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Category: NGC

NGC Launches Online Verification for Mobile Devices

New tool allows collectors to verify NGC certifications anytime and anyplace using a cell phone or PDA

ngc_mobileNumismatic Guaranty Corporation introduces NGC Mobile, a new mobile site that allows collectors to verify an NGC certification on cell phones, PDAs and other mobile devices. This site can be accessed from any mobile browser at

This new site is part of NGC’s ongoing initiative to provide the highest level of protection to coin collectors. In late 2008, NGC introduced a high-security holder and began photographing all tier-level submissions. These images were made available using a web-accessible verification tool early in 2009. Now this new mobile site makes it possible to verify the authenticity of any NGC-certified coin using a mobile device, anywhere at anytime.

NGC Mobile is free to use, open to all, and very easy to use. Step-by-step instructions are also available on NGC’s website.

Steve Eichenbaum, CEO of NGC, comments, “The series of enhanced security services that NGC has introduced offer a level of protection never before available in the rare coin marketplace. Not only do they expand the preference for NGC-certified coins, but they also add to the enjoyment of collectors pursuing their hobby.”

NGC Mobile is fully compatible with cell phones and other devices that use Wireless Application Protocol, a platform chosen to ensure the site functions on the broadest possible range of devices. Additionally, each page load consists of only 1kb of data, and images are less than 25kb, optimizing the site in areas where high-speed coverage is not available and responsibly managing bandwidth usage.

Collectors desiring addition information about NGC Mobile and other services from NGC are invited to contact NGC Customer Service by emailing or by calling toll-free at 1-800-NGC-COIN (642.2646).

Special Offering of NGC-Certified Coins in Maison Palombo Auction 8

ngc_french_auction_112909The November 28 auction includes a rich offering of NGC-certified European and South American coins

French dealers and auctioneers Maison Palombo offer a rich assortment of high-quality World coins in their upcoming Auction 8. The auction will be held at the Palais de la Bourse, Marseille, France, on Saturday, November 28, 2009. All 982 lots can be seen online at Palombo Auction 8.

Nearly 400 lots included in the sale have been certified by NGC, making this one of the largest offerings of certified coins in a European auction this year. Included is the continuation of the collection of Monsieur le Chanoine Léon Matagne.

Numismatic author and one of the founding members of the European Numismatic Alliance, Matagne assembled an important collection of Belgian coins and a number of elusive patterns from his collection are featured in the sale.

Several important South American coins from the Caballero de las Yndias collection are offered, and, as with previous Palombo sales, there is an extensive group of exceptional quality French coins.

Click here to view selected Highlights at NGC

NGC Certifies Classic South American Gold Coin Rarity

The unique Ecuador 1862 50 Francos will be auctioned in January as part of Heritage’s Signature World Coin Auction in New York.

ngc_equador_unique_101509NGC recently certified the unique Ecuador 1862 50 Francos struck in gold. This classic rarity of 19th-century South American coinage is an experimental denomination that conforms to the European coinage standards of the era. It is graded NGC AU 55.

The coin first appeared in published texts in 1956, offered by Robert Friedberg in the November issue of The Numismatist from that year. Scholars believe that he acquired the coin from the Virgil Brand estate. After four more auction appearances between 1957 and 1976, it was sold into a private collection where it has remained since.

Although originally listed in Standard Catalog of World Coins as “unique” alongside the regular issue coinage of Ecuador, it was re-catalogued as a pattern coin in 1986, and this reference number is provided on the NGC certification holder. Although its exact origin and occasion for issue are uncertain, a related 5 Francos silver coin was struck for circulation in Ecuador in 1858. That coin contained 25 grams of 900 fine silver — identical weight and fineness to the 5 Francs and other crown-sized European silver coinage.

Some speculate that the coin was produced at the Paris Mint because an “A” mintmark appears beneath the bust of Bolivar. The quality of die engraving, however, seems incompatible with the superior work of Albert Desire Barre, who engraved for the Paris mint at the time, and best evidence suggests that dies were executed in Ecuador. The coin’s obverse shows a profile bust of South American liberator Simón Bolívar, and the reverse displays the coat of arms of Ecuador, above QUITO, the capital city and location of Ecuador’s mint.

After being off the market for three and a half decades, this coin will be auctioned on January 3–4, 2010, as part of Heritage’s Signature World Coin Auction in New York.

NGC Certifies Coins of the Famed Chipping Norton Hoard

Discovered by chance, these coins are an important find, being of great historic significance. NGC was pleased to evaluate and provide protection for these great treasures.

norton_hoard_ngcNGC recently graded a number of gold Unites of the British monarch James I (1603–1625) from the Chipping Norton Hoard, discovered in the 1980s in an undisclosed location near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England.

The cache contained 59 gold Unites, 54 of which were struck in England and the remaining five from Scotland. It was discovered by chance in an old cellar as workmen excavated a foundation for a new building. Unaware of the significance or value of the find, the coins were given to a builder’s 10-year-old grandson, who kept them in a shoebox for years.

In 2005 the grandson took the coins to an appraisal event where the coins were examined by auctioneers Morton and Eden and the hoard was reported to the British Museum. Since the coins were found before the Treasure Act of 1996, two of the 59 coins were kept by the British Museum and the remaining 57 coins were returned to the owner, who subsequently sold them at a Morton and Eden auction held in London on June 9, 2009.

The hoard is significant because of the large sum of money it comprised at the time the coins were struck. Each of the 59 gold coins had the value of 20 shillings until 1612, and later that value was adjusted to 22 shillings. Records of salaries from the period are scant, but a church clerk might earn the equivalent of two gold Unites during an entire year. In other words, the hoard represented nearly 30 years of earnings. Even the gold bullion value of the hoard — which weighed about 15.5 ounces — is approximately $15,000 in today’s market.

Finest Known 1829 Half Dime Variety Discovered by NGC

Posted by David W. Lange, Research Director on NGC

ngc_1829_hcA recent grading submission to NGC included a mix of miscellaneous gold and silver coins, one of which was an 1829 half dime for which the submitter requested VarietyPlus attribution. It took just a moment or two to identify its obverse by the distinctly repunched top to numeral 1 in its date. Obverse 4 in Federal Half Dimes 1792-1837, by Russell J. Logan and John W. McCloskey, this die is known in various states and paired with no less than six reverse dies. Only a couple minutes more were spent in determining which die pairing was involved, as the reverse die bears distinctive pitting on the underside of the banner carrying the Latin motto—LM-18 it is. That’s where things got really fun.

The vast majority of half dime attributions made at NGC turn out to be common varieties. This is true because submitters tend to seek attribution for high grade coins alone, the ones most likely to be of common varieties (when rare varieties are knowingly submitted they often fail to qualify for numeric grading, and coins given Details Grading alone don’t appear in our census). As this coin had already been graded MS-64 by the first NGC grader who had seen it, I was expecting yet another type coin issue. Instead, I was pleased at just how scarce this variety is in high grades. The Logan/McCloskey reference implies that the finest known is an About Uncirculated coin seen in a 1991 auction. Since their book was published more than ten years ago, could it be possible that this information was obsolete?

I then started reading backwards in past issues of The John Reich Journal until I found what I was seeking—the most recent survey of notable half dime collections (May 2008). Here was confirmation of this R-5 variety’s rarity in high grades—the best coins known among the top collections were three entries grading AU-58. As soon as this newly discovered specimen was finalized and encapsulated by NGC as MS-64, I notified the delighted owner, who was unaware of its significance until then and wishes to remain anonymous.

This coin is well struck from a slightly earlier die state than that of the plate coin in Logan/McCloskey. The die crack that connects stars 3-4 to the rim at two places is less developed, though all other features are similar to the plate coin. It has light, milky toning overall, with flecks of gold within the reverse legend and steel gray toning on both rims.

NGC Announces Details Grading to Begin September 1, 2009

Starting September 1, 2009, NGC will begin encapsulating coins with detrimental surface conditions using details grades and descriptions of their impairments. This service will be provided automatically for all NGC grading tier submissions at no additional service charge. The authenticity of details graded coins will be covered by the updated NGC Coin Grading Guarantee, and coins graded under this program will be encapsulated with a distinctive purple NGC Details Grading label.

Coins that previously would have been returned ungraded by NGC, as so-called “No Grades,” will now be assigned a details grade that accords with their level of surface wear, such as VG DETAILS or XF DETAILS, when submitted for grading. Coins that have no wear but still display a problem surface condition will be labeled as UNC DETAILS or, in the case of Proof coins, simply PROOF. Following the details grade will be a description of the noteworthy surface condition, including, for example, Improperly Cleaned, Artificial Color, Environmental Damage and Tooled. A detailed guidebook available in hard copy and on NGC’s Web site called Understanding NGC Details Grading will define all the terms used by NGC to describe these surface conditions.

“NGC Details Grading allows us to provide the best experience possible for our submitters. Now as many coins as possible will be returned certified and encapsulated, meaning that they are covered by the NGC Guarantee. NGC Details Grading also provides comprehensive descriptive information for coins with surface problems, making them easier to buy and sell,” comments Rick Montgomery, President of NGC.

Once this service option begins on September 1, 2009, coins submitted to NGC will be graded either numerically (if they have acceptable surfaces) or with Details Grading, at the discretion of NGC’s grading team. It is not necessary for the submitter to declare which service is desired, as this will be determined automatically by NGC. While new NGC submission forms will permit submitters to opt out of Details Grading in favor of simply having the coin returned unholdered, NGC believes that its Details Grading certifications will find broad acceptance in the coin market. This opt-out feature is available on a submission-by-submission basis by checking the appropriate box on the submission form, or an account holder may arrange to make this opt-out feature automatically applied to all submissions on his account. (more…)

NGC Ancients Grades Armenian Rarity

A box of “old coins” purchased for $28.25 at an estate sale near Burlington, VT held an unexpected surprise: its contents are estimated to be worth more than $15,000 because it included one of the most important Armenian coins in existence.

It was Richard Martineit’s good fortune to be at that auction in October, 2007, where more than 1500 lots were sold in two days. One that caught his eye was lot 1597, a group of 13 coins in a box labeled “Roman & Ancient pieces.” It contained a variety of silver and base metal coins issued from the 3rd Century B.C. to the 11th Century A.D. Highlights included a Roman silver denarius of 41 B.C. with the portraits of warlords Marc Antony and Octavian, and three coins struck by Greek and Roman rulers of Egypt.

Seeking proper identifications and grading, Martineit sent his coins to NGC Ancients, a branch of the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) dedicated to coins of the ancient world. On his submission form, the last three coins were described by the submitter as issues of the Byzantine Empire. Each had an image of Christ on the obverse and an inscription on the reverse. It was soon discovered that only two of them were Byzantine, and one in fact was Armenian.

The prize coin was an Armenian bronze follis of “Kiurike the Kouropalates” from the 10th or 11th Century A.D. Modeled after contemporary coins of the Byzantine Empire, it belongs to the first coinage with Armenian inscriptions. Martineit’s example is perhaps the finest of the 19 known, and its inscription has an unusual arrangement that until now may not have been documented.

“Even through I owned that box lot for 15 months I never looked at the three coins I identified as Byzantine until I mailed them to NGC,” Martineit says. “In fact, I bought the lot for the other coins and I was not going to send in those three coins until I realized I could never find a value for them until I knew what they were. So I added them to the submission at the last minute.”

As it turns out, one of these three coins was a hidden treasure. (more…)

New NGC Submission Center Opens in China

In Guangzhou, China, a new company has been established to operate a submission center for Certified Collectibles Group companies, NGC, NCS and PMG. Guangzhou National Standard Numismatic Collection Grading Co., Ltd opened formally in June 2009 and is now accepting submissions. The new organization is allied with the Guangdong Province Coin Collection Association, the most active and widely-known numismatic association in China.

A submission center serves dual roles. First, they assist both collectors and dealers with the submission process, handling international transport and insurance to Certified Collectibles Group (CCG) headquarters in Sarasota, Florida. Second, in the countries that they operate, they provide information about certification services provided by CCG.

“Removing barriers and making it easy to send collectibles to us for certification from anywhere in the world is a central component of our growth internationally. Already, considerable interest is being shown for certified coins and currency in China and we are very fortunate to have formed this partnership with an exceptional group of professionals in Guangzhou,” comments Steve Eichenbaum, CEO of Certified Collectibles Group.

In China, easy access to professional certification services will help the market expand and develop. Already among coin collectors, the Chinese market has emerged as an important segment, due in part to the considerable popularity of the Chinese Panda bullion program and the innovative 22-coin Beijing Olympics commemorative program. (more…)

Hobby Leaders Discuss Anti-Counterfeiting Actions

(Long Beach, California) – Leaders of five of the hobby and profession’s most influential organizations are launching a multi-pronged consumer awareness and protection campaign against counterfeit numismatic items sold and imported from China and elsewhere. The organizations in alphabetical order are the American Numismatic Association (ANA), the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA), Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG).

Leaders of five major numismatic hobby and professional organizations met in Long Beach, California on May 27, 2009 to discuss possible consumer education and law enforcement actions to curtail imports and sales of counterfeit coins. From left to right: Scott Schechter, CCG/NGC; Armen Vartian, PNG; Don Willis, PCGS; Jeff Garrett, PNG; Diane Piret, ICTA; Raymond Gregson, Jr., retired I.R.S. criminal investigation special agent; Fred Weinberg, ICTA; Barry Stuppler, ANA; Robert Brueggeman, PNG; and Gary Adkins, PNG. Not pictured: meeting moderator Donn Pearlman. (Photo credit: Donn Pearlman.)

Representatives of the five groups participated in a preliminary teleconference call on May 7, 2009, and then met in Long Beach, California on May 27 to discuss a coordinated plan of action. The groups recognize that counterfeiting can’t be completely stopped, but that efforts can be made to reduce the easy availability of fakes and to educate coin buyers about common sense ways to avoid unwittingly purchasing them.

They agreed to pursue a three-part strategy as a group and/or as individual organizations: initiate consumer education and protection programs including online resources to reach the casual coin-buying public who are not part of the mainstream numismatic community; aggressively attempt to compel online auction sites to be more responsive to complaints about fraudulent listings of fake certification services’ holders and replica coins that are in violation of The Hobby Protection Act; and utilize ICTA’s extensive experience in Washington, DC to explore possible criminal actions by federal law enforcement agencies against importers and sellers of illegal numismatic items. (more…)

Certified Gold and Authenticated Bullion: Two New Services from NGC

NGC is introducing two new certification services for coins that derive their value primarily from their metal content.

NGC is introducing two new certification services for coins that derive their value primarily from their metal content. They are NGC Certified Gold and NGC Authenticated Bullion. These services vary from NGC’s conventional numismatic services by using very accessible language to describe coins and their metal content specifically. As with other NGC services, once certified, coins are encapsulated in NGC’s archival-quality holder. Both new services are available to NGC Authorized Dealers under the bulk submission program.

A major goal of these services is to increase the availability of protection against the proliferation of counterfeit precious metal coinage. All coins certified under these programs are backed by a guarantee of authenticity from NGC. Additionally, all coins certified by NGC receive a unique serial number. This is important because it allows owners of certified coins to keep precise records of their holdings, even when coins are stored offsite or by a third-party depository.

Rick Montgomery, NGC President, comments: “We are very excited to offer these new products. Just as certification has done for graded classic coinage, NGC Certified Gold and NGC Authenticated Bullion will make it easier for individuals to buy and sell precious metal coins. We also believe that these products can make these types of coins appealing and accessible to the broadest possible audience.”

