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Is the price premium for PCGS graded coin worth it?

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Here is a question I can't ask over on the PCGS boards. I often see people pay extra for a coin in a PCGS holder over a coin with the same grade in an NGC holder. Is the price premium for PCGS graded coin worth it?


Yes, it is possible one coin as odd toning or is overgraded so the other one is more valuable even though the grades are the same. I am talking about 2 coins that look identicle more or less and have been giving the same grade. You could switch the coins' holders and never tell the difference. Still, I see dealers price the PCGS coin over the NGC coin.


I tend to buy few PCGS graded coins and buy the NGC graded coin instead. I don't work for NGC by the way. smile.gif I just can't pay the difference when I cannot detect a difference.

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As always, "Buy the Coin, not the Holder"


The only "PCGS premium" I'm aware of is from the folks who are competing in the PCGS registry. Obviously, you can buy nice NGC/ANACS coins and cross them, but since this is time consuming and (potentially) expensive, I suppose some folks would rather just pay extra for the PCGS slab than go through that process.


There are some who will tell you that the "crackout artists" are going through the other companies' slabs and trying to cross the nicest coins to PCGS (for the registry guys), which will eventually have the result of the nicest coins being in PCGS slabs.


I understand that some of the guys who focus on toned coins prefer to have their coins slabbed by PCGS, but I'm very unfamiliar with that market.


I mostly collect mid-19th century silver and gold in XF and AU and I don't pay any attention to the Registry sets. So while there's no premium for the holder that I'm aware of, almost all the coins I see are in NGC and ANACS holders.


Personally, for my specialty, I wouldn't pay extra for the holder. I have enough trouble just finding coins I like to worry about the holder!

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In a nut shell.....PCGS plastic should not be owrth more than NGC plastic. If you are buying the coin then you select the nicest one in grade vs worring about who graded it per say....but the market has decided that PCGS is worth more when like coins and grades are compared.


What this tells me is that there are some real bargain in other holders. I am about 50-50 on what I own between PCGS and NGC with a few ANACS thrown in for good measure.

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I am talking about 2 coins that look identicle more or less and have been giving the same grade. You could switch the coins' holders and never tell the difference.




I think you answered your own question with that statement.


IMO paying a premium for a coin just because it is in a PCGS holder is throwing money away. Of course if the coin is high end for its grade or beautifully toned it would be worth a premium, but this would be true no matter what company’s holder the coin is in. Contrary to what some may believe nice coins can be found in other holders. PCGS does not have a monopoly on nice coins.


I have a number of coins that used to be in PCGS holders before I crossed them to NGC. I do this from time to time for one reason and one reason only. I truly like the look of the NGC holder more than any other holder on the market today. I have also crossed NGC coins to PCGS in the past in order to add them to the PCGS registry set I used to have there.


Are these coins any better or worse depending on whose holder they are in? NO, they are the same coins, yet ironically, some who may see the ex. PCGS coins in the NGC holders will think less of the coins because of the holder they are in now.


And what about the ex. NGC coins that were crossed to PCGS? When they were in NGC holders some PCGS collectors might not have given them a sideways glance, but now that they are in a PCGS holder they are worthy of a premium and placement in a top PCGS registry set. Crazy, but hey, if the plastic means that much to someone, more power to them.



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No. I pay a premium for a great coin - period. That can be raw or certified. A person has to become comfortable enough to rely on their own senses to detect the quality of any given coin. Holders and their inserts are good for a basic guide only and serve no purpose beyond that, other than preservation. Their true utility is with sight-unseen (e.g., internet) purchaces, and as guides for beginners in the hobby. All certification services have great coins in their holders and dogs in their holders. PCGS, NGC, and ANACS handle the issues of coin grading well and grade by the same basic standard, therefore none of them have an overwhelming preponderance of over- or undergraded coins in their holders - they are in the range of average for the grade.


Grade stinginess vs. consistency. juggle.gif Consistency wins every time over the long-term.


The insufficiently_thoughtful_person market is large. They buy plastic and little slips of paper. Followers of insert types and plastic are iconoclastic. Does this drive a market? Yes. Is it "worth it"? It's their money.


I like my coins in all forms. By far, my raw collection is larger than my certified collection. I like certified coins for two reasons: preservation and handling. It's fun to share great coins with friends and the world (to me, that's what the registries are all about) and certified coins allow that very readily. The heavy plastic holders also are great protection for the coin.


Okay, I've ranted enough. Hoot

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but the market has decided that PCGS is worth more when like coins and grades are compared.


The people who are paying the rediculous prices for pcgs [#@$%!!!] have nothing or little to do with coins! They are novice buyers, people who are finding other ways to invest their money because the US dollar and stocks have fallen so much and have failed to show a profit. Sadly some wannabe collectors and even a few veteran collectors have jumped onto this band wagon as well. I made a comment to DLRC in another thread concerning two coins that they have up for sale at $250 each. What doesn't help matters is the fact that pcgs has this coin listed as a $500 coin in MS65FS and there's 111 of them certified at this grade! These large auction houses haven't helped matters either as they are, some how, catering to a whole new breed of folks who do not have a clue as to what they are buying and so they rely on the next best thing.............someone's opinion!



