Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) & Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC)
Providing Security, Value and Liquidity in Today's Rare Coin Market
Coins are minted in two qualities—Uncirculated, like rolls of cents, dimes and quarters for general circulation, and for certain collector coins like American Eagles, minted in gold, silver and platinum; and Proof, generally made in limited quantities exclusively for collectors.
When Uncirculated trade coins are minted, they may get scratched or nicked as they come off the presses, are placed in bags, and shipped to the Federal Reserve and banks around the country. Commemorative coins are handled with greater care to keep contact marks at a minimum. And as trade coins are actually used in commerce they get worn, scratched and dinged with time.
Proof coins are made strictly for collectors. The dies are hand polished and the metal blanks are polished before each coin receives one or more blows from the press. This produces coins of superb quality—with mirror-like fields contrasting with frosty raised designs. But even a proof coin can be mishandled.
Thus, the coin collecting community now relies on third-party independent grading services—that, following expert inspection of each coin, determines if it is genuine and if so assigns a numeric grade (from “1” for an extremely worn coin to “70” for an absolutely perfect coin), and sonically seals the coin in an inert clear holder (often called a “slab”).
- Examples of numerical grades follow; there are also intermediate grades, i.e. MS-66, MS-62, etc.:
- MS-70 (for Uncirculated coins) or PF-70 (for Proof coins): Absolute perfection, with no marks whatsoever.
- MS-65 or PF 65: Far above average, with very few minor contact marks.
- MS-63 or PF-63: Above average, with scattered generally light contact marks.
- MS-60 or PF-60: No trace of actual wear but may show a number of contact marks, scratches, dings, etc.
- AU-50 or PF-50: About Uncirculated, with a hint of light wear.
- Circulated grades run from EF-45 (Extremely Fine, with very light wear), VF-20 (Very Fine, with light even wear), F-12 (Fine, with moderate wear), etc.
- Morgan Gold deals almost exclusively in premium grades, except for “raw” gold or silver bullion coins.
The Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) enjoy such strong reputations among both dealers and private collectors/investors that they have become the standards for determining value in the rare coin market. Coins certified by these services are highly prized, and thus enjoy the highest valuations and easiest liquidity in the numismatic/bullion marketplace. For this reason, Morgan Gold strongly recommends that collectors and investors wishing to acquire certified coins, choose only those coins that have been certified by PCGS or NGC.