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Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS)
(from the PCGS web site)
The Professional Coin Grading Service began serving the coin-buying public in 1986 as the first third-party coin grading service.
The firm is responsible for dramatic improvements throughout the rare coin industry which have forever changed the way rare coins are bought and sold. In addition to standardized grading, PCGS offers a cash-backed grading guarantee, problem-free coins, safe long-term storage, and sight-unseen trading. Together, these elements have created unprecedented public support for the rare coin industry.
Working in tandem with the PCGS Guarantee is the important link provided by computerized numismatic exchanges and their member firms. Such computerized trading networks have made it possible for many PCGS certified coins to be bought and sold sight-unseen?and coast-to-coast through electronic trading networks, via telephone and internet auctions.
In turn, electronic trading of coins sight-unseen has been made possible only because of the high level of confidence consumers have in the integrity of PCGS encapsulated coins.
Today, this modern financial market links buyers and sellers in a manner somewhat like the way in which brokers may trade shares on the stock market. The daily quotation of bid and ask prices, and the negotiation of transactions between market makers has created improved liquidity for a number of PCGS coins.
Behind the Scenes at PCGS
PCGS?s staff of graders is selected from an elite group of world-class numismatic experts. Each grader is experienced not only in the PCGS standards, but also in the proper handling of all numismatic items. During grading, each coin is carefully and independently examined. PCGS utilizes a grading scale based on published standards and an extensive grading set of coins.
Once the grading process is complete, the coin (with a certification tag indicating its individual identification number, denomination and grade), is sonically sealed inside a tamper-evident coin capsule. Finally, it is returned to the grading room for verification by another expert. Only after this final verification is the coin returned to the marketplace with its guaranteed PCGS grade.
Once graded, each coin is sonically sealed inside its protective, tamper-evident PCGS NumisCap holder. A special tag within indicates the coin?s certification number, grade, date, denomination, unique bar code and pedigree if applicable. The Series Number and Coin Number used on the PCGS certification insert correspond to the numbers listed in the PCGS Guide to collecting coins.
PCGS pioneered the tamper-evident, sonically-sealed, high security capsule as a method of reinforcing its Guarantee of Grade & Authenticity of each PCGS coin. The unique certification number permanently sealed inside each coin capsule may be utilized by the coin?s owner as a reliable means of identification after the PCGS coin re-enters the marketplace. Equally important, PCGS?s hard plastic holder provides optimum protection for safe, long-term storage of rare coins.
As a final quality control check, all PCGS graded coins go back to the grading room for review by a ?verifying? grader. The verifier carefully examines each coin through its Tamper-evident holder to ensure the integrity of the sealed capsule, and to check the accuracy of all certification information.
PCGS Guarantee of Grade & Authenticity
The Guarantee of Grade & Authenticity is fundamental to PCGS?s concept of third-party grading. The cash-back policy ensures the accuracy of the grade assigned to any PCGS coin as long as it remains in its tamper-evident holder. If a coin is believed to be improperly graded, and a discrepancy is found when resubmitted through PCGS?s Guarantee Resubmission service, the guarantee entitles the coin?s owner to options designed for his protection.
PCGS has a policy prohibiting the encapsulation of coins with problems such as: artificial toning, excessive cleaning, environmental damage, PVC damage, major scratches, or planchet flaws. (Note: PCGS does not refund grading fees on coins which must be rejected, since the coin must be examined to determine its status.)
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