[OPINION] NCS/NGC Experience - Pleasure and Pain

Discussion in 'Modern Chinese Coins & Medallions' started by yennus, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. yennus

    yennus Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    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!
     
  2. low

    low New Member

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    Yennus, you really have magical power with your words.
     
  3. fishball

    fishball New Member Silver Stacker

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    I think you've convinced me to send a few of my coins in for grading...especially some of the more expensive bears.

    How do you pay them (NCS/NGC), by credit card?
     
  4. yennus

    yennus Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    Yep, cc accepted.
     
  5. Zinger

    Zinger New Member

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    Thanks for the indepth writeup. My input.

    Scratchproof case is standard for NCS submissions, so it adds to that value over a plain NGC submission.
    The tier system is nonsense and not very well explