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Category: PCGS

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The PCGS SecurePlus Program, Part 2: Reform

News and Analysis on scarce coins, coin markets, and the collecting community #29

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I explain the PCGS SecurePlus program in part 1. Here in part 2, Don Willis, the president of the PCGS, responds to the explanation that I put forth in part 1, and I argue, with assistance from expert dealers, that the PCGS SecurePlus™ program should be reformed, not by reformulating the program, but by preventing dealers from submitting rare coins through the old “standard” process. The positions of John Albanese, Ira Goldberg and Mark Feld are featured.

I devoted last Wednesday’s column to an explanation because I have found that many collectors and dealers do not really understand the PCGS SecurePlus™ program. For details of the PCGS SecurePlus™ program, and a discussion of its importance, please read part 1.

IV. Don Willis Responds

Don Willis has been the president of the PCGS since Oct. 2008. I knew him before then, when he was a coin dealer. Earlier, he had a very successful career in the field of information technology, including the founding of a large software company. I have found Don to be honest, willing to address controversial issues, and very concerned about the well being of collectors.

Willis graciously responds to the points put forth in last week’s column and to questions I asked. Fortunately, Don found my explanation last week as to how grading procedures under the SecurePlus program differ from standard PCGS procedures to be “correct.”

“Today, in its early stages,” Willis says, “SecurePlus is being driven by the collector community.” My (this writer’s) impression is that many collectors do not know or do not understand the benefits of the SecurePlus program. Moreover, not all collectors are familiar with the problems of grade-inflation and coin doctoring. Besides, the dealers who submit many coins to the PCGS are typically wholesalers, not dealers who sell directly to collectors. It would be illogical for the SecurePlus program to be steered by collector demands and collector feedback.

Willis continues, “We have seen many finest known and top quality sets submitted for SecurePlus grading.” I (this writer) find that this is certainly true. Several sets in the Simpson collection come to mind. “Most of these sets remain with their original owners and off the market,” Willis states. “One exception would be Dr. Steven Duckor’s set of Barber Half Dollars which were submitted through SecurePlus and later sold at auction for record breaking prices.”

Dr. Duckor is a strong supporter of the SecurePlus program. Please see his remarks in my June 2nd column. (As always, clickable links are in blue.) Further, I wrote two articles on Dr. Duckor’s halves (part 1, part 2). Also, I mention more of his halves in my column of Aug. 4th.

As Willis says, Duckor’s halves sold for extremely strong prices at auction and many auction records were then set. It is not clear, though, to what extent PCGS Secure holders (as opposed to regular PCGS holders) played a role in the prices realized. Dr. Duckor is one of the leading living collectors, and he is certainly one of the most sophisticated collectors of all time. For a Barber Half Dollar, or an early 20th century gold coin, a Duckor pedigree often adds considerable value.

The SecurePlus program should not only be for the benefit of those advanced, knowledgeable collectors who understand the program. “SecurePlus is only six months old,” Willis replies. “Currently all coins valued over $100,000 must go through SecurePlus. This will change in the future as the market dictates.” Willis figures that “the pace of SecurePlus submissions and the expansion of SecurePlus services will be determined by collector demand just as original PCGS submissions were back in 1986.” (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The PCGS SecurePlus Program, Part 1: An Explanation

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #28

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

On March 25, 2010, David Hall and Don Willis, the top officials at the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), announced and explained the PCGS SecurePlus™ program, known for weeks before as “The Big One”! For most grades between EF-45 and MS-68 inclusive, the PCGS begin assigning plus grades when warranted, such as 45+ or 63+. As the rival of the PCGS, the NGC, incorporated plus grades into their system two months afterwards, and the PCGS later allowed for standard submissions to be eligible for plus grades, not just coins submitted via the SecurePlus tier, plus grades now seem to be a secondary aspect of the program. In my view, the emphasis should always have been, as it is now, on the ‘Secure’ aspects of the SecurePlus program, which are truly revolutionary and have tremendous implications for the future of markets in rare coins.

I hope that those who are not entirely familiar with the PCGS SecurePlus program find this column (part 1) to be very clear and educational. In my opinion, the explanation of the PCGS SecurePlus program on the PCGS website is not extremely clear and, over the past six months, I have found that many collectors are confused about this program.

Collectors who are already very familiar with the PCGS SecurePlus program, and with PCGS policies in general, may wish to wait for part 2, next week. In part 2, Don Willis, the president of PCGS, responds to my explanation and a proposal for the reform of PCGS submission policies is put forth. The views of John Albanese, Mark Feld and Ira Goldberg are included.

In the first section, I provide a definition of the SecurePlus program. In the second section, I explain the benefits of the coin identification part of the SecurePlus program. In Section III, I emphasize that submitters of coins to be graded by the PCGS may choose between the SecurePlus program and standard submission options.

I. The PCGS SecurePlus Program

The SecurePlus program brings three new technologies to coin grading. (1) The introduction of a new technology for scanning and coin identification, through the use of CoinAnalyzer devices that are produced by Richard Haddock’s CoinSecure firm. An image and data from each scanned coin is entered into a database, and, if the same coin is scanned at the PCGS in the future, it will be identified as a coin that was previously scanned.

(2) The use of ‘Sniffer’ technology to detect added foreign substances and changes in the surfaces, the metal, on coins that have been deliberately harmed by coin doctors for the purpose of deceiving experts and others into believing that doctored coins merit higher grades than were (or would have been) assigned before such coins are doctored. Additionally, the adding of metal to the surfaces and/or the deliberate heating of the metal on the surfaces of a coin will, hopefully, be detectable by ‘coin sniffer’ technology as well. The PCGS has already begun using ‘sniffer’ technology to an extent, and will be phasing additional sniffer applications into the PCGS SecurePlus grading program over time. I will devote a future piece to coin sniffer technology. The subject is so complicated that it must really be treated in a long article.

To gain some understanding of coin doctoring and the urgent need to contain the coin doctoring problem, please read five previous pieces of mine. Last year, I devoted a series of three articles to the reasons why naturally toned coins are preferred and the topic of coin doctoring is discussed at length therein (part 1, part 2 and part 3). This year, I wrote two columns that address the PCGS lawsuit against alleged coin doctors, on June 3rd and on Sept. 8th. In these two columns, coin doctoring is defined, the lawsuit is analyzed, and the seriousness of the matter is emphasized.

(3) The third ‘Security’ issue relating to the PCGS SecurePlus program is the anti-counterfeiting technology incorporated into the new inserts. In each PCGS holder, there is a paper insert that provides information about the coin contained therein. A gold eagle with a shield is pictured on an insert in the PCGS holder that houses each coin that has been graded under the PCGS SecurePlus program. Unethical businesses in China have produced forgeries of PCGS holders with misleading grades printed on fake inserts. New anti-counterfeiting features are important, though less so than the coin identification and sniffer technologies that constitute the core of the PCGS SecurePlus program. (more…)

Coin Grading in Paris, PCGS Grading Week a Big Success

Next Grading Week Event Will Be October 25 – 29, 2010

PCGS Authorized Dealers from across Europe eagerly attended another successful Grading Week conducted at the Paris, France offices of Professional Coin Grading Service, September 13 – 17, 2010.