The first of these programs is NGC Certified Gold. In addition to a description of the enclosed coin, included on the certification label is its pure metal weight. These coins are also provided a written grade description that is fully transcribed and not abbreviated. For example, a coin may be described as, “Extremely Fine,” and corresponding explanations of grading terminology can be found on NGC’s website. NGC believes that this plain descriptive language can be more easily understood by novice and first time coin buyers. (more…)

A New Service Proves You Don’t Need “Proof” For Gold in Your IRA

Lafayette, CO (PRWEB) May 13, 2009 — When a retirement investor wants to buy gold or other precious metals through their IRA, metals dealers frequently sell “proof coins” noting that proof American Eagles are specifically allowed by the IRS. These “proof coins” usually cost an additional 20-25% beyond the value of the coin itself and are not required for a self-directed IRA, according to Bill Humphrey, CPA and Vice President of Entrust New Direction IRA, Inc, a self-directed IRA/401(k) administrator. The investor may be having their IRA pay for the wrong proof.

New Certified Bullion Coin No longer will retirement investors need to pay 20-25% extra. First State Depository, which provides precious metal storage, is now working with Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the industry leader in coin certification, to offer a new service which provides proof of the metal content and purity of the coin for much less than the cost of “Proof” Gold Eagles.

Humphrey said, “People who buy gold with their IRAs are often not given the option of non-proof coins.” Often, the proof coin seems more valuable because of the description of a specialized minting process and the special mounting and special plastic capsule that the coin is shipped in. Humphrey explained, “Proof coins are not required for IRAs and often cost significantly more than the equivalent non-proof coin containing the exact same amount of metal. IRA owners investing in Gold coins with IRA funds should make sure they understand what they are buying.”

According to Humphrey, clients wanting the guarantee of gold content of the coins may want to look at a new service offered by First State Depository, a company which provides precious metal storage. First State is working with Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the industry leader in coin certification, to offer a service which provides proof of the metal content and purity of the coin for much less than the cost of Proof Gold Eagles. (more…)

NGC Launches New Learning Resource – Coin Grading Guide

The dozens of articles which comprise “From One to Seventy” were written by NGC Research Director David W. Lange and originally ran in The Numismatist, the monthly journal of the American Numismatic Association. Dave has now updated them all for NGC’s website.

David W. LangeThese studies of each and every USA coin type provide a technical and aesthetic review of the design’s characteristics, and suggestions are included for locating ideal type coin examples. If you want to become more fully acquainted with America’s coinage, these articles written by someone who has handled the full spectrum of federal coin types will be invaluable. NGC is pleased to bring this resource online.

In its more than 200 years of producing coins, the United States Mint has created dozens of coin types across numerous denominations. Some of these denominations are now obsolete, the coins which represented them having long ago passed from circulation. Each, however, remains an object of great interest to collectors, yet useful information about the technical aspects of these coins and tips on selecting the optimum specimens may not easily be found in print.

Each entry featured a different type of United States coin, and Dave shares with readers his insights into the technical and aesthetic qualities that defined it, while also providing helpful tips to guide collectors in selecting examples which best represented that particular design. These columns have now been thoroughly updated and are presented here for the benefit of NGC’s customers.

View the Coin Grading Guide Here

Certified Collectibles Group Forms Strategic Alliance in Taiwan

Certified Collectibles Group (CCG) has formed an exclusive partnership with iAsure Group and the Taipei Numismatic Society (TNS) to operate a coin and currency submission center in Taiwan. Key in this alliance is the expected growth of CCG certification and conservation in the critical Southeast Asia coin and currency markets. Collectors and dealers in the Taiwan region will realize increased efficiencies via a pre-screening service with the capability to expedite shipments of numismatic collectibles to CCG in the USA.

”We’re very proud to partner with TNS and iAsure, market leaders in Southeast Asia, to make CCG’s services more accessible than ever before. CCG is committed to expanding our business into the Asian market and this further solidifies our leadership position in Southeast Asia. This new submission center provides collectors safe and secure handling of their coins as well the benefit of our guarantee and certification expertise which is preferred worldwide,” comments Steven R. Eichenbaum, CCG Chief Executive Officer.

CCG, through its member organizations, provides industry-leading grading and conservation services for the collectibles market. Among those working under the banner of CCG to build confidence in the collectible markets is Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the leading coin certification company having graded more than 16 million coins. Additionally, Numismatic Conservation Services (NCS), the only professional agency devoted to the conservation of coins and medals, and Paper Money Guaranty (PMG), the leading currency certification company, will add their trusted names to this exciting partnership.

TNS is the oldest and most active numismatic association in Taiwan. Established in 1978, the principle objective of TNS is to develop cultural research in Chinese numismatics to build and support the continual growth of the Asian coin market. TNS is an active publisher of coin journals and newsletters as well as the host of numerous trade seminars and exhibitions. Having received the highly regarded approval of Taiwan’s Ministry of Finance, members of TNS include prominent collectors and dealers. Currently, the Society’s president is Mr. Chou Chien Fu. (more…)

NGC-Graded Coins Shatter European Auction Records

NGC AncientsThe first grading project of NGC Ancients and a select group of just over one hundred NGC-graded World coins highlighted a Geneva auction conducted by Numismatic Genevensis SA on December 2 and 3, 2008.

The recently completed sale realized 31.1 million Swiss Francs ($25.6 million), the highest ever for a non-US coin auction. More than 300 of the finest coins in the sale were graded by NGC, the only third-party grading service represented.

“The success of this sale was really about its great coins. Great coins are always eagerly sought by collectors around the world, and they can recognize important opportunities to acquire rare pieces. Additionally, NGC certification provides buyers with an additional sense of comfort that coins have been evaluated by independent third-party experts,” comments Alain Baron of Numismatica Genevensis SA.

