CAC Education requested
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73 posts in this topic

I'm educating myself about CAC.

For those that'll take the time to read this and constructively respond:

I'm new to the board but a very seasoned collector. I and my associates fully support TPG. Over the last three decades my associates and I have spent just over $300K on TPG. Although there have been times we're not happy about a grading result (just as every collector has experienced) none of us regret a cent we spent with them. Personally just the fabulous quality holders and serial number tracking they provide along with their fantastic databases are worthy of the fees they charge. Their grade opinion (sans gradeflation) is a bonus and, for the most part, pretty darn good (within any given grading standard period in time)!

Furthermore I expect most will cry "CAC bashing" here but sadly that's the cry of the insecure. Those afraid something they think they possess or profit from will be threatened. In fact, although I hope not, I expect to get banned for calling a spade a spade. Never the less I'm posing intelligent, fact-based, reasonable questions and hoping that someone more aware and educated than I apparently am can enlighten me as to what it is I'm missing. PM always welcome!

I see a lot of support for CAC and that most charge and many will pay more for a holder with a sticker on it. Of course dealers and TPG support CAC for plainly obviou$ reasons. I'm hoping to gain intelligent reasoning from fellow collectors, not biased dealers; from the passengers in the bus, not the driver. I'm a huge proponent of self-education and knowledge over purchasing my opinion or external validation for the sake of acceptance so I'm attempting to find the tangible value in CAC as, near as I can tell, it's absolutely nothing more than a purchased, subjective and (by nature of subjectivity) inconsistent opinion. I'm trying to determine if it's manufactured value is based in anything other than exploiting fragile ego's and/or financial greed. There are some things I read that, considering the support of the service by supposed "collectors", confuse me greatly and I'm "hoping" for some intelligent, reasonable explanation from fellow collectors about the following points:

The following are copied directly from CAC's site:

 

 

 

Here’s where I’m stumped. According to CAC a CAC sticker means the coin is (in one person's opinion, in one moment in time) at the A or B level (of A, B or C) of the spectrum of a given grade range (let's remember TPG grade is constantly changing). So, setting aside the RIDICULOUS thought that anyone (emphasis on “one”) could consistently and reliably slice the difference between 65+ and 66 into three sectors (this means being able to accurately and consistently discern a .166 or 1/6th of a grade point difference) on tens of thousands of coins over long periods of time:

1) What is the “standard for today’s selective buyer”? How is it determined? Is there an ANA “today’s selective buyer” standard? Is today's selective buyer different than yesterdays? What about tomorrows? Isn't this nothing more than a unilateral, self-determined and constantly variable, non-committal subjective standard?

2) “It simply means that there are other coins with CAC stickers that are of higher quality for the grade. CAC will eventually reject tens of thousands of accurately graded coins.” Then there is “Occasionally a coin that has previously been rejected for CAC verification is reconsidered by CAC and stickered”. These two statements equal “we reserve the right to function in a consistently inconsistent standard”.

3) What is their point? How can any consumer in their right mind consider this a positive thing? This is old school and there's a word to describe it! What better way in the world to promote your "service only, manufacture/create nothing" business than to purchase your own service? Furthermore in examples like this (where the proprietor is servicing a tangible asset they're paid to service) they're not "purchasing", they're "investing" while driving up demand for their service. They "invested" $600M in an asset they were paid to service....and they still have their $600M asset! Furthermore if they invest "X"% over retail in the items they invested in they've driven the market up "X"% or a good fraction thereof while making their service "appear" to be the reason for the price increase. Now, get dealer networks to play along and wholla...it's a well engineered, no risk, no capitol, no skin in the game massive money machine that the end user funds and ultimately gets bit by. Now, I'm not saying that's what CAC did or is doing. But then there's the 'ol saying "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...well, you know.

How about these:

So, they catalog all the coins that come across the counter. Yet they don't reveal the coins that didn't qualify (in a given moment, on a given day, in the subjective opinion of one person, to be in the top 2/3 of half a grade point) because they're protecting collectors? Really? Is there any thought by other collectors that maybe, just maybe, this is a way to get the same coin coming back over and over every time it changes hands? Another way to make a finite market infinite. Furthermore, beyond the simple arrogance of doing so, isn't publishing "CAC does not want to compromise the value of such a coin by disclosing a negative review by CAC" a blatantly passive aggressive method of telling collectors a coin holder without a sticker on it (let's remember....it could still get a sticker upon the second or third or tenth or hundredth payment since this is all based on the subjective opinion of a human that has no risk) is inferior? And yes, for those looking to justify this with "well _______ does this too" (which is childish anyway) I realize TPG does the same thing. However let's remember that TPG supplies an enormous amount of other tangible assets for the fees they charge! So, even if you don't get the grade you want you get something tangible and valuable for your expenditure.

Lastly, they publish What is that? Is that not the same as "we provide no guarantees", and the same as "we're backed by nothing other than our words"?

All this stated....I get that people can simply "want" and, really, there's no better thing to spend discretionary income on than "want". But as I educate myself about this facet of numismatics and genuine "collecting" I struggle with understanding, or, maybe, just facing ad accepting what the "want" is.

I see posts all the time about "do you think this (already certified and reaping the tangible benefits of TPG) coin will bean" and every single time I ask myself "why do you care". And....I mean that as a genuine question as a fellow passion based caring collector. I ponder; "if it does will you like the coin more"? "If it doesn't will you like the coin less"? And, if the answer to either one of these is yes then it's rooted in one or all of only three toxic things, a disinterest in or too lazy to educate one's self, a very fragile ego or selfish financial greed. None of which are good for the long term well-being of collectors or our hobby. If you answered no to both then you wouldn't care less about a sticker, especially not one that represents one person's opinion (in a single given moment on a single given day) about .166 or 1/6th of a grade point....let alone purchase it or try charge fellow collectors for it.

There's even a prominent dealer that has the nerve to publish (essentially) that any collector or dealer that says they don't submit coins to CAC should be avoided! From what tangible information I can gather any person that doesn't send coins to CAC is likely educated, confident, doesn't need external validation and values integrity far above the acquisition of paper dollars. Therefore they would only be avoided by people afraid of intelligent, confident, hard to BS (and therefore much harder to acquire paper dollars from through installation of fear) integrity-based individuals. Oddly (not really) this same dealer touts CAC as being great because they catch "doctored" coins. No, they don't. They only (just as TPG services do) sometimes catch poorly/unprofessionally doctored coins. This has been proven by submitting certified doctored , oops..."conserved" coins and receiving a sticker every time.

I gotta be missing something somewhere! Or am I?

 

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1 hour ago, Pantel Numis said:

I gotta be missing something somewhere! Or am I?

Nope. You're fine. CAC is a business that lets a coin reseller cherry pick a lot of coins at no cost to him. The reseller also knows where the coins are, who has them and other information that makes buying much faster and cheaper than the typical random process.

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3 hours ago, Pantel Numis said:

I'm new to the board but a very seasoned collector. I and my associates fully support TPG. Over the last three decades my associates and I have spent just over $300K on TPG. Although there have been times we're not happy about a grading result (just as every collector has experienced) none of us regret a cent we spent with them. Personally just the fabulous quality holders and serial number tracking they provide along with their fantastic databases are worthy of the fees they charge. Their grade opinion (sans gradeflation) is a bonus and, for the most part, pretty darn good (within any given grading standard period in time)!