Photo: Don Willis, Fabrice Walther, David Hall

PCGS Co-Founder and Collectors Universe President David Hall personally met with the attendees to talk about the current rare coin marketplace in Europe, the importance of third-party grading, and the next scheduled Paris Grading Week, October 25 – 29, 2010. “There is a thriving market for world coins in Europe and there are a lot of U.S. gold coins still in Europe. Paris is the center of the European coin market. There are dozens of dealers there and a ton of activity,”

“Certified grading is starting to be accepted in Europe. Many dealers and collectors are beginning to see the advantages of third-party certification and are quite enthusiastic about the new PCGS grading office in Paris. said Hall.

“There were many outstanding coins submitted, including an amazing collection of high-grade Greek coins and several hundred Brittany coins,” said Don Willis, President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

Dealer Takis Syvridakis of Collector’s Shop International in Athens, Greece, who submitted a 1901 (Creta) 2 Drachmas that was graded PCGS MS64, said: “My client was more than pleased with such a grade and he promised to continue to send his collection to PCGS for grading.”

Syvridakis was also pleased to meet Collectors Universe President and PCGS Co-Founder David Hall in person in Paris.

“I was very impressed with his enthusiasm, his honesty, his knowledge and his visions on the coin market. He was very helpful with my collection, gave me great ideas for my business and many solutions to offer to my clients. I was very glad to meet him in person and felt quite privileged.”

Jonathan Fhal of Godots et Fils in Paris agreed: “We were very happy to get the opportunity to actually meet Monsieur David Hall. He had great advice and, indeed, guided us all along the process of selecting the coins which we should grade or not.”

Laurent Fabre of Monnaie d’Antan in Poses, France submitted over 200 Brittany coins from the prestigious collection of collector Alexis Bigot for an upcoming auction (www.catalogues.monnaisedantan.com/vso8) including an 1861 Napoléon III 5 Francs that was graded PCGS MS65. He described it as “certainly the most beautiful known today.”

PCGS Authorized Dealer Fabrice Walther of Numisaisne in Paris brought in for authentication and grading a large quantity of important rare coins he is offering in the upcoming Salon de Brogniart Paris show on October 16, 2010. PCGS will participate in that show.

“We’re now also eagerly looking forward to attending the big Coinex show in London, October 1 and 2, and the Warsaw Coinexpo in Poland, October 14 and 15, and, of course, hosting the next PCGS Paris Grading Week, October 25 to 29,” said Muriel Eymery, Manager of the Paris office and PCGS Director of International Business Development.
For a list of PCGS Authorized Dealers in the EU, visit www.PCGS.com/dealers and click on the map to locate your country.

To make an appointment for PCGS’ next grading sessions or to obtain more information, EU dealers can contact the Paris office at info@PCGSglobal.com or by calling Muriel Eymery at 33 (0) 1 40 20 09 94. Additional information on PCGS is available in English and other languages at www.PCGSglobal.com.

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Defining Coin Doctoring and Dipping, Additions to the PCGS Lawsuit Against Alleged Coin Doctors

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #17

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. The filing and re-filing of this lawsuit

Over the last forty years, especially from the late 1990s to 2006 or so, the coin collecting community has suffered from the terrible problem of coin doctoring; coins are deceptively altered for the purpose of tricking experts, particularly those employed by the PCGS and the NGC, into concluding that a coin is of higher quality than it was before it was doctored. The process of doctoring a coin reduces its level of quality and, in many (though not nearly all) cases, permanently damages the coin. Coins ranging in value from less than $50 to more than $1 million have been doctored.

In many instances, doctored coins ‘turn’ at a later time, as unintended byproducts of doctoring processes result in unsightly delayed chemical reactions or the decomposing of added matter on the doctored coins. It is not unusual for a coin doctor to deliberately harm (often permanently) a coin that grades MS-64 in order to try to deceive experts into believing that it grades MS-66.

John Feigenbaum is president of David Lawrence Rare Coins (DLRC), and has been involved in the coin business for more than twenty years. In 2004 and 2005, DLRC sold one of the fifteen greatest collections of classic (pre-1934) U.S. coins ever to be publicly auctioned. Feigenbaum says, “in general I [John] applaud PCGS for taking action on this matter, and I think they should take any and all actions in the future towards parties that are trying to slip doctored coins past them.”

In my column of June 2, I analyzed the CU-PCGS lawsuit against alleged coin doctors, which was filed in late May. I encourage readers who wish to learn about this lawsuit, its importance and its implications, to read my column of June 2nd. On Aug. 10, CU-PCGS filed a “second amended complaint” along with a new motion.

II. The basics of the lawsuit

Although technically PCGS is a subsidiary of Collectors Universe (CU) and it is CU that filed this lawsuit, the PCGS predates CU and the PCGS is the core of Collectors Universe. Further, the PCGS certifies coins. So, it is clear and helpful to refer to the plaintiff as the PCGS as the lawsuit concerns allegations that dealers deliberately submitted doctored coins to the PCGS, without disclosing intentionally added defects, for the purpose of deceiving graders at the PCGS into assigning higher grades to such coins than the coins would have merited before they were doctored. Coin doctoring, of course, reduces the grade of a coin, often to the point where the coin no longer merits a numerical grade.

The submission contract that each dealer signs to be a dealer-submitter of coins to the PCGS for grading and authentication prohibits dealer-submitters from sending in doctored coins for numerical grading. At the very least, it is argued that dealers who submit doctored coins for numerical grading have breached their respective contracts with the PCGS. Moreover, the PCGS argues in the lawsuit that such coin doctoring is in violation of several Federal and California State laws. Curiously, attorneys for the PCGS declare that conspiracies to doctor coins and submit them to the PCGS fall under RICO statutes, and are thus said by the PCGS to constitute racketeering.

Importantly, attorneys for the PCGS argue that coin doctoring is not just a civil offense, a racket and a breach of contract. Attorneys for the PCGS maintain that coin doctoring is a crime under Title “18 U.S.C §331,” which is cited in the lawsuit as follows, “Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales or lightens any of the coins minted at the mints of the United States … [or] … Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish or sell … any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled or lightened … Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years or both.” (more…)

ESM Collection of Early Proof Copper Coins To Be Displayed at Long Beach Coin Show by PCGS

Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) will provide on-site authentication and grading services and showcase the first West Coast public display of the acclaimed, award-winning ESM Collection of early proof copper coins during the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo, September 23 – 25, 2010.

PCGS will accept Show Service submissions starting with dealer set-up on Wednesday, September 22 through 5 p.m. Friday, September 24. All other submission levels, excluding bulk, will be accepted through mid-afternoon on Saturday, September 25.

In addition to viewing the coins from the ESM Collection, visitors to the PCGS booth (#807) can Meet the Expert with PCGS Co-Founder David Hall, and have their coins personally examined by him from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

Assembled by Illinois collector Pete Miller, the ESM Collection ranks among the all-time finest of its kind in several PCGS Set RegistrySM categories with some of the finest known proof Half Cents, Large Cents, Indian Head Cents and matte proof Lincoln Cents. The weighted Grade Point Average for the collection is an astounding 65.974.