All the coins evaluated by NGC in the record-setting auction received the pedigree GENEVENSIS V. The clear standout lot was a brass Sestertius of the Roman emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138) bearing a portrait engraved by the celebrated ‘Alphaeus Master.’ The coin is graded NGC ChAU. Strike: 5. Surface: 5. Fine Style. It had not traded publicly since the landmark 1990 Sotheby’s sale of the Hunt Collection where it fetched $214,500 – at the time an astonishing price for a coin of this type. However, it pales in comparison to the robust 2.3 million Swiss Francs ($1.9 million) it traded for in Geneva on Wednesday. This is the highest price ever paid for an ancient coin in public auction. (more…)

Prestigious European Coin Auction Looks to U.S. Experts for Success

Venice, 4 Sequins 1571, CNI-VII 235 Var., NGC MS 62An unprecedented collaboration between a European coin seller and a U.S. certification company is the latest evidence that the international collectible coin market is booming. Numismatica Genevensis SA (NGSA), one of the leading European rare coin auction houses has contracted Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) to certify approximately 300 of the 1,500 pieces, including many ancient coins, being offered in its December 2-3 auction in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Without question this is one of the most impressive sales of ancient coins in recent memory,” says David Vagi, Director of NGC Ancients. “The quality is outstanding, and there are some important rarities that will attract serious bidding.”

Relatively new to the international collectible coin market, independent third-party certification has become a major factor in the U.S. in determining a coin’s value by evaluating and documenting its condition. According to industry resources, the collectible coin market has experienced a near 20-year growth cycle virtually unaffected by broader economic cycles. As a result, coin collectibles have blossomed into a $10 billion dollar industry in the United States. Coin certification is credited for much of that growth.

As coin certification gains traction in Europe, a similar trend is expected and may already be impacting the market based on the recent sale of an NGC certified Russian coin that sold for $2.4 million, a record for a world coin. In May, the world coin Millenia collection, featuring all NGC certified coins, produced record prices realized and overall sales. Both auction and coin certification experts expect the NGSA auction to set several records and establish new benchmarks for graded European coins. Industry experts are anticipating the event to gauge the resiliency of the industry in light of recent global economic events.

The 300 NGC certified coins in the auction include ancient specimens from the Roman Empire, the Roman Imperatorial, the Roman Republic, Ancient Greece and the Celtic region. Other examples from the 1600s to early 20th century originate from Albania, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Denmark, Spain, France, England, Greece, Holland, Italy, Poland, Russia and Switzerland.

NGC to Launch Services for Ancient Coins

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the world’s leading coin certification service, has announced that it will be offering comprehensive services for ancient coins beginning January 1, 2009.

Ancient Greek and Roman CoinsThe new division, NGC Ancients, will be led by David Vagi, author of Coinage and History of the Roman Empire and an ancient coin specialist since 1990. NGC Ancients will certify most coins struck in the Western World through circa A.D. 500, as well as coins of the Byzantine Empire. Later world coins eligible for NGC services will continue to be graded by NGC under its world coin program.

“For more than a decade, we’ve been laying the foundations for this important new service,” says Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman. “A major part was finding the best person to guide the project. David’s expertise is perfectly balanced between academics and the marketplace, making him the ideal choice for this program, which demands both kinds of talent.”

“I’m thrilled to join NGC at a critical moment in the growth of the ancient coin market. The marketplace and third-party grading have both matured in such a way to make an ancients program not only possible, but necessary,” comments Vagi, Grading Finalizer and Director of NGC Ancients.

“NGC’s integrity, expertise and market leadership will be key ingredients in assuring the success of the third-party grading of ancient coins,” he says.

Comprehensive details will be reported on NGC’s Web site in the coming weeks, including terms and conditions, submission procedures and fees. Under this new program, coins will be fully attributed and graded using a system developed especially for NGC Ancients. (more…)

New NGC Holder Enters Next Phase of Release

New NGC HolderThe next generation of the NGC coin holder, featuring enhanced security features, is scheduled for wide-scale release beginning Wednesday, October 1, 2008. Since late-August, this holder has been used for selected World coin and Walkthrough submissions. Following its very successful month-long initial release, the new holder exterior will now be used for all submissions.

While the new exterior and new label will be used for all submissions, the EdgeView® Holder, which enables viewing of a coin’s edge, will be used only for US Walkthrough and US Express tier submissions and all World tier submissions. At NGC’s discretion it will be used on additional grading tiers. The EdgeView® Holder is set for full-scale release for all service lines in the first quarter of 2009. In the interim, the standard NGC format holder interior will be used with high-security outer casing and label.

In order to maintain turnaround times, is not possible to make special requests for specific holders and the previous generation of NGC holder will no longer be available effective October 1, 2008.

“Our service commitment is to encapsulate coins in the most secure holder, made from the best materials available,” comments NGC CEO, Steve Eichenbaum. “This iterative release schedule allows us to expand the availability of the best holder in the most expedient and responsible way,” continues Eichenbaum.

The NGC holder is made from the same materials used in the NGC-developed museum holder created for the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian conducted its own independent tests of that holder, which today is used to house the 200 most valuable coins in its collection. State-of-the-art holography has been incorporated into holograms both on the label and fused onto the holder’s exterior, and directional pressure welding is used to seal the holder cleanly and completely. More information about NGC’s newest generation holder can be found online at

NGC Certifies Unique Russian 1755 Pattern 20 Rouble

Legendary rarity is among the most valuable European coins in existence.

