Are you a numismatist? Nope, that’s not the name of a dreaded disease; it’s another name for coin collectors (but if you’re a seasoned coin collector, you probably knew that already). If you’re ready to trade and sell your coins, but you’re not that confident about assessing them for their value, one of your best moves will be to consult with a third-party grading service. Here are the guidelines to remember if you want to submit your coins to professional coin grading services:
- Know the top professional grading services. The top professional grading services include the following: PCGS, or Professional Coin Grading Service; NGC or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America; ANACS, or Amos Certification Services; and ICG, or Independent Coin Grading Co.
There are other coin grading services that specialize in particular coins. For example, the ACCS or Ancient Coin Certification Service specializes in ancient coins (for an extra fee, they could also provide information on the coin’s historical significance); the ICCS or International Coin Certification Service specializes in international coins; and the Robert Matthews Coin Authentication specializes in British-milled coins.
- Visit the different websites of your shortlisted professional grading services. Take the time to research on the following factors: their charges for coin grading; the number of days before you will be sent the results (also known as “turnaround”); added features and benefits (for example, refund policies, discounts, and tracking information); and their requirements for coin packaging.
- Know how to get started. The different grading services have slight variations on how you could get started with obtaining their services. For example, PCGS will require you to complete an online form before you submit your coins. If you want to submit your coins to NGC, you can do so by any of the following steps: by being a paying member of the NGC Collector’s Society or the American Numismatic Association (ANA), or by submitting your coins personally to an authorized dealer in your area. Again, the important thing is that you visit the website of the different grading services so you could find out which have policies and procedures that are most convenient for you.
- Know some of their details for grading coins. Make sure that you read about their policies for grading. For example, PCGS and NGS doesn’t grade (or “bodybags”) coins with major problems or defects, but they don’t offer a refund. ANACS on the other hand does grade these problem coins and details the technicalities of these coins as well. You should also find out about their guarantees and their procedures for grading. Finally, you might also be interested about how they “slab” coins – slabbing simply refers to how the coins are encapsulated in sonically sealed and hard plastic covers. For example, ANACS has less-attractive slabs than those offered by PCGS and NGC.
- Know some issues associated with coin grading. Though reputable, some of the coin grading services mentioned above are notorious for being too liberal and sometimes almost arbitrary about their coin grading. It’s surmised that professional graders may be doing this intentionally; some coin collectors have taken to submitting their coins repeatedly, until they acquire the highest possible grading on their coins. This will then entail higher revenues for the coin graders.
Submitting your coins to professional grading services is all about carefully browsing through the instructions, features and details of grading of reputable coin grading services, and choosing which is the best service for your situation. Good luck!