“This amazing treasure of early proof copper certainly was one of the highlights of the recent ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston when it was displayed at the PCGS booth. Now West Coast collectors and dealers will have an opportunity to see these coins in person in Long Beach,” said Don Willis, PCGS President.

An informative, illustrated brochure about the ESM Collection will be available free at the PCGS booth while supplies last.

The following show specials will be available in Long Beach to PCGS Authorized Dealers and members of the PCGS Collectors Club:

* Walkthrough: one-day turnaround for $100 ($125 for Secure Plus) on any coin with a maximum value of $100,000
* Show Economy: $65 per coin for U.S. and world coins valued up to $3,000 each with a minimum submission of five coins
* Show Gold: $45 per coin ($55 for Secure Plus) for any U.S. gold coin valued up to $3,000 each with a minimum submission of ten coins.

Customer Service representatives will be at the PCGS booth to answer questions and accept submissions. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see demonstrations of the convenient PCGS Photograde™ Online applications for the Apple iPhone™ and Apple iPad™.

“Aside from our PCGS Members Only Show at The Venetian in Las Vegas, September 9 – 11, this will be the only opportunity in September for collectors and dealers to take advantage of PCGS on-site grading services at a national show. We will not be attending the Whitman Philadelphia show scheduled for the week after Long Beach,” said Willis. (more…)

How to Detect Doctored Coins? The PCGS “Coin Sniffer”

The PCGS Coin Sniffer™, a process incorporating advanced technology for detecting foreign materials and other enhancements on a coin’s surface, will be used in two roll-out phases on all PCGS Secure Plus™ submissions with the first step beginning in September or October 2010.

“When our testing and development are completed, the PCGS Coin Sniffer will analyze the surfaces of coins to detect foreign substances, whether they are organic or inorganic materials. We will begin first with organic substances,” said Don Willis, President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ).

“We are currently testing the detection of organic materials on coin surfaces and will begin incorporating that process on all PCGS Secure Plus submissions this fall. We are still in the development stage of detecting inorganic foreign materials, such as metals. Implementation of the PCGS Coin Sniffer for inorganic materials is planned for early 2011,” he told attendees at the PCGS Set RegistrySM awards luncheon at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Boston on August 13, 2010.

The PCGS Coin Sniffer uses dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDX), Fournier Transform Infra-Red Spectral analysis (FT-IR), Raman Spectroscopy and other analytical techniques to detect the kinds of materials applied by so-called “coin doctors” to conceal problems with a coin or alter its surface to improve its appearance in an attempt to artificially increase the coin’s value.

Commonly used organic materials applied to coins include plastic resins such as Bondo, putty, caulk, wax, lacquer, varnish, acrylics, paint, ink, acetone, glue, and citric acid.

“Some coin doctors have even used soap, eggs, fertilizer, forehead and nose grease and urine,” Wills explained.

FT-IR spectroscopy in the PCGS Coin Sniffer process uses a beam of infra-red light that is reflected off a coin’s surface to detect molecules of foreign substances. Different molecules vibrate at different wave lengths. A complete analysis of a coin’s surface with simultaneous detection of all wave lengths can be completed in less than one minute.

Coins detected with foreign substances are classified by PCGS as “altered surfaces.”

Willis explained that some coin doctors use metals to build up certain areas on a coin’s surface, for example, attempting to create a full head on a Standing Liberty quarter, full split bands on a Winged Liberty/Mercury dime or improving diagnostic high areas. Metallic solutions such as solder, indium, Clorox®, iodine and potassium or potash have been applied to alter a coin’s surface.

Beginning next year, the PCGS Coin Sniffer will use EDX technology to analyze elements of coins on the atomic level. The FT-IR technology that will be implemented this fall analyzes coins on the molecular level. In the EDX process, a high-energy beam of electrons is focused on a coin’s surface. Resultant dispersed energy is measured and the atomic structure is determined.

“It’s similar to scanning with an electron microscope,” said Willis. “Foreign metals as well as metal fatigue due to high heat from a blow torch or laser can be detected.”

Willis also reminded the audience that expanded “plus” (+) grading is now available for all standard submissions and show submissions to PCGS at no additional cost.

Since 1986, PCGS experts have authenticated, graded and certified more than 20 million coins from around the world with a declared value of over $20 billion. For additional information, visit www.PCGS.com or call PCGS Customer Service at (800) 447-8848.

PCGS at Boston ANA: On-Site Grading, Award-Winning Proof Copper on Display

At this year’s American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money convention in Boston held August 10 – 14, visitors will be treated to a number of museum-quality exhibits of historic rare coins. At booth #105, Professional Coin Grading Service will display an amazing numismatic treasure of early proof copper.

PCGS will provide on-site authentication and grading services at the show including show specials for on-site submissions. And booth visitors can enjoy some of the finest known proof Half Cents, Large Cents, Indian Head Cents and matte proof Lincoln Cents from the award-winning ESM Collection.

Assembled by Illinois collector Pete Miller, the ESM Collection ranks among the all-time finest of its kind in several PCGS Set RegistrySM categories, according to BJ Searls, PCGS Set Registry Manager.

“The ESM Collection is a numismatic treat. Many of the coins in this collection are extremely rare and seldom appear on the market. When they do, they are auction highlights,” said Don Willis, President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDA Q: CLCT).

“It staggers me that these coins could stay in that kind of condition for so long,” Miller exclaimed. “They are all red or close to red. Most are well over 100 years old and they look almost brand new, even colorwise.”

Miller’s “top five” personal favorites are:

* 1832 Large Cent, graded PCGS PR64RD
* 1848 Large Cent, PCGS PR65CA
* 1847 Half Cent, PCGS PR64RD
* 1843 Half Cent, PCGS PR64CA
* 1842 Half Cent, PCGS PR65RD

“The weighted Grade Point Average for the ESM Collection is an astounding 65.974,” Searls explained. “These coins were once owned by such astute collectors as Eliasberg, Naftzger, Norweb, Pittman, Parmelee, Atwater, Garrett, Anderson-Dupont, Byron Reed and others. Pete Miller has graciously arranged with PCGS to display many of the coins in his set in Boston.” (more…)

PCGS’ Paris Office Grand Opening: Dealers Praise Easy Access to Coin Grading

Professional Coin Grading Service successfully opened its European grading center at its Paris, France office on June 7, 2010. Coin dealers from all over Europe visited PCGS in Paris to submit coins for onsite authentication and grading. By the end of the week, PCGS’ numismatic experts had evaluated thousands of rare and modern commemorative coins from French, German, Italian, Greek and British dealers and collectors.

The dealers were extremely pleased with this new, convenient setting. More and more dealers and collectors are recognizing that impartial, third-party grading (evaluation) by PCGS will help their coins realize their true worth in the marketplace. The Paris office finally allows them to benefit from PCGS grading more easily and in a less-costly way.

Michael Creusy of ABC Numismatique in Lyon, France, expressed his appreciation: “Thank you, PCGS, for having made this marvelous grading service so easily available to all Europeans.”

Because of this overwhelmingly positive reaction, PCGS is preparing for an even bigger workload when the grading team returns to Paris. The next big grading week begins on September 13th, 2010.