1755 Pattern 20_RoubleNGC has recently certified a small group of Russian coins from the Grand Duke Mikhailovich Collection. Included among them was the unique Russian 1755 Pattern 20 Rouble, a legendary rarity believed to be among the most valuable European coins in existence. These important coins are scheduled to be sold by St. James’s Auctions in London on November 6, 2008.

Although it has not appeared publicly in nearly six decades, the 1755 20 Rouble frequently gets mention as one of the most important European coins ever struck. As part of Russia’s effort to modernize and compete with Europe, it underwent a coinage reform in 1755 designed to permit its coins to circulate alongside those of England, France and the Netherlands. Produced for general circulation were gold five-rouble and ten-rouble coins. Also created solely in pattern form was this single gold piece valued at twenty roubles. The highest valued coin of the Imperial period, it was never adopted for circulation and remains unique.

Ken Krah, NGC Vice President and head of World coin grading reflects that, “Seeing the 1755 Russia 20 Rouble is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I handle many rarities every week at NGC, but grading this unique and important coin still inspired that special excitement. It’s truly a privilege to be able to grade this magnificent coin.” Nearly mint state, it has been authenticated and graded by NGC as AU-58. This amazing specimen is also cataloged and plated in several references, most notably in Severin’s Gold and Platinum Coinage of Imperial Russia 1701 to 1911, where it appears as number S-190.

The 1755 20 Rouble coin came to reside in the collection of Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia (1863-1919), a first cousin of Emperor Alexander III. As the third son and fourth child of noble birth, his royal duties were mostly ceremonial. He was a voracious collector, building one of the finest collections of Russian coins and medals, and he also served as director of the Alexander III Museum. (more…)

NGC Unveils New Holder Design

New NGC HolderNGC has unveiled the design of its newest holder at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money. The holder will be used for encapsulation of NGC-certified coins beginning late-August 2008. The most visually significant change is the incorporation of NGC’s EdgeView® design which suspends a coin within four prongs, allowing for clear view of the encased coin’s edge. This feature will be available for nearly all coin types 40mm and smaller.

The newest generation of NGC holder is made from the same preservation-grade materials as the holder developed by NGC to house the 200 most rare, unique and famous American coins in the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection. The Smithsonian conducted rigorous materials analysis and testing to confirm the long-term safety of all of the components used in the manufacture of these holders, further verifying their inertness and stability.

Several state-of-the-art anti-counterfeiting features have been integrated into the holder’s design. These include a high security label incorporating microprinting, UV-light responsive watermarking and an embedded holographic layer. A second hologram is fused to the back of the holder and was developed with new methods that make it virtually impossible to reproduce.

“Our newest holder satisfies NGC’s combined objectives of exceptional visual display, security and long-term preservation,” comments Steve Eichenbaum, CEO of NGC. “To achieve this, we relied on technology that quite simply did not exist when the last generation of our holder was released in 2001. It is without question the most extensively tested and technologically advanced coin holder ever created.”

Smithsonian to Display Rare Proof Coins at Numismatic Convention in Baltimore

United States, Twenty Dollars, Pattern, 1860 (Paquet Reverse)The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will showcase 21 numismatic rarities from its National Numismatic Collection at the World’s Fair of Money convention hosted by the American Numismatic Association from July 30 to Aug. 3 at the Baltimore Convention Center. “Historic Rarities: Early United States Proof Coins,” will include the 1860 double eagle proof pattern with the Paquet reverse, a special design made by its engraver, Anthony Paquet, and a previously unknown variety of an 1818 proof half dollar as part of the traveling display.

Initially, the Philadelphia Mint made proof coins as showpieces to demonstrate American talent and innovation. These early proofs are recognized by their mirror finish and feature sharper relief than found on coins made for circulation. The coins in the “Historic Rarities” display are part of a larger collection transferred to the Smithsonian by the U.S. Mint in the 1920s.

“This traveling display provides an opportunity to showcase extraordinary and rare proof coins, including an 1818 silver half-dollar proof which our curator recently reclassified as unique as it is the only one made at the time,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the National Museum of American History. This display represents the museum’s second appearance at the Baltimore convention.

“NGC and NCS are immensely proud to be presenting sponsors of this exhibition; proof coinage and Paquet’s pattern demonstrate first hand the beauty of coinage and the active human role of designers and engravers. Showcasing these rarities is a wonderful opportunity for the numismatic community,” said Mark Salzberg, chairman of the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.

The display is divided into four sections: Early Proofs, 1843 Proofs, the Anthony Paquet double eagle pattern and Baltimore national currency proofs.The objects in the group of early proofs include coins of several denominations dating from 1818 to 1821. The coins were minted in several different metals, including copper, silver and gold. The group dated 1821 is likely the only such grouping in existence. (more…)

NumisMedia FMV Price Guide Now Available on NGC Web Site

Numismedia Price GuidesThe complete NumisMedia FMV Price Guide is now available on NGC‘s Web site. The price guide compiled and edited by NumisMedia is an independent report of prices for US coins offered by dealers to collectors. It will be available for free to all site users and updated monthly.

NumisMedia is a leading independent and impartial source for U.S. rare coin values. Since 2005, NumisMedia has served as the official price guide of NGC and the Collectors Society. NumisMedia provides comprehensive pricing available for US coins, including prices for the full range of AU and MS grades, as well as prices for a broad number of modern issues.

To see the price guide, click on the Census & Price Guide tab, select a coin type, and then select the NumisMedia Price Guide tab. [Note: Access requires a FREE Pass Key account, a Collectors Society account, or NGC Authorized Dealer account.]