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This thread is interesting and informative for me. I am one of the novice collectors who makes my purchases based on eye-appeal and affordability. However, I don't think that I have paid unrealistically high prices for my acquisitions.


I don't know if I am comparing apples to oranges, so don't shoot me! , but according to recent greysheets, NGC bid levels on certified coins have been running slightly higher than PCGS. If I'm "off on a tangent", please tell me.


By the way, I like slabs because there is less risk of damage or contamination, but I have raw coins, too. I just have to make sure that they are put away when the nieces and nephews are around. Also, I prefer NGC slabs. In my reading of other threads, I've concluded that the general consensus is that NGC's grading standards are a little stricter. I think that's good, because at least I'll know that a coin has received a fair and unbiased grade.


Thanks to everyone!



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Buy the coin, not the holder is always good advice. The only time I have ever paid extra to get coins in PCGS holders is in maintaining a very inexpensive set of PCGS PR69DCAM Silver state quarters. I buy them in PCGS holders just so they will look nice and neat in PCGS boxes. 98% of all those proof quarters ever minted were PR69DCAM and they will never be worth more than $20 apiece even if you live to be 150.


For any other coin I will buy either major brand, and sometimes ANACS coins present a good value opportunity.

Never buy raw coins off EBAY. For every one time you get lucky you will be burned 9 times.

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I truly like the look of the NGC holder more than any other holder on the market today.

- John


PCGS, NGC, and ANACS handle the issues of coin grading well and grade by the same basic standard, therefore none of them have an overwhelming preponderance of over- or undergraded coins in their holders - they are in the range of average for the grade.

- Hoot


Also, I prefer NGC slabs. In my reading of other threads, I've concluded that the general consensus is that NGC's grading standards are a little stricter.

- Chris



I agree with the sentiments above. Generally, I have found that great coins can be found in any of the majors' slabs. But I like the look and quality of the NGC product. I won't pay a significant premium for the slab, but the coin is another story. acclaim.gif

You are going to pay some differential over an unslabbed coin...not value added, but the reality of the cost of certification being added to the process.

- Mike

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I like NGC's predictability. I have a good idea how they'll grade the stuff I submit. PCGS is OK too, but slower and more expensive. One thing I'd add to the already great commentary regarding holder values is that in the end, the numbers and holders don't matter to the collector (or they shouldn't). Certification is meant to provide credibility to the seller in sight unseen transactions, or comfort to those who are unsure of the coin's merit. I'm not interested in buying sight-unseen without a return policy anyway. As a collector, the coin matters most. If you think it's stellar and would look great in your set, do you care if it's a 64 or a 65, or if it's wrapped in brand x's plastic or an airtite. The holder is incidental. JMO There are many things that will take a coin from MS70 to MS65. Perhaps it's marks, maybe subdued luster, maybe ugly toning, maybe weak strike. Perhaps you like full strike coins with great luster better than weakly struck mark free coins, or vice-versa. QD Bowers had it right when he said the holder grade was the starting point, not the end point. Sorry for the long winded post. To directly answer your question, I wouldn't pay a premium for any holder. I like the TPG's, and appreciate their talent, but I'll spend my money based on my likes and dislikes.

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I pretty much agree with all of the sentiments expressed by others.


I do not play the registry game at PCGS. So I will never have to pay moon money to compete. I had a few sets listed at one time but not now. It got to the point where it just wasn't fun.


I try to live by the creed of buying the coin and not the holder. I will pay extra for a coin from time to time but it is for the look of the coin and not the holder that it is slabbed in.


My collection is close to 50 - 50 with NGC and PCGS.





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I have noticed premiums on pcgs coins and there are a few reasons.A big one would be time because pcgs is just plain slow when you want a coin graded.Take a modern coin for example ngc takes about 11 days anacs 5 days even icg is 21 days.Fater turnaroud means more profit pcgs grading means you have to wait over a month and sit on the coin.Also there may be less pcgs coins in many series remember supply and demand!

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The PCGS registry is what drives the price higher for certain PCGS graded coins. Common date PCGS MS67 Buffalo nickels for example can sell for double what an identical NGC graded nickel will sell for. I for one don't pay the premium.

Now the one exception is NGC * coins will hold their own against any PCGS coin of the same grade.

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I've not read a single post to this thread. I will at a later date but I don't need to know what others have said in order to answer the question.


Is the price premium for PCGS graded coins worth it?


Doesn't matter if it is or not, any time you buy one or sell one, you'll pay or receive a premium for the PCGS slab. It is perceived by most as the king of the grading companys regardless. However, this may change very shortly! They've tightened up their grading standards across the board by up to 2 points in the last 4 months. Many on the PCGS forums are refusing to submit to them any more and I suspect NGC will benefit from this. Should PCGS ever ease back to previous standards, this will be perceived as just as bad as the first waffle. Where will that leave all the collectors that want to submit coins? Scratching their heads wondering what grades they'll get. Is this the attitude one wants towards a TPG when submitting? I don't think so.