“By establishing its EU grading center in France, PCGS has eliminated the need for European collectors and dealers to send their coins to the U.S. for grading and authentication. All submissions from within the EU are now made directly to the Paris office through PCGS’ network of EU Authorized dealers,” explained Muriel Eymery, Director of International Business Development at PCGS.

Dr. Josef Fischer of Emporium Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany, shared his opinion: “The PCGS grading in Paris was an excellent experience. It was easy to ship there and we got very quick service; turnaround times are much shorter than shipping to the USA with customs clearance and so on. Grading in Europe will make PCGS better-known and more appealing for European dealers and collectors.”

PCGS President Don Willis is encouraged by the dealers’ responses. “The convenience of a central Paris location makes getting coins authenticated and graded by PCGS easy for EU dealers,” he said. “Coins received on Monday and Tuesday are returned graded on Thursday or Friday of the same week. The dealers appreciate our commitment to serving them.”

Ingram Liberman of The London Coin Company in London, England expressed his approval of PCGS services: “Why have we chosen an American (coin grading) company rather than a British one? The main reason is that PCGS is the most respected of all the coin grading companies in the world and truly impartial. The future is bright for the future of grading.” (more…)

Heritage adds CAC Population Data to Rare Coin Auction Archives

A very quick way to measure a coin’s rarity is to look at how many coins of a particular date have been graded by the major grading services. Three figures are key as a rule of thumb in determining rarity:

  • The population of a coin in a particular grade, which shows how difficult the coin might be to replace exactly
  • The population of a coin in all higher grades, which shows how difficult a coin might be to upgrade
  • The population of a coin in all grades, which shows how difficult a coin might be to find at all.

The first two figures above are often written in shorthand. For example, a coin with a population of 100/4 has 100 known in the same grade and four known in higher grades. A coin with a population of 1/0 is the finest known to the grading service that certified it.

One of the features that has long been available on the Heritage Web site listings and archives HA.com/Coins are population reports. PCGS and NGC keep track of every coin they grade, and Heritage is generous enough to post this information, in condensed form, on the web page for every US coin.

Now, Heritage has added the CAC population data to it’s population listings.

As an example, the table you see here covers an 1911-D $20 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle, graded MS65 (in this case by NGC). Under the header “Population”, you can see that the PCGS Population Report shows 1731 1911-D $20 Saints with an MS65 grade, NGC Census figures show 1831 similar coins and CAC has stickered 130.
(more…)

PCGS Announces Coin Sniffer™ Process Enhancement to Secure Plus Coin Grading

The Next Step To Improve And Protect the Coin Collecting Hobby

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) today revealed additional steps it is taking to improve its ability to detect altered coins. PCGS announced that it has a process in development which will detect any foreign substance on a coin’s surface.

According to PCGS officials, in conjunction with the development of coin recognition technology launched in March of this year, PCGS has been developing a process to detect foreign materials and other enhancements to a coin’s surfaces.

Using energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDX), Fournier Transform Infra-Red Spectral analysis (FT-IR), Raman Spectroscopy and other similar analytical techniques, this detection process (code-named by PCGS, the PCGS Coin Sniffer™) will analyze the surfaces of a coin in a matter of seconds to detect foreign substances and provide quantitative information about the coin.

“Coin doctors” often apply numerous materials to the surfaces of coins to conceal problems with the coin, and/or alter the surfaces to improve its appearance in an attempt to artificially increase its value. The simultaneous alloy determination will further aid in the detection of counterfeits as an additional benefit.

David Hall, cofounder of PCGS and President of its parent company Collectors Universe, Inc. said, “[w]hen we launched PCGS Secure Plus featuring coin recognition technology we stated that it was just a first step in improving grading and battling coin doctoring. The PCGS Coin Sniffer™ is the next significant development in our ongoing efforts. When combined with our existing PCGS Secure Plus service, this new process will make it extremely difficult for altered coins to go undetected.”

“This new process is somewhat similar to what we often see as we are going through security at an airport,” said Don Willis, PCGS President. “We have already filed a patent which covers the methodology and unique techniques we are using for processing coins. The new PCGS Coin Sniffer™ process will be integrated with the help of our partner CoinSecure, Inc into the PCGS Secure Plus service and will be available at no additional cost. Our targeted production implementation is this year, although we will be conducting live testing much before then.”

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against “Coin Doctors” by Collectors Universe / PCGS

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) today sent out a Press Release  announcing  a major lawsuit has been filed in United States District Court, Central District of California, against six individuals claiming they engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity, breach of contract, conspiracy, unfair competition and fraud for allegedly submitting “doctored” coins to PCGS for grading on multiple occasions for a period of years.

The Defendants named in the suit include: Al Rossman of Nevada, Rick Wesslink of California,  Robert Lehmann of Maryland, in addition to three members of the Professional Numismatists Guild ; Eric Steinberg of Florida, Silvano DiGenova of California, and Greg Krill of California

PCGS stated that as many as 10 other defendants could be added to the Complaint.

The suit claims the dealers violated federal laws, including the Lanham Act involving interstate commerce and RICO racketeering statutes, and also alleges “unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices” for submitting coins that were deceptively altered in an attempt to increase their value.

Click Here to view a Copy of the Complaint

The Complaint states: “Defendants knew that these coins had been ‘doctored,’ by themselves and/or other persons engaged by them for that purpose. Their methods included lasering the surfaces of extremely rare proof gold coins to remove surface imperfections, building up commonly-worn or weakly-struck portions of coins, and other physical and chemical processes. Defendants represented to PCGS that these coins had natural surfaces, intending to deceive PCGS’s graders so that the ‘doctored’ coins would be certified by PCGS and then sold in the rare coin marketplace.”

A couple of examples given in the complaint include the following coins:

  • 1885 $5 gold piece, originally submitted to PCGS on Dec 16, 2009 by Steinberg on behalf of Defendant Rossman. Foreign substance added to coin’s surface to cover marks.
  • 1879 $4 Stella gold piece, Originally submitted by Heritage on May 8, 2008. Resubmitted on August 28, 2008 by DiGenova after having been laser treated to remove lines. PCGS refused to grade the coin.

The suit claims the “Defendants have caused, and are continuing to cause, substantial and irreparable damage and injury to Collectors Universe and to the public and Defendants have benefited from such unlawful conduct and will continue to carry out such unlawful conduct and to be unjustly enriched thereby unless enjoined by this Court.” (more…)

PCGS Launches New International Web Site – PCGSGlobal.com

To help accommodate the company’s expanding international presence, Professional Coin Grading Service has launched a new web site, www.PCGSGlobal.com, that allows coin enthusiasts from around the world to view information about PCGS third-party grading and explains in their own local language how to use PCGS’ services.

The launch of PCGSGlobal.com coincides with the recent opening of the new PCGS submission center in Paris, France. A key aspect of the new web site is how it provides the particulars of submitting coins for grading and encapsulation to the Paris submission center through PCGS Authorized Dealers located in the European Union.

“PCGS continues to expand its services to collectors and dealers throughout the world and especially in Europe,” PCGS President Don Willis explained. “Offering access to our web site in multiple languages is just another step forward in that expansion. In the weeks and months ahead we will continue to think globally and act locally.”