Curiuous as to what coins you collect; if you have PAID the TPGs that much over the years either you and your associates are dealers or you have very substantial (both quantity and quality) coin collections. :) (thumbsu

3 hours ago, Pantel Numis said:

I'm a huge proponent of self-education and knowledge over purchasing my opinion or external validation for the sake of acceptance so I'm attempting to find the tangible value in CAC as, near as I can tell, it's absolutely nothing more than a purchased, subjective and (by nature of subjectivity) inconsistent opinion. I'm trying to determine if it's manufactured value is based in anything other than exploiting fragile ego's and/or financial greed. There are some things I read that, considering the support of the service by supposed "collectors", confuse me greatly and I'm "hoping" for some intelligent, reasonable explanation from fellow collectors about the following points:

If you have no problems with the TPGs, you should have no problem with CAC.  Each is doing essentially the same thing -- except CAC is grading the graders. :)

3 hours ago, Pantel Numis said:

Here’s where I’m stumped. According to CAC a CAC sticker means the coin is (in one person's opinion, in one moment in time) at the A or B level (of A, B or C) of the spectrum of a given grade range (let's remember TPG grade is constantly changing). So, setting aside the RIDICULOUS thought that anyone (emphasis on “one”) could consistently and reliably slice the difference between 65+ and 66 into three secto (this means being able to accurately and consistently discern a .166 or 1/6th of a grade point difference) on tens of thousands of coins over long periods of time:

1) What is the “standard for today’s selective buyer”? How is it determined? Is there an ANA “today’s selective buyer” standard? Is today's selective buyer different than yesterdays? What about tomorrows? Isn't this nothing more than a unilateral, self-determined and constantly variable, non-committal subjective standard?

2) “It simply means that there are other coins with CAC stickers that are of higher quality for the grade. CAC will eventually reject tens of thousands of accurately graded coins.” Then there is “Occasionally a coin that has previously been rejected for CAC verification is reconsidered by CAC and stickered”. These two statements equal “we reserve the right to function in a consistently inconsistent standard”.

I am with you on the absurdity of being able to grade 2 coins 65.4 and 65.7 when we see the same coin types being given grades off by 1 or even 2 grade increments.

No, CAC is pretty much a company which reflects the views of 1 man -- John Albanese -- who certainly has a very good reputation in the business and has decades of experience including with the TPGs.  I've never met him and have never submitted to CAC (or a TPG), FWIW.  Some swear by him....others dislike their coins being devalued by not having CAC stickers.

As one commentator said...if you have problems with the variance in TPG grading for coins, you can't object to CAC.   For some reason, the biggest critics of CAC also bash the TPGs.  Can't have it both ways.  Well, I guess you CAN -- but it doesn't make sense when you think about it. :)

I think CAC's mission originally made sense.  The TPGs were brand new and for the first few years and first few decades of existence there were periods of time when grading standards varied.   No doubt there were coins that were given an MS-65 and some of them could have been low-65 and others very high-65, almost a 66 (maybe should have been a 66 -- but then they would have been WEAK 66's).  CAC provided a 2nd opinion on coins, particularly coins that were subject to "gradeflation" (i.e., Saints), that some people liked.  Others didn't.  To each his or her own.......:)

CAC isn't perfect with their stickering, finding doctored coins, etc.  But it increases the odds you are getting a LEGIT coin that is authentic and consistent with the grade.

Ultimately.....CAC/Albanese is a buyer of CAC coins.  He has no incentive to sticker "crappy" coins since he is going to be buying them back at inflated prices.  CAC eats their own cooking, in other words.

There's some good articles on CAC including one with Maurice Rosen from 2008 or so when CAC first started up (I or someone else may have linked it here).  You can find it on the web and it may answer more of your questions.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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55 minutes ago, Alex in PA. said:

It's things like this that make me believe you are not what you profess to be.  No luck on the CU Forum?

I'm assuming he is who he says he is.  I think his lengthy scribe is somewhat out of order with an individual who does as much business with the TPGs as he says he does (I would think he'd be very familiar with CAC then).....but let's see what his responses are to our responses and questions.

I remember some people here and on CT thought I had an agenda with my postings on Saints and they couldn't have been more wrong. 

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Here’s where I’m stumped. According to CAC a CAC sticker means the coin is (in one person's opinion, in one moment in time) at the A or B level (of A, B or C) of the spectrum of a given grade range (let's remember TPG grade is constantly changing). So, setting aside the RIDICULOUS thought that anyone (emphasis on “one”) could consistently and reliably slice the difference between 65+ and 66 into three sectors (this means being able to accurately and consistently discern a .166 or 1/6th of a grade point difference) on tens of thousands of coins over long periods of time:

CAC does not recognize plus grades or Star grades thus cannot differentiate there, it's only a 65 to them. Also it's easy to understand why some coins get a green been. Not only can coins be more accurately described in a sight unseen exchange (like it or not) it also gives CAC a way to be a market maker by buying coins he has already approved.

