their deep/ultra cameo coins pre 1915

are not all there and should only be in cameo holders! whereas ngc has a better overall track record

with their pre 1915 ultra cameo coins!!!!!!!!!!!!


for all the ngc ultra cameo coins i have seen they were all solid ultra cameo to ultra plus coins!!!!!!!!! pre 1915

proof coins!


in fact what i really like about ngc is that i have seen many just cameo coins that ngc called cameo and are

soooooooooo close to ultra it is not funny! so they are priced much less!! $$$$ but to me are so close to

ultra cameo they squeak!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! these are GREAT! coinbs to buy

and also i have seen cameo ngc designated coins get broken out of their respective holders

and get deep/ultra cameo designations at other serivces and i got photos proof positive beyond a reasonable

doubt of this !!!!!! yes yes now there is nothing wrong with that as it is all opinions and i judge the coins

based on my own standards! and i am not saying the coin is cameo or deep/ultra cameo but

as i said above i have proof positive of this! ngc cameo pre 1915 going to deep/ultra cameo designation

at another serivce!!


for me i feel bad for many that buy holders and not coins as sometimes with grading being an art a subjective

art and not a science you have to


buy the coin not the holder!!


sincerely michael and as per the above i am only referring to proof cameo and ultra cameo pre 1915 coins

as this is what i thinki i know........................lol


i think that cameo coins that are near miss ultra cameos in the holders are undervalued great buys!!


i think that currently ultra cameos proofs pre 1915 are undervalued great buys!


and i think the ultimate buy is what i heard someone call a STELLAR ULTRA CAMEO in other words

an ultra cameo that is more than solid but monster deep mirrors and monster plus plus frost!!! and totally white

like they were juat struck yesterday! these coins are the ultimate in

rarity undervalue



90% angles where the fields meet the devices!!

superbly beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! these are ythe coins to buy!!


sincerely submitted by michael


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Hello all,


I want to address the DPL statement so that it is as clear as a DPL coin.


What NGC looks for in determining a Morgan Dollar to be DPL is one that will have mirrored fields. Ideally, it is nice for this mirror to be against a frosty device, but with certain dates we know this will not always be the case. So if we focus just on the fields themselves, the determinant factor is the clarity of the reflection. Consider the following...any mirror in your home is reflective, yet more importantly, clear. This same mirror, if exposed to steam, may still be reflective but has lost its clarity. I use this analogy with Morgan Dollars. If the fields are reflective AND clear, it will warrant the DPL designation. If they appear steamed over either due to striations or the cartwheel effect that signals the transition from DPL to PL, then it will lose the DPL designation.


This is why I don't reference any depth gauge. For choosing a distance does not necessarily dictate the clarity of the reflection. You might be able to see the reflection at a certain distance, but it might not be clear, therefore the DPL may not apply.


I hope that helps to "clear" up the issue. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.



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I read recently that many dealers are "discovering" NGC quality in the areas that you mentioned. These dealers also have commented on how difficult it is to find high-grade NGC slabbed coins in the marketplace or in auctions. Particularly being able to buy these coins at Grey Sheet or lower prices.


After all the sniveling and whining across the street about how crummy NGC grading is. I am gratified to hear you say these things. In great part because you have been there on the other side of the street. I believe that people are closely holding the NGC graded coins.


Thanks for your perspective. Some of us have already experienced some of the issues that you discussed, particularly about consistant standards and high standards for DCAM coins.

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Hi Rick and thanks for the post.


One of my specialty areas is Jefferson nickels, one of the coins you mention. I have commented extensively on this series (The Jefferson nickel series) and find it fascinating from a historical perspective what is to be designated "full steps."


I think that it is fine if there is some small bonus (perhaps equivalent to a star designation) for an NGC graded full step nickel in the registry (it's their registry), but I wouldn't endorse it. However, it is naive to think that this series can be completed with a full set of six step nickels. Furthermore, it is a historical precidence that 5 step nickels are designated full steps. For many dates, a five step nickel is as difficult to find as 6 steps for many other dates. What's more, there are no full step nickels attributed with PCGS or NGC for 1966 (bus. strikes), 67 (bus. strikes), 68-D, 69-D, and 69-S.


In my honest opinion, NGC does not have the right method for full step attribution. They need to recognize the historical precidence of "full step" recognition and also include the step formula on their holders for 5 and 6 step nickels. All nickels simply labeled "full steps" with NGC are automatically recognized as 6 steppers. But PCGS also has 6 step nickels in their holders. I don't bother crossing these and wouldn't even if there was a registry bonus.


So, my answer for a registry bonus is an equivocal "no." At least not until the NGC takes on the task of a full recognition of the "full step" attribute for Jefferson nickels based on the historical and current standards maintained by the collectors of the series and their primary club (the Jefferson Full Step Nickel Club).



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Interesting discussion. I wish that all grading companies would be more open on the exact things they look for in grading. I collect gold mainly, along with a lot of type, so many of these issues don't affect me directly (I don't own any PL or DMPL Morgans, and I have very few certified proofs). As far as the registry goes, I think that things are fine the way they are, however, if you decide to offer bonus points etc. for NGC coins, then it raises some interesting issues. What series would this be limited to? Would you also deduct points from NGC coins if PCGS had a tighter standard (such as modern coins, at least this is what I hear)? If you are going to differentiate holders in weighting, then why don't you allow all holders to be included in the registry (give ANACS a 10% haircut, ICG a 25% haircut, SEGS, PCI a 50% haircut, and ACG a 90% haircut, these percentages are only my suggestion but you get the idea)? I think the issue has the potential to be a very slippery slope if you take that initial step. Just my thoughts.

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Thanks for the response on the DPL Morgans. I have a ANACS DMPL sent in for crossover. I will have to wait and see how that coin comes back!! Thanks...

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RM raised a non-issue about the DMPLs. All he had to say was NGC is going to grade correctly & that if it isn't a DMPL then it aint getting designated as a DMPL. It really ticks me off to see DMPL designations on PL coins & RM's ex-company used to be the worlds worst as far as inconsistancy.

Thank you. smile.gif

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Thanks for the informative post.

I question the strictness of NGC's UCAM designation. I have a complete set of modern 50 cent commemoratives graded by NGC as Pr 69 UCAM. I feel that the device and field on all of the coins have poor contrast for such a high designation. Any feedback?

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