PCGSGlobal.com is initially offered in French, English, German, Italian and Polish, representative of some of the most active numismatic communities in Europe. Other languages will be added as the market dictates.

“While not intended as a substitute for the vast content carried on www.pcgs.com, one of the most information-rich web sites in the entire numismatic field, PCGSGlobal.com gives visitors the essentials they need to do business with us,” said Willis.

The Home Page contains information about PCGS, the importance of coin grading, the PCGS Guarantee and PCGS Grading Standard. The site’s menu includes separate pages on PCGS Services, How to Submit, Resources (with links to important PCGS.com pages including online Price Guide and Population Report, Auction Prices Realized and Set RegistrySM), About PCGS and Contact PCGS.

Professional Coin Grading Service is a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

Bienvenue! PCGS Opens Paris Office

The Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) has opened an office in Paris, France as part of the company’s expanding international services. The new facility, physically establishing PCGS’s third-party grading in Europe, already is being praised by several of the European Union’s top numismatists for the convenience it brings to collectors and dealers in EU countries.

“The opening of a PCGS grading center in France is very good news for all European dealers and collectors who can now have their coins graded more easily. The time-consuming and costly exportation of sending them first to the United States, along with customs issues, will soon only be bad memories!” said Eric Palombo of Maison Palombo in Marseilles, France.

“For several years we’ve been successfully increasing our presence in Europe and Asia with participation at major numismatic events and agreements with government mints,” said Don Willis, President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT). “The establishment of a full-time office in a major European capital now gives us an even greater opportunity to conveniently and efficiently assist EU collectors and dealers with the certification of their coins.”

To expedite services and eliminate the need to send coins to the United States, effective June 1, 2010, all submissions to PCGS from EU countries for grading, re-grading or crossover service will be made through the Paris office. “Grading will be performed on-site on a regular basis. All submissions from the EU to the Paris office must be made through a PCGS Authorized Dealer located in the EU. Submissions are accepted from those dealers by appointment only,” explained Muriel Eymery, Manager of the Paris office and PCGS Director of International Business Development.

Three other prominent dealers also praised the establishment of the Paris office.

Fabrice Walther of Numisaisne Paris stated: “We thank PCGS very much for establishing a presence in Europe, especially in Paris. We are convinced that in the very near future PCGS grading will make the European and world coin markets more dynamic than anybody today could have foreseen.”

Arnaud Fhal of Godot Et Fils in Paris commented: “With PCGS in Paris, French and European coin collectors can finally have easy and secure access to impartial, independent grading and the capacity to know and get the best prices for their coins.”

Jean-Claude Deroche, who represents Panorama Numismatique in Paris and has been a coin dealer for more than 30 years, says he chooses PCGS “for its international capabilities and its grading rigor.” He added: “Bienvenue to PCGS graded coins! The PCGS European setting is most welcomed in Paris. PCGS will further strengthen collectors’ confidence and security and add value to their coins.” (more…)

PCGS Announces Winners of 2010 ANA Summer Seminar Scholarships

Three lucky PCGS Set RegistrySM members have been selected to receive scholarships to the popular American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar in Colorado Springs, Colorado this year. The ANA (www.money.org) and the Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) are jointly offering tuition, meals, lodging and airfare for each of the three to attend one of the two week-long Summer Seminar sessions.

The winners, who will be attending an ANA Summer Seminar for the first time, are Christopher Bryan, James M. Bucki Sr. and Gerry Fortin.

“Winners were selected based on their set display and a brief explanation of why they should be selected for a scholarship,” said BJ Searls, Set Registry Manager.

Bryan’s set, known as “Route 66 — Tazman,” is listed under Carson City Morgan Dollars, Circulation Strikes (1878 – 1893), and can be found online.

“Christopher hopes to learn more about coins at Summer Seminar and, in particular, learn how to make the hobby better for everyone. He named his set ‘Route 66’ because he hopes to eventually have all his coins graded Mint State 66. It’s clear from his set description that he loves the hobby. His set now contains five of the highest-graded CC dollars certified by PCGS. Each coin is imaged and described in detail,” explained Searls.

Bucki’s set, named “JMBCoins Jeff Nickel Basic Proof,” is listed under Jefferson Nickels Basic Set, Proof (1965 – present) and is online.

“James is a father of six and is actively involved in the Buffalo, New York Numismatic Association. He’s the Scouting and Youth Coordinator for the club. In addition, he has instructed over 850 Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts on the Coin Collecting Merit Badge. He hopes to pass on to youths in his area what he learns from the ANA seminar. His entry had a great description of his set with detailed information and images for each coin.”

Fortin’s set, “The Gerry Fortin Liberty Seated Dime Collection,” is listed under Liberty Seated Dimes with Major Varieties, Circulation Strikes (1837 – 1891), and is online. (more…)

Highest Certified 1901-S Barber Quarter Breaks Coin Auction Records and Becomes the Star of a Coin Convention

by Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

On March 4, in Baltimore, B&M auctioned a 1901 San Francisco Mint quarter dollar, which was then PCGS certified “MS-68,” for $327,750, an auction record for a Barber quarter and for any business strike Barber coin. John Brush, acting on behalf of DLRC, was the successful bidder. While bidding, he was talking to John Feigenbaum, the President of DLRC, on the phone.

On March 25, this quarter was featured at the PCGS announcement of the SecurePlusTM program in Fort Worth, and had been regraded “MS-68+.” On March 26, Bill Shamhart negotiated with Feigenbaum to buy this quarter. During the following week, it was CAC approved, and Shamhart placed it in a private collection. Other than the Olsen-Hawn 1913 Liberty Nickel that sold during the FUN Platinum Night event, this is the most ‘talked about’ coin in 2010, so far.

I. This 1901-S sells at Auction and then Privately

Early in 2010, this 1901-S quarter remained in an NGC holder, with an MS-68 grade, and was submitted by B&M to PCGS for consideration as a ‘crossover.’ It did, in fact, ‘cross,’ meaning here that the PCGS also graded it as MS-68.

John Feigenbaum explains that, soon after this 1901-S was auctioned on March 4, the “PCGS was looking for a trophy coin to display during their announcement; so they contacted me to inquire if I would be willing to put this coin in their new holder. I was happy to oblige.” Technically, there is a new SecureShield insert in the same type of holder. This quarter became the first coin to be PCGS graded “MS-68+,” under the new system that allows for ‘+’ grades. On March 25, David Hall included this coin in his presentation, in Fort Worth, at the formal announcement of the SecurePlusTM program.

When PCGS officials contacted Feigenbaum about arranging for this coin to be a showpiece, “there was no discussion of the ‘+’ designation,” Feigenbaum reports, “that was a complete surprise. Frankly, I didn’t even know it was an option.”

On Friday, March 26, at the ANA Convention in Fort Worth, Bill Shamhart, [www.numismaticamericana.com] a New Jersey dealer and CAC consultant, arranged for one of his clients to purchase this 1901-S quarter from Feigenbaum, subject to verification of its grade by the CAC. During the following week, the CAC placed a sticker on the holder, and this quarter thus traded again. The CAC approved the MS-68 grade; the CAC will not accept or reject ‘plus’ grades. Shamhart’s client is a “lifelong collector” who desires American coins of “amazing quality.”