“Collectors have come to expect the highest quality resources from NGC. Along these lines, we’re very pleased to provide pricing information from NumisMedia. As a truly independent source, NumisMedia is widely acclaimed for the accuracy of its unbiased report of US coin values. By making price information of this caliber more readily accessible, we can enhance the hobby for countless collectors,” said NGC Chairman, Mark Salzberg.

The price guide is part of a suite of collecting resources available on NGC’s Web site, including a coin encyclopedia and variety attribution guide. To access NumisMedia values and other site resources, a login account is required. NGC Authorized Dealers and Collectors Society members should use their existing account login information, and new members can quickly create a free Pass Key account. (more…)

NGC Reports Grading Matte Proof 1925-S California Half Dollar

Matte Proof 1925-S California Jubilee Half DollarBy Scott Purvis for CoinLink

NGC announced in a From the Grading Room article  that it has graded a “previously unreported” Matte Proof 1925-S California Half Dollar.

In 1925, California celebrated its diamond jubilee as a State in the Union. It was California’s gold rush of 1849 that assured its statehood in 1850. On the occasion of this 75th anniversary of its admission Congress authorized a special half dollar to commemorate the event .

The obverse features a “Forty-Niner”, as these gold hunters were known, panning for gold. The coin’s reverse displays the image of a fearsome looking grizzly hear. In 1953, the bear was adopted as the state’s official animal. The coin was designed by California artist Jo Mora.

The California half dollar had an authorized mintage of 300,000. A number approaching 150,000 were produced, and more than 60,000 were later melted, leaving a net mintage of 86,594. The coin has an extremely high relief design and sharp detail, and it sometimes comes with a semi-prooflike surface on the obverse.

However proofs are a different matter.

 As NGC Sates: “Matte proof commemorative half dollars were specially prepared for presentation although in most cases very little documentation exists to illuminate their true purpose. The design, rim, and notably the legends on this coin are very crisply struck, much more so than on a business-strike example of the issue. Inherent of proof coinage of this type, it does not possess reflective luster; rather the entire design has a very uniform appearance. Matte proofs allowed designers to showcase the design elements of the coin, and were “fashionable” during the early Twentieth Century. “

Interestingly, Q David Bowers in his book Commemorative Coins of the United States; A Complete Encyclopedia, makes no mention of the existance of any Matte Proof 1925-S California Half Dollars. He does state that “Matte Proofs were struck of certain early (1892-1954 era) commemoratives…. the best documented being the 50 or so 1928 Hawaiian Half dollars” however he cautions that “numerous questionable ‘Matte Proof’ Half Dollars have been made outside of the Mint by pickling or sandblasting normal business strikes” (more…)

Condition Census still a valid tool for ranking coins

By Paul Gilkes for COIN WORLD

In 1949, Dr. William H. Sheldon introduced the numismatic term “condition census” in his book Early American Cents, later renamed Penny Whimsy.

PCGS Set RegistryNGC Set RegistryCondition census, according to Sheldon, denoted the finest example and average condition of the next five finest known of a given variety of large cents dated from 1793 through 1814.

Catalogers have gradually extended the use of condition census to other U.S. coin series. According to numismatic writer Q. David Bowers, the term has been used indiscriminately, sometimes to describe any coin that was in a particularly high grade category for its variety, regardless of how many others might share that category.

Growing from the condition census concept are the set registries for certified coins initiated by Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp. at the end of the 20th century.

The set registry concept was the brainchild of PCGS co-founder David Hall, currently the president of Collectors Universe, PCGS’s parent company. It began when Hall published in 1998 a printed booklet providing lists of the finest PCGS-certified coin collections and almost complete collections by denomination.

BJ Searls, the PCGS Set Registry manager, launched the registry online in February 2001. NGC followed suit in August 2001 with the NGC Registry.

Read Full CoinWorld Article Here

The S.S. New York and the Branch Mint Gold Market.

By Doug Winter –

1845-D Quarter Eagle from the SS New YorkI recently learned that the coins from the shipwreck S.S. New York will be sold by Stack’s in July at this firm’s pre-ANA auction. Unlike some of the other shipwrecks that have been uncovered in recent years, the coins found on the S.S. New York will have an impact on the branch mint gold market.

According to information gleaned from the NGC website, the S.S. New York was a light cargo and passenger ship vessel that operated between New Orleans and Galveston. It was destroyed during a hurricane on September 7, 1846. Seventeen crew members were killed and “thirty to forty thousand dollars in gold, silver and bank notes” were lost according to contemporary reports.

What is especially interesting about these coins is that they represent one of the most eclectic, diverse cross-sections of coins in circulation during the first part of the 19th century that has ever been found. Unlike the S.S. Republic and S.S. Central America, the coins in this group tend to be smaller denomination and much of the gold was produced in Dahlonega and the local New Orleans mint.(Even more interesting is the fact that only two Charlotte issues were included. This should tell us something about the geographic distribution of Charlotte coins).

The coins have been curated by NCS and, according to the reports that I’ve read, numismatists such as John Albanese, David Bowers and Mark Salzburg have commented on how exceptional they are from the standpoint of quality. In fact, Albanese was quoted as saying “…many of them look like they were just minted yesterday.”

