Important News! CoinLink has merged..... Visit our NEW Site www.CoinWeek.com

BREAKING NEWS:....... Vist Our NEW Site at CoinWeek.com

All Posts Tagged With: "David Hall"

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…)

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.”

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.

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.

20th Century Gold Club Holds Fascinating Meeting During FUN Convention

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

I. Introduction to the Club and this Meeting

On Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010, the 20th Century Gold Club conducted their fifth meeting at a hotel near the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando where the January FUN Convention was held. In the field of choice and rare U.S. coins, the annual Winter FUN Convention is one of the leading events of the year.

This club is private, small, exclusive, and sophisticated. I am honored to have been invited to attend. Moreover, I feel privileged to have the cooperation of the founders for the purpose of writing about the proceedings and communicating the educational and other purposes of this club to coin enthusiasts at large. Some of the presentations and discussions at the event were truly fascinating and the enthusiasm of the members for coins filled the atmosphere. The event was stimulating and fun.

The current president, Jay Brahin, directed the meeting. The speakers were David Hall, John Albanese and John Dannreuther. David Hall is the primary founder of the PCGS and he is currently the CEO of its parent company. Hall is an expert in early 20th century U.S. gold coins.

Hall spoke about the new PCGS program of identifying coins that each have a market value of $1 million or more, the “Million Dollar Club.” I asked if coins in museums are included, and I was surprised that they are with rather specific estimated values. I also asked why the two unique 1797 Half Eagles in the Smithsonian are not on the list. Reportedly, these two 1797s are the only known survivors of two different, readily apparent varieties. Additionally, Hall voiced intriguing comments regarding PCGS estimates of the values of 1933 Double Eagles.

In the second part of David Hall’s presentation, he introduced the results of research at the PCGS regarding the market values in 1970 of Saint Gaudens Double Eagles. The tricky part of such research is determining how specific coins in 1970 have or would be later graded by the PCGS, so price appreciation of specific dates in specific grades can be tracked and analyzed. Though David Akers voiced a critical remark or two regarding such values, most of the members of the club were impressed by the data and astonished by how low the prices were for such terrific coins in 1970. As an aside, note that Dr. Duckor has long argued that gem quality, better-date early 20th century gold coins were not really appreciated until the 1980s. One of the purposes of the club is to bring about a greater appreciation of early 20th century gold coins. (more…)

Platinum Night was Golden; Bellwether Sale Sparks Markets for U.S. Coin Rarities

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

I. Introduction & Overview

In 2010, the annual FUN Platinum Night event was held on Thursday, Jan. 7. It is just one session in Heritage’s annual auction extravaganza, which is conducted in association with the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Convention in Orlando. During this one night, however, an incredible selection of U.S. gold coins was offered. The total prices realized for Platinum Night alone was more than $25 million. The most famous coin in the sale is the Olsen-Hawn 1913 Liberty Nickel, which realized about $3.74 million.

olsen_1913_liberty_nickelAlthough Heritage conducts two to four Platinum Night events per year, the January FUN Platinum Night event is usually the most newsworthy. On, Jan. 7, three different items sold for more than one million dollars each, and there was an excellent offering of Brilliant Proof gold coins.

One of the most interesting coins in the sale is a Proof 1839 Half Eagle ($5 gold coin). It is NGC certified as Proof-61. This coin is, indisputably, a Proof. Many pre-1840 coins that are regarded as, or even certified as, Proofs, are questionable. Matt Kleinsteuber agrees, “it is definitely 100% Proof, other coins of the era are ambiguous” in regard to Proof status. Moreover, it is one of only two known Proof Half Eagles of this date. It was formerly in the collection of King Farouk. It brought $181,000.

Several past Platinum Night events have featured dazzling collections of U.S. silver coins and/or individual silver coins of tremendous importance. The Jan. 2010 event will be remembered primarily for business strike Saint Gaudens Double Eagles ($20 gold coins), Brilliant Proof gold coins, a Bickford $10 gold pattern, a few exceptional gold type coins, a neat run of 19th century quarters, some popular Mint Errors, and a 1913 Liberty Nickel. Please click here to read the article that I devoted to this 1913 Liberty Nickel. Therein, I cover the coin, its importance, and the auction action, in detail.

Since then, David Hall has told me that he “thought the 1913 Liberty nickel brought a good price. [$3,737,500] wasn’t a moon price, but it’s a $3 million dollar coin so an extra 25% is a lot of money.” Hall is the primary founder of the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), and remains a force behind the PCGS and its parent company.

Adam Crum of Monaco Rare Coins agrees that the $3.74 million result is “a really strong price” for this nickel. Moreover, Crum remarks that, “for weeks, buyers of expensive gold coins were sitting on their hands waiting for the Platinum sale. The success of Platinum Night ignited a fire. On Friday, there was a mad rush nationwide for rare gold coins.” (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…)

David Hall Featured on CNBC Rare Coins Report

An informative video news report about the rare coin market has been posted by CNBC on its web site. PCGS Co-Founder David Hall is prominently featured in the story.

null“The market’s very active and very strong, though prices are down a little. The exception, of course, being the gold coins,” Hall told CNBC during the video taping at the September Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo.

“There’s no question that there’s a huge financial component to this marketplace.”

The report mentions the PCGS3000TM Index that collectors, investors and dealers use to track the historical price trends of the rare coin marketplace and 3,000 specific U.S. coins.

The four-minute news segment prominently features well-known early American coppers collector Walter J. Husak of California whose astounding collection of large cents – nearly every one of them certified by PCGS – shattered records in a $10 million auction conducted by Heritage Auctions in Long Beach in February 2008. Husak explains that he re-purchased some of his previous coins, as well as made new acquisitions for his collection, at the recent auction of the Dan Holmes and Ted Naftzger collections conducted by Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles. Those coins also were certified by PCGS and many set record prices.

PCGS and the Long Beach Expo are divisions of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

Grading Specials Highlight PCGS’ Offerings at September Long Beach Expo

David Hall will personally examine your coins in Long Beach Sept. 10 & 11 from 1 - 3 p.m. (Photo credit: Donn Pearlman.  All rights reserved.)Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) will have special discounts for certification services during the Long Beach, California Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo, September 10 – 12, 2009.  You’ll also have the opportunity to have your coins informally, personally examined by PCGS Co-Founder, David Hall, during Meet the Expert sessions, and hear about the exciting expansion of the PCGS CoinFacts (www.PCGSCoinFacts.com) web site, the Internet’s most comprehensive, one-stop source for historical U.S. numismatic information.

Ron Guth will discuss the all-new PCGS CoinFacts in Long Beach, Sept. 10 & 11 at 1 p.m. (Photo credit: Donn Pearlman.  All rights reserved.)The following Show Grading Specials for on-site authentication and grading at Long Beach will be available to all PCGS Authorized Dealers and members of the PCGS Collectors Club.

$100 for one-day “walkthrough” turnaround on any coin with a maximum value of $100,000; $65 for U.S. and world coins valued up to $3,000 each with a minimum submission of five coins; and $45 for any gold coins valued up to $3,000 each with a minimum submission of ten coins.

“Submitters can mix and match.  To reach the minimum number of items you can submit any combination of coins for grading, re-grading and/or crossover services,” explained Don Willis, PCGS President.  “These show specials give collectors and dealers an excellent opportunity to put the power of PCGS behind their coins, and save time and money.”

PCGS Customer Service Representatives will be available at the booth (#807) to answer questions about these and other products and services, and to accept submissions for all levels of service. PCGS will accept submissions for on-site grading in Long Beach until 5 p.m., Friday, September 11.
(more…)