At auction on March 4, the firm of David Lawrence (DLRC) acquired this 1901-S quarter for inventory largely because the firm has specialized in Barber Coinage for more than a quarter century. Barber coins were minted from 1892 to 1916. John Feigenbaum’s deceased father, David Lawrence Feigenbaum, founded DLRC in 1979. David authored three books on Barber coinage, one book on each denomination, dimes, quarters and half dollars. In the late 1990s, father and son co-authored a fourth book that focused on Mint State and Proof Barber coins that were certified by the PCGS and the NGC. DLRC sells Proof, Mint State, AU and circulated Barber coins. (more…)

PCGS Expands PhotoGrade Online Coin Grading Guide to Apple iPad

The free and convenient PCGS Photograde™ Online coin grading guide (http://www.pcgs.com/photograde) introduced in January has been expanded, and now an Apple iPad™ application is available in addition to an updated Apple iPhone™ application.

More than 1,400 detailed, close-up photo images for 69 types of 18th to 21st century U.S. coin issues in up to 30 different grades are now online.

The iPad app was released simultaneously with the April 3 nationwide marketplace introduction of the iPad.

Collectors, dealers and the general public can use Photograde to easily determine the approximate grades of their U.S. coins by matching them with the high-resolution images from the extensive PCGS Grading Reference Set and other selected coins archived with the PCGS TrueView™ photo service.

“PCGS Photograde Online version 1.2 has 1,450 crystal clear photos, and now includes half cents, large cents, and Capped Bust and Seated Liberty half dimes. We’ve added nine more coin series and expanded to include more images for lower grades,” said Don Willis, President of Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com), a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

“Photograde is not a substitute for certification and authenticity of grade by PCGS experts, but this enthusiastically accepted online grading guide certainly is a useful, easy-to-use tool for anyone to quickly match up coins to estimate their grades.”

An updated, free version for the iPhone and Apple iPod touch™ now is available online at the Apple iTunes™ App Store along with a version for use on the just-introduced iPad.

“In anticipation of the huge demand for the iPad, we made an app available for the grand opening of the Apple iPad App Store on Saturday, April 3, the first day iPads went on sale nationwide,” said John Nelson, Director of the PCGS Web Applications Group.

The Finest $10 Indian Head Eagle Gold Coin Registry Set: The Simpson Collection

The all-time finest set of Indian Head Eagles was among the first coins certified under the new PCGS Secure Plus (http://www.pcgs.com/secureplus.html) system.

Known as “The Simpson Collection” and now added to the popular PCGS Set RegistrySM, the 32-coin set was assembled with the help of Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey.

The set includes 18 of the finest known gem mint condition examples of their date and mint with none graded higher. Eleven of those are unique in their top grade including a 1920-S graded PCGS MS67+, the owner’s personal favorite coin in the set.

The set was displayed at the Professional Coin Grading Service booth during the American Numismatic Association National Money Show™ in Fort Worth, Texas, March 25 – 27, 2010. The revolutionary new PCGS Secure Plus system was formally announced there on the first day of the show by David Hall, PCGS Co-Founder and Collectors Universe, Inc. President, and Don Willis, PCGS President.

“This is the finest $10 Indian set ever assembled,” said David Hall – Co-Founder of PCGS. “The quality and originality of the set are unsurpassed in numismatic history. In my opinion, the 1920-S is the most important $10 Indian in existence.”

The Simpson collection is ranked in the PCGS Set Registry as the All-Time Finest set of gold Indian Head $10 circulation strikes, 1907- 1933 (http://www.pcgs.com/setregistry/alltimeset.aspx?s=71313). It has a weighted grade point average of 66.335 and is 100 percent complete.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better inaugural set to be submitted through PCGS Secure Plus. Thirteen of the coins received the ‘+’ designation. Our entire team was blown away by the quality of these coins,” said Willis. (more…)

Industry Leaders Comment on New PCGS Secure + Coin Grading Announcement

David Lisot, Executive Producer of Coin Television has put together a montage of comments from industry leaders following the PCGS announcement of its New Secure + coin grading service

[iframe http://www.coinlink.com/Video/033110_ana_pcgs.html 544px 395px]


The PCGS Secure Plus process uses laser scanning to help detect coins that have been artificially enhanced since their last certification, combat “gradeflation” and excessive resubmissions of the same coins, and can also be used to help identify recovered stolen coins. Additionally, PCGS graders can now designate deserving, superior-quality coins as “Plus” within their respective grades, an important distinction when there are big differences in value between one grade point and the next.


The following industry professionals are included in this video as follows:

Video used with permission and courtesy of CoinTelevision.com and CoinVideo.com.

Leading Coin Grading Services PCGS & NGC Announce “Plus” Designation

The plus designation, a notation of premium quality, has been announced by NGC and PCGS. The service will be available from NGC beginning in approximately 60-days and launched formally by PCGS on March 25, 2010.

Denoted by a + symbol appearing after the grade, the plus designation indicates that a coin is of superior quality for the grade and that it approaches the next technical grade level. In numismatics, in addition to plus, several terms are used interchangeably to indicate this including premium quality, PQ, and high-end.

Aspects of the service offered by NGC and PCGS are similar. The plus designation applies only to US coins from select classic series, and it is not currently planned to be applied to modern coinage issues. Additionally, it will be used on eligible coins grading from the XF-range up to MS 68. For coins to be evaluated for the plus designation, submitters will have to opt-in to a plus designation review service in addition to the standard grading tier.

After the service launch, in approximately 60-days, coins with the plus designation will receive a point premium in the NGC Registry and be reported in a forthcoming enhancement of the NGC Census. Additionally, price guides and coin trading networks including the Certified Coin Exchange will be supporting the plus designation.

“The coin marketplace has evolved in the nearly 25 years since NGC and PCGS began certifying coins, and this is a very logical progression. We have always been conscious of the variation within grades. By providing this information on the label in the plus format, it is communicated in a simple and direct way that allows these distinctions to be readily understood,” comments NGC Chairman, Mark Salzberg.

PCGS founder David Hall stated, “The reality of the market place is that coins considered high end for the grade are recognized by sophisticated dealers and collectors and such coins are worth a premium in the marketplace. The term plus has been part of the everyday trading and grading lingo for years. For the market’s two leading grading services to recognize this reality and designate these premium coins as part of their grading services is a huge benefit to all participants in the rare coin market.” (more…)

PCGS Announces PCGS Secure Plus™, The Most Important Innovation in the Coin Industry Since the Advent of Third Party Grading.

The Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) has launched PCGS Secure Plus™, a revolutionary new process with high-tech security and scrutiny to increase the confidence of collectors and dealers, and a new certification designation that potentially can increase the value of coins.

The PCGS Secure Plus process uses laser scanning to help detect coins that have been artificially enhanced since their last certification, combat “gradeflation” and excessive resubmissions of the same coins, and can also be used to help identify recovered stolen coins. Additionally, PCGS expert graders can now designate deserving, superior-quality coins as “Plus” within their respective grades, an important distinction when there are big differences in value between one grade point and the next.