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11 minutes ago, numisport said:

"Here’s where I’m stumped. According to CAC a CAC sticker means the coin is (in one person's opinion, in one moment in time) at the A or B level (of A, B or C) of the spectrum of a given grade range (let's remember TPG grade is constantly changing). So, setting aside the RIDICULOUS thought that anyone (emphasis on “one”) could consistently and reliably slice the difference between 65+ and 66 into three sectors (this means being able to accurately and consistently discern a .166 or 1/6th of a grade point difference) on tens of thousands of coins over long periods of time:"

 

NUMISPORT RESPONSE:  CAC does not recognize plus grades or Star grades thus cannot differentiate there, it's only a 65 to them. Also it's easy to understand why some coins get a green been. Not only can coins be more accurately described in a sight unseen exchange (like it or not) it also gives CAC a way to be a market maker by buying coins he has already approved.

Numis is correct.  CAC might be trying to split hairs by 1/3rd of a grade but not 1/6th.

And while I can't vouch for an A, B, and C-type coin for all coin types, we all know at times the grading standards got slack and there are "strong" 65's and "weak" 65's.

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1 minute ago, MarkFeld said:

Based on his same post on other forums and supposedly no follow-up or conversation on his part, it appears that the poster is looking to bash CAC, not receive an education. If, as he claimed, he's a "very seasoned collector" he's had ample opportunity over a long period of time, to get educated about CAC. 

You would think someone would have better things to do than post on a message forum about a company that might be seen by at most a few dozen people. xD

 

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8 hours ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

You would think someone would have better things to do than post on a message forum about a company that might be seen by at most a few dozen people. xD

 

And yet, you indicated that you liked his post.🤭

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Makes me wonder what the next dealer scam will be.

Before TPG's, it was AU if you're selling and MS if you're buying.

Next we had the end of the world, fiat dollar crash alarmists pushing gold which only costs about $950 to dig out of the ground in 2021 dollars.

Then it was the OGH scam where dealers cracked the good ones and hyped what was left.

Now the CAC crisis of grade-inflation & doctored coins.

What will the next grift be? I hope it's something really entertaining :roflmao:

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As I have indicated elsewhere, I see CAC as being powerless and superfluous to force change.  What's really needed is a board of elders with the power to review and overrule a determination, as necessary.  If my cross-grade request is denied or my application for a CAC is shelved, I need an independent court of appeals comprised of members with lifetime appointments with no axe to grind or benefit to derive to examine a coint independent from all outside influence to decide by a simple majority.  Without one, we are spinning wheels and engaging in abominable de-encapsulations.

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2 hours ago, Cat Bath said:

Next we had the end of the world, fiat dollar crash alarmists pushing gold which only costs about $950 to dig out of the ground in 2021 dollars.

All-in-costs are probably closer to $1,300.  CASH costs might be that low or lower....but all the other costs add up.

2 hours ago, Cat Bath said:

Then it was the OGH scam where dealers cracked the good ones and hyped what was left.

When was that ?  Must have been before my time.  I do see that OGH's are advertised as a selling point regardless of the underlying coin.

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2 hours ago, Quintus Arrius said:

As I have indicated elsewhere, I see CAC as being powerless and superfluous to force change.  What's really needed is a board of elders with the power to review and overrule a determination, as necessary.  If my cross-grade request is denied or my application for a CAC is shelved, I need an independent court of appeals comprised of members with lifetime appointments with no axe to grind or benefit to derive to examine a coint independent from all outside influence to decide by a simple majority.  Without one, we are spinning wheels and engaging in abominable de-encapsulations.

...as forrest would say..." ****** is as ****** does".... and this is and does.....