Thus they've really shot themselves in both feet this time. They'll be dam*ed if they do go back and dam*ed if they don't. Either way, I foresee a NGC premium soon exceeding PCGS.



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I think the myth that "PCGS coins are worth more" is perpetrated by a select few individuals who either really don't know any better, or have some sort of agenda. I can give you my take on this from the other (selling) side of the table.


I price coins simply marked up according to what I pay, and for me, what demands a premium is when the coin has some particularly attractive characteristic. That could be a superior strike, special originality, or booming luster. I have never added a markup due to the brand on the holder.


I can give you a quick anecdote from this part weekend. I had three 1895 Liberty nickels in stock, two in MS-63, a PCGS and an NGC. The PCGS coin is priced at $225, and the NGC coin at $210. A customer came up and asked me the same question you ask: Is the PCGS coin marked $15 higher just because of the holder?


What's irksome is that he asked this question without even examining the coins! As it turned out, the coin in the PCGS holder was a bit better struck, with better reverse detail, and in my opinion, that warranted a $15 premium. The price differential had nothing to do with PCGS vs. NGC. After I pointed out this difference, and explained why, to some collectors, it is worth paying a little more for a better coin, he grasped my point, and bought the coin.


I'll give one more related example. I have two 1900 LibNicks, both in indentical-grade NGC MS-64 holders. But one is priced at $220, and the other at $285! Why a $65 difference? Because the cheaper coin has no kernels of corn showing on the left-hand side of the reverse wreath, while the other coin is quite close to being 100% fully struck! I paid over sheet for the nicer coin, and it deserves to be priced that way.


So to me, it's rather silly to price identical coins differently due to differences in grading company. But it always makes sense to apply a premium to a coin that is demonstrably superior due to some technical reason.



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Like Hoot mentioned the Consistancy vs. Conservative grading is an issue that has been brought up many times at these boards (especially across the street). There has always been this underlying thought that somehow the more Conservative the better. I've never understood why or how this is somehow better. All you'd have to do is adjust the price you pay for the coin depending on the holder.


Of course, this doesn't mean much if the Conservative grading service is Inconsistant. Then it would be very hard to tell whether the coin is worth any premium because the so-called Conservative grading is all over the place.


MacDonald's can put out a consistant hamburger (whether you like it or not) because their process is set in stone. But a TPG has the difficult task of creating a consistant grading scale for each person that grades the coins. It is almost an impossible task because each person has a subjective way at looking at coins. Then when you consider the high turn-over in personnel at these TPG's I just don't believe you can be 100% or possibly even 90% consistant over time. It changes....just as the crack out artists.


But there is that "perception" out there that somehow PCGS's grading is better. Therefore many correctly graded NICE coins get cracked and sent to PCGS. This would have an over-all effect of making it look like PCGS graded coins are "nicer" somehow. We have to remember however, PCGS does not MAKE coins. They just grade them. But so as long as there is that perception (from wherever it comes from) the "snowball" effect will continue.



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Very interesting thread.


Here's a newbie question...

Who sets the grading standards?

I would think that it's the ANA.


I've bought many nice FS Jeffs in ANACS holders (good deals) on eBay and I've not been dissapointed. Any raw Jeffs that I think are worth submitting, go to NGC. I too like their holders and, more importantly, have 5FS & 6FS designations.


Moreover, I agree with spy88. I've been very happy with the turnaround and service of NGC and they will get most (if not all) of my submissions in the near future.

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Answer to the newbee question: Yes an ANA committee did set and write up the stands, which were subsequently adopted by PCGS in 1986 but with their definition of GEM MS 67 roughly equivalent to the new MS 65. These standards were carried over to NGC by former PCGS people, where they initially were about a 1/2 grade even tighter. A few years later they were about the same, with the exception of post 1932 coins where there are still big differences.

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here is a quote from an article i wrote...it does make all the sense in the world....but then again...there are a lot of not so smart people out here








6) A little ditty...AND VERY IMPORTANT...there were 3 collectors and they all had equal talent and were all very good numismatists. In fact they were so equal with their abilities they were like clones. Anyway one collected only PCGS coins and one collected only NGC coins and the third guy bought both.Well after 10 years I have to tell you the third guys collection blew the other two guys collections away. The moral to the story is buy the coin not the plastic.It kills me to see guys fighting with one hand tied behind their back.You can`t build a Picaso closing your eyes to half the coins out there.The registry has been a great thing for the hobby and everyone I know had under estimated it`s impact on the market. But all is not positive, because it has spurned a host of clones who are like sheep that haven`t even thought about my little ditty above and I`ll be dammed if I know why not.So turn the lights, on buy the coin not the plastic and don`t stick your head in the sand and tie one of your hands behind your back because if you do...IT WILL SHOW WHEN YOUR DONE. And if PCGS wont let you in..dont go there. Thats why i am not there now ...how dare they tell me to fight with one hand tied behind my back!

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