Announcement of the unprecedented breakthrough was made by PCGS executives on the opening day at the American Numismatic Association National Money Show™ in Fort Worth, Texas. They explained how the new process of digitally scanning each coin to capture its distinctive characteristics is being integrated into the PCGS grading system and how it helps resolve important issues in the rare coin marketplace by offering:

  • Increased precision and consistency in grading
  • Improved detection of altered coins
  • Less chance of “gradeflation”
  • More likely recovery if a PCGS Secure Plus coin is stolen
  • Increased value of high-end coins within each grade

Developed after years of extensive software and hardware development and testing in partnership with Coinsecure, Inc. of Palo Alto, California, the PCGS Secure Plus service digitally captures a unique “fingerprint” of each coin that is then entered into a permanent data base.

PCGS Secure Plus will introduce a new level of confidence and security in the coin collecting market” said PCGS President Don Willis. “We believe that PCGS Secure Plus addresses several of the leading issues affecting the industry today. PCGS Secure Plus is a patent-pending process wherein a coin is laser scanned, imaged and registered in a permanent data base. Every coin has its own identifying characteristics. Coins are like snowflakes at the micron level; they are very different from each other. If a coin has been previously registered in our system it will be identified whenever it’s again scanned by us, so duplication of coin information will be eliminated. As a result, population reports, condition census and other potentially distorted information will be much more accurate for PCGS Secure Plus coins.”

“The process also can help detect if a previously registered coin has been artificially toned, dipped or processed in some other way in an effort to get a higher grade. Not since PCGS introduced encapsulated third-party grading in 1986 has such an important step been taken to protect the consumer. We believe PCGS Secure Plus will totally revolutionize the coin grading business,” said Willis. (more…)

PCGS Unveils “The Big One” March 25 in Fort Worth

Executives of Professional Coin Grading Service will make their eagerly-anticipated announcement about a revolutionary new service on Thursday, March 25, 2010.

Frequently described in recent months as “The Big One” by PCGS Co-Founder and Collectors Universe President, David Hall, the revelation will be made at 10:30 a.m. in Room 108 of the Fort Worth, Texas Convention Center. The public is invited to attend the announcement and demonstrations to be made by Hall and PCGS President Don Willis on opening day of the American Numismatic Association National Money Show™.

“We will unveil the ‘next step, the new way, The Big One,’ and it’s going to change coin grading for the better,” said Hall who has been offering tantalizing hints about the new PCGS service since last fall.

“We believe this will totally revolutionize the coin grading business,” Willis added.

“When PCGS first started grading coins in 1986, it was the most significant development ever for the protection of the coin collecting public. We will unveil the next giant step in further protecting the consumer.”

Detailed information will be posted on the PCGS web site at about noon, Central Time, on March 25.

A special display showcasing coins from the BRS Legacy Collection of Indian Head Eagles will be exhibited at the PCGS booth, #604, during the show. “This collection ranks as one of the finest, if not the finest, sets of Indian $10 gold ever assembled, and this will be the first time it’s ever been exhibited,” said Willis.

PCGS will offer on-site authentication and grading services at the ANA National Money Show. The three-day event is open to the public, March 25 – 27, at the Fort Worth Convention Center, 1201 Houston St.

For additional information about the ANA National Money Show visit www.NationalMoneyShow.com. For additional information about PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT), call (800) 477-8848 or visit online at www.PCGS.com.

PCGS Offering TrueView Photo Service, Special Discounts and Dale Friend Half Dollar Display at Long Beach Expo

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS at www.PCGS.com) will display a spectacular collection of early U.S. half dollars, offer special discounts for coins submitted for authentication and grading, and give collectors and dealers an opportunity to have their coins digitally imaged with the PCGS TrueViewTM photo service during the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo (www.LongBeachExpo.com), February 4 – 6, 2010.

1796_50c_16stars_Dale_Friend Visitors will also see a $10 million “Ship of Gold” exhibit of sunken treasure recovered from the fabled SS Central America that sank in a hurricane in 1857 while carrying tons of California Gold Rush coins and ingots. The acclaimed “Ship of Gold” display is housed in a 40-foot long representation of the ship’s hull,” and is coming out of “dry dock” for this special exhibit at the February Long Beach Expo.

The show will be held in the Long Beach, California Convention Center, 100 S. Pine Ave.

PCGS will display more than 100 high-grade coins from the award-winning Dale Friend collection of circulation strike early half dollars, 1794 – 1839, and his set of major varieties of early U.S. halves. Both sets have earned the honor of being the number one-time finest in their category in the PCGS Set RegistrySM.

“Collectors and dealers who saw these sets displayed by PCGS at the recent FUN show in Orlando were simply awe-struck by the gorgeous, original toning and luster of these coins,” said Donald E. Willis Jr., President of PCGS. PCGS and the Long Beach Expo (Expos Unlimited) are divisions of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

“Twenty of the coins are either the finest known or tied for the finest ever graded by PCGS. This is an opportunity for West Coast collectors to see them in person through the courtesy of Dale Friend,” said BJ Searls, PCGS Set Register Manager. (more…)

PCGS Million Dollar Coin Club™ Launched

Although most collectors and dealers may never personally own a seven-figure numismatic rarity, enjoying and learning about them now is easy and fun with the launch of the PCGS Million Dollar Coin Club™ (www.PCGS.com/Million-Dollar-Coin-Club), a free reference guide available from the Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com).

The “club” presently consists of 210 United States rare coins that have sold at auction for $1 million or more, or would sell for that much if offered, according to the expert opinions of five well-known professional numismatists. The list will be updated four times a year.

“Our estimate for the total current value of these 210 United States coin rarities is $475,515,000,” said David Hall, PCGS Co-Founder and President of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT) who is among the pricing consultants who prepared the list. The other four experts in the group are Ron Guth, President of PCGS CoinFacts; Kevin Lipton, President of Kevin Lipton Rare Coins of Beverly Hills, California; Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions of Dallas, Texas; and Laura Sperber, Co-President of Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey.

Rankings and information in the PCGS Million Dollar Coin Club will be updated every three months online at www.PCGS.com/Million-Dollar-Coin-Club and in a printed, full-color educational booklet when more coins reach that mark and others already in the “club” bring new prices at upcoming auctions. The first edition of the booklet will be available from PCGS at the 2010 Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando, Florida, January 7 – 10.

“The first U.S. coin to reach the million dollar mark was the Eliasberg specimen 1913 Liberty Head nickel 14 years ago. It sold at auction for $1,485,000 on May 21, 1996. Today, there are 210 coins that would bring $1 million or more if offered in the marketplace,” said Hall. (more…)

New, Free PCGS PhotogradeTM Online Available, iPhoneTM App Also Available

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) has launched PCGS PhotogradeTM Online as part of the recently revamped PCGS web site. An Apple iPhoneTM version also is available.

pcgs_photogradeUsing high-resolution images from the extensive PCGS Grading Reference Set and other selected coins also archived with the acclaimed PCGS TrueViewTM photo service, collectors, dealers and the general public can match up their United States coins with the superb-quality online photos to determine their approximate grades and values of their coins.

