Okies, so I've been fielding lots of questions about my NCS/NGC experience. So here are my thoughts. Pleasures and Pains I'll start on the negatives, and then finish on the positive notes. Jargon: NCS - these are the people that conserve the coins... i.e. Make them shiny again without damaging the coin. NGC - these are the people that grade your coins... i.e. They give your coins a written exam and a score out of 70. Sometimes the Pandas answer well, sometimes they don't. Pains Membership... well, I think I have thoroughly wasted my "Elite" status at this stage (along with it a small sum of cash). Which is really very sad - since I'm not made up of gold and silver MS70s. Elite's are suppose to get 10% off their NGC bill. BUT if you send your Pandas to NCS first, then you forfeit your 10% discount! If I don't conserve, I save 10%. If I do conserve, I get no discount. Why punish the Elite members for using a service which is suppose to bring out the best out of our Pandas? As a parent, I try to reward good behavior, and discourage bad behavior. It feels like NCS/NGC are discouraging good behavior. It makes sense to send directly to NGC (and completely bypass NCS) if you are grading stuff with almost zero numismatic worth, like ASEs/Maples/Koalas/etc, or even the 2011 or 2012 Pandas. But for any Pandas older than 2010, it makes sense to send them to NCS first - just don't pay for the Elite status. There's very little benefit that I see at this stage. Cost ...well, there are some services you think are really good value for money - like a Happy Meal at McDonalds, or a high speed internet connection for Starcraft, Call of Duty, YouTube, torrents, Wondergirls, etc homework. But then there are some services where you are pretty sure they are extracting every cent from you because you are in vulnerable position. NGC/NCS fees don't feel like a happy meal... It feels like they charge for everything. I submitted in early January, and got hit with the latest new price fees which didn't feel nice. Here's a list of some of the fees you can expect: a) Invoice handling fee - $8 This is like McDonalds charging you an $8 handling fee when you buy a Happy Meal! b) Modern Conservation with Grading - $26.50/coin. I think this is fair. Special secret cleaning technique, combined with the careful examiners eye. Not cheap, but not expensive. c) Internet Imaging - $5/coin I think this should be FREE. After all, shouldn't the top grading service include some digital archive of what they just tested? But from NGC's perspective, they obviously need to pay someone to go "click". d) Attributes - $12/coin This was the fee to add attributes like "Large Date/Small Date/Mirror" to the NGC label. This means, for a 2000 Mirror, to have the word "Mirror" added to your NGC label, you need to pay $2 per letter. I thought this was a bad joke - and fortunately it was. NGC later removed this fee. Top stuff NGC! Truly much appreciated! Time From the time they received my goodies 27/01/12, it took them almost a month (20/02/12) to finish processing my bears. About 3 and a half weeks (not including postal times). I can't be too harsh in regards to this, after all, the Pandas are probably sitting in a special spa to remove their toning and grime. But hopefully in the future this rather long wait can be reduced to something nearer to a week. Okies, so those are my pains... mainly Fees and Time. If I made money like rabbits make rabbits, I probably wouldn't have any complaints... but considering I make money like Pandas make Pandas (with divine assistance often required), the fees sting is quite painful. Pleasure Name The NGC name is well respected, and arguably the most respected name in Modern Chinese Coins. Authenticity There are lots of rumours of fake NGC slabs, but I haven't (personally) seen any fake NGC slabs yet. The NGC Certification number, alongside a digital photograph, goes a long way to soothe any concerns. (NGC have some pictures of fake slabs on their website from a few years ago) Organization The people at NGC appear to be fairly well organized. The ability to track where your bears are in the process is pretty cool... but I suppose that is all part and parcel with a $8 invoice handling fee . They sent me the USPS tracking number which is very helpful (no fee for this thankfully). Photos At the conclusion of the grading, if you chose to have a digital photograph taken, they will email you the pics of your bears. Which is very cool... I suppose that's why it costs $5 each! If you sent in 50coins... that's $250 worth of digital images (an online subscription to the WonderGirls Pricepedia is cheaper than this!) Not exactly cheap... but it is nice to see the bears before they come home. Communication This is where NGC really shine. Whatever questions I had usually got answered within 24hours, and sometimes within a few minutes of sending. I'm sure this level of service applies to all levels of membership, and not just the Elite! Slabs I prefer the NGC slab much more than the PCGS one. I wish a scratch proof case was the norm though. After all, who isn't going to play with their bears? Conclusion: Despite high fees and a long wait, NGC/NCS in my opinion provide a valuable service. I'll definitely be a repeat customer, and am likely to be sending almost all (if not all) my bears to them (despite not getting a 10% discount). If you got a lot of cash, and time isn't a problem, then you are likely to have an entirely positive experience with NGC. Oh yeah, I got an MS70 1993 Gold Panda, so that makes me a very happy Panda man! <Now i'm just waiting for these bears to come back home> NGC/NCS Highly Recommended!