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3 hours ago, zadok said:

...as forrest would say..." ****** is as ****** does".... and this is and does.....

Once again, the Great Zadok has spoken.  It warms the very cockles of my heart knowing at least one collector is deliriously happy with the way things are going in this hobby, or investment scheme, however you choose to view it.

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6 hours ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

All-in-costs are probably closer to $1,300.  CASH costs might be that low or lower....but all the other costs add up.

When was that ?  Must have been before my time.  I do see that OGH's are advertised as a selling point regardless of the underlying coin.

You didn't miss much of anything. It sounds as if that poster might like to toss out the word "scam" and exaggerate.

He has also posted on numerous occasions that he grades Saints differently than CAC does. So far, it doesn't appear to have crippled CAC's business.

Edited by MarkFeld
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On 3/30/2021 at 2:05 PM, RWB said:

RE: "very seasoned collector".

What spices and herbs are used to "season a collector?" Do they have to be brined or marinated before seasoning and roasting? Are there different seasonings for different collectors ...

If this forum is any indication?  Salt.  Plenty of saltiness to go around here.  xD

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1 hour ago, Alex in PA. said:

Ummm, I like a good :slapfight:  

And there is no finer subject to bring out the boxing gloves than CAC.  

u r correct....cac is n will be a continuing subject with a high level of contentiousness...some of which is just because certain persons dont understand the underlying principles that it is based upon...n yes it is a business for profit as r the tpgs....i for one am a big supporter n have n will continue submitting coins on a continuing basis...as with anything with monetary influence the market will ultimately decide if there is warranted value, so far its responding favorably....my forrest reference was directed toward the proposed recourses n not cac, u cant review the review of the review just because u dont like the result....as for a good squabble, its against my principles to step down in weight classes.....

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FWIW, there seem to be 2 complaints about CAC:

(1)  Veteran do-it-yourself graders who don't like CAC for the same reason they don't like the TPGs and/or market grading.

(2)  Folks with nice collections that don't have many or any CAC stickers and feel that their collections are being devalued because they don't have the CAC stamp of approval which will hurt them if they go to sell their coins.  Doesn't mean their coins are the bottom-rung "C" coins...they may in fact have plenty of CAC-worth "A" coins but by not submitting, they won't find out.  And thus, they feel they are unfairly penalized. 

 

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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16 minutes ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

FWIW, there seem to be 2 complaints about CAC:

(1)  Veteran do-it-yourself graders who don't like CAC for the same reason they don't like the TPGs and/or market grading.

(2)  Folks with nice collections that don't have many or any CAC stickers and feel that their collections are being devalued because they don't have the CAC stamp of approval which will hurt them if they go to sell their coins.  Doesn't mean their coins are the bottom-rung "C" coins...they may in fact have plenty of CAC-worth "A" coins but by not submitting, they won't find out.  And thus, they feel they are unfairly penalized. 

 

fairly accurate assessment....there's also the group that dont like cac because their coins didnt get cac'ed, of course they dont like tpgs because their coins didnt get the grades they wanted....as for ur number 2 group, same dilemma of 35 years ago...lots of super collections sitting raw in dansco n whitman albums, what to do cert or not to cert....things evolve, u either go with the evolution or get left behind....personal decisions...

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6 minutes ago, zadok said:

fairly accurate assessment....there's also the group that dont like cac because their coins didnt get cac'ed, of course they dont like tpgs because their coins didnt get the grades they wanted....as for ur number 2 group, same dilemma of 35 years ago...lots of super collections sitting raw in dansco n whitman albums, what to do cert or not to cert....things evolve, u either go with the evolution or get left behind....personal decisions...

I've read that CAC (John A.) is very tough on Saint-Gaudens coins, for instance.  That would be a coin that you would expect periods of time where the TPGs may have "slacked off" (grading standards loosened) because so many of the coins were graded and slabbed for the investment buyers who bought from Blanchard and/or TV infomercials.

Ultimately, there are so many factors that can affect bullion and non-bullion coins that it doesn't pay to worry or complain solely about CAC.  JMHO.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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