PCGS Photograde Online is free, and provides detailed close-up photo images for 25 types of 19th and 20th century U.S. coinage issues in up to 12 different grades.

A special PCGS Photograde Online application for iPhones and the Apple iPod touchTM can be downloaded free from the Apple iTunes App Store. It will be demonstrated by PCGS during the upcoming Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando.

“PCGS Photograde Online is one of the most useful, easy-to-use tools ever developed. While it is not a substitute for certification of authenticity and grade by PCGS experts, it will revolutionize the coin collecting experience. Even a novice will be able to estimate the grade by comparing his or her coin to the photo that most closely matches its condition,” said Don Willis, PCGS President. (more…)

Top 12 Rare Coin Buybacks – PCGS Puts its Money Where Its Mouth Is!

The following is from the PCGS website about Updates to the PCGS Guarantee. This is the first time we know of where one of the major grading services has been so forthcoming as to buybacks under their guarantee, and In Our Optinion, PCGS should be commended for its transparency and openness.

pcgs_logo_lg_refFor 24 years we’ve stood behind the service we provide to you not with a money back/fee returned policy if we make a mistake…not with a “we’re sorry, we’ll return your grading fee or give you free grading” policy if we make a mistake…but with an actual cash guarantee for the market value of the coins we grade and authenticate.

They say that talk is cheap and money talks. So when it comes to the validity of the PCGS Grading Guarantee we’ll let the money do the talking. Here are the cold facts about what we’ve done in the past 24 years.

In the past 24 years, PCGS has (as of Dec 1, 2009) graded 18,784,536 coins with a declared value of $19,138,747,536. That’s 18 million coins worth over 19 billion dollars!

In the past 24 years, PCGS has paid out $7,320,437 under the terms of the PCGS Grading Guarantee. When we make a mistake that involves your coins, we pay for our mistake. It’s that simple.

Here are some detailed figures of the money we’ve paid out under the terms of our grading guarantee. The following is the total amount paid in each of the last six calendar years;
2003…$365,525
2004…$222,227
2005…$507,692
2006…$382,384
2007…$562,541
2008…$1,945,755
2009 (thru Dec 1)…$498,798

You’ll note that the cash figures are increasing, but this may be explained by the fact that coins are worth more today than they were in 2003. The huge amount bought back in 2008 was probably a “perfect storm” aberration (January, 2008 was not a good month for PCGS…see below). (more…)

PCGS Launches All-New Web Site for Coin Collectors

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASADQ: CLCT), announces the unveiling of a completely new version of its popular web site, www.pcgs.com. With 3 million page views each month, PCGS.com is one of the most-visited web sites in the entire numismatic field.

new_pcgs_site_120409The new site represents more than just a face lift. Its cleaner feel and more logical arrangement of links and information make navigation much easier than in the past. “It shouldn’t take regular visitors long to adjust to the new site,” said PCGS President Don Willis. “We’ve designed it to be less cluttered and more intuitive, making it easier for both frequent and newer visitors to find the information they’re looking for.”

With ease of use in mind, PCGS has eliminated the left-side menu and made the most frequently used pages accessible via the main menu bar at the top. The buttons link directly to PCGS Home, Services, Price Guide, Set Registry, PCGS CoinFacts, Resources, PCGS Store and About PCGS.

Underneath these choices, PCGS offers a weekly video and a Product Spotlight to highlight new products and services and provide a snapshot of “What’s New” at PCGS and in the coin industry.

Beneath these features, the user is given the opportunity to navigate by topic. For example, on the far left, new collectors are encouraged to Take the First Step. Under this heading, there are links to everything they need to get started in coin collecting: a New to Coins link takes them directly to the newly updated Start Here page, and links to vital information like why you should have your coins graded and how to obtain ballpark pricing from the PCGS Price Guide.

The last link in that group is to a new PCGS service that will make it immeasurably easier for new collectors to ascertain ballpark values for their coins. “We feel this could be one of the most useful tools ever developed for obtaining coin values,” Don Willis explained. “Once new collectors use CoinFacts to determine what they coin have, they can go to our Online Photograde to at least get an approximate grade.” (more…)

PCGS To Dispaly All-Time Finest Registry Set of Early U.S. Half Dollars at FUN

1794 half dollar, PCGS MS61 finest known, from the Dale Friend Collection.More than 100 coins from the all-time finest registry set of early U.S. half dollars in the PCGS Set RegistrySM will be displayed at the Professional Coin Grading Service booth, January 7 – 9, 2010, during the first three days of the Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando. The coins are from the collection of Dale Friend of Nevada, and 20 of them are either the finest or tied for the finest ever graded by PCGS.

“This wonderful collection has been assembled over many years. Dale has always attempted to combine the finest technical grade with the choicest eye appeal. Most of these early half dollars have gorgeous, original toning and luster, and are a pleasure to examine,” said Donald E. Willis, Jr., President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

Friend’s basic set collection of circulation strike early half dollars, 1794 – 1839, has been ranked number one in the PCGS Set Registry the past six years. His set with major varieties has been the best the past four years. Both sets have earned the honor of being the number one all-time finest in their category.

“The basic set is 100 percent complete and has a weighted grade point average of 59.831. The early half dollars set with varieties is nearly 90 percent complete and has a weighted GPA of 59.104,” said BJ Searls, PCGS Set Registry Manager.

A total of 101 coins from Friend’s award-winning early half dollars collections will be exhibited at the PCGS booth, #138, at the FUN convention. (more…)

PCGS Brings TrueView Coin Imaging Service to Baltimore Show

pcgs_tru-view_111009
Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) will give collectors and dealers a special opportunity to have their PCGS-graded coins digitally imaged with the PCGS TrueView photo service on-site during the first two days of the Whitman Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention at the Baltimore Convention Center, November 12 – 15, 2009.

“The PCGS TrueView service offers quality images that quality coins deserve. TrueView images are among the finest in the numismatic hobby,” said Don Willis, President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

“The onsite coin imaging is offered in conjunction with any PCGS show service except for crossovers. Attendees at the Baltimore show also have the option of submitting PCGS-graded coins for imaging only.”

Phil Arnold, PCGS Numismatic Photographer, will be onsite at the Baltimore show on Thursday, November 12, and the morning of Friday, November 13. The TrueView service in Baltimore will be available on a limited first-come, first-served basis. The price is $50 per coin.

For additional information, check with PCGS Customer Service representatives at booths 1308, 1309 and 1310 at the Baltimore Expo.

Images will be available for viewing on www.PCGS.com by Friday, November 20. They can be accessed by entering the coin’s certification number under Cert Verification on the Home page of the PCGS web site.

PCGS will also offer a one-day walkthrough grading turnaround for $100 on any coin with a maximum value of $100,000. Two additional show grading specials for on-site authentication and grading in Baltimore will be available to all PCGS Authorized Dealers and members of the PCGS Collectors Club:

  • $65 for U.S. and world coins valued up to $3,000 each with a minimum submission of five coins; and
  • $45 for any U.S. gold coins valued up to $3,000 each with a minimum submission of ten coins

For additional information about the Whitman Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention, visit online at www.WhitmanExpo.com.