NGC just published the first census of these S.S. New York coins and, from the look of it, there are some extremely interesting pieces that will be available. (more…)

NGC Releases SS New York Population Report

1844-O Eagle from the SS New YorkA comprehensive population report of all the NGC-graded gold coins from the SS New York is now available. The SS New York operated a light cargo and passenger service between New Orleans and Galveston until it sank during a storm on September 7, 1846.

Coins recovered were conserved by Numismatic Conservation Services (NCS) and then certified by NGC. The newly released population report includes 297 gold coins representing a broad cross-section of coins used in commerce along Gulf of Mexico trade routes during the early nineteenth century.

Download: SS New York Graded Gold Coin Population Report (PDF)

Coins recovered from the SS New York are from Western Europe, South and Central America, and the United States. The US coins include several exemplary condition coins from southern mints.

For example, an 1845-D $2.50 graded NGC MS 64 is the highest graded example of this Dahlonega issue. Other notable examples include an 1844-D $5 NGC MS 63 PL, the only prooflike example of the date to be certified, and two 1844-O $10 NGC MS 63 pieces, tied as the two finest examples of the issue certified.

Read Full NGC Announcement

NCS Conserves Coins Recovered from the Steamship New York

1844-O $5 and 1845-D $2.50 Gold recovered from the SS New YorkNumismatic Conservation Services (NCS) has been selected to conserve the coins recovered from the SS New York shipwreck. The coins comprise a diverse cross section of coins in circulation at the first part of the 19th Century, including an important group of exceptional quality southern mint gold coins. Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) has been chosen to certify the coins following their conservation.

The SS New York operated a light cargo and passenger service between New Orleans and Galveston including military and post office contract passage until it foundered during a hurricane on September 7, 1846. Seventeen of the 53 crew and passengers were lost, along with “thirty to forty thousand dollars in gold, silver, and bank notes,” according to contemporary reports. Special Insert Label from NGC for the SS New YorkThe ship was first discovered in 1990 by an amateur diver and Louisiana oilfield worker who relied on reports of snags from local shrimp fisherman to pinpoint the wreck. After completion of archeological survey conducted by the Minerals Management Service, and gaining legal title to the wreck, the original discoverers returned to recover the ship’s coins in 2006.

While primarily “treasure seekers,” they were also concerned about the historic value and preservation of the artifacts they salvaged. “We chose NCS to handle the post-recovery process because of their unique capabilities and expertise in working with shipwreck coins. Their process maintains the historical pedigree that was important to us and also renders the most beautiful artifacts,” comments Craig DeRouen of the recovery operation. NCS also conserved all coins recovered from the historic shipwreck SS Republic.

“Together NCS and NGC offer the only professional services to conserve shipwreck coins and then certify them, preserving the integrity and history of these coins. The coins from the SS New York demonstrate this with their wonderful quality and rich diversity, both markers of their considerable importance,” relates NGC Chairman Mark Salzberg, who oversaw the certification of the coins from the SS New York.

Read Full NGC Article Here

NGC Discovers Major Hub Variety on 2008-W Silver Eagles

NGC Announces New DiscoveryNGC has discovered that 2008-W Uncirculated Silver Eagles have been struck with two different reverse types. Many are aware that Silver Eagles issued in 2008 show numerous subtle modifications to their design. NGC has now confirmed that 2008-W Uncirculated Silver Eagles were also struck using reverse dies of the pre-modification style, or reverse type of 2007.

The two reverse styles are very easy to distinguish from one another. As NGC previously reported, the most obvious identification diagnostic is the U of UNITED on the coin’s reverse. On the Reverse of 2008, the U has a spur on the right side of the letter. The Reverse of 2007, has simply a bowl-shaped U, without spur or downstroke. A number of other diagnostics are evident and are illustrated below.

NGC is designating 2008-W Silver Eagles with reverse style of 2007 as REVERSE OF 2007. Coins of the newly modified style, or Reverse of 2008, are encapsulated without designation. “This is a significant hub variety,” comments Rick Montgomery, NGC President. “It has very clear diagnostics, and appears on one of the most widely collected of all US coins. We’re also very proud to be the first to present this information to the numismatic community and to attribute the variety as part of the NGC certification process.”

Read Full Article by NGC on the Discovery

Insidious Fingerprints

By Skip Fazzari, Authentication Consultant to NGC

Fingerprints are like a cancer to a coin, and can become irreparable if they are ignored for too long. Skip Fazzari describes the different types of fingerprints and what you can do to correct them.

Fingerprints on CoinsFor most of you, habit and experience have lessened the odds of marring the surface of your coins with fingerprints. You hold a coin properly — by its edges and close to a soft surface. Occasionally, there might be a lapse in this protocol but in most cases, we can assume that any fingerprints found on your coins resulted from carelessness or mishandling by non-collectors.
click to enlarge

It is difficult to know how long a fingerprint has been on a coin. Sometimes, especially in the case of Proof coins, they are easy to see the moment they occur; however, in most cases, fingerprints are not detected when they are fresh. Fingerprints are like a cancer to a coin. If ignored for too long, the chemicals in our body oils will actually etch the coinage metal. Over a period of time, and depending on their chemical makeup and the environment, they will “set” on a coin’s surface, making them difficult to remove. Copper and silver coins are the most likely to be permanently damaged in this way. Once this happens, the traces of fingerprints are virtually impossible to remove without abrasive cleaning that ruins more of the coin’s original surface. For the most part, gold is not susceptible to any type of permanent damage from fingerprints; however, on a few occasions, I have encountered a print pattern on gold that cannot be removed.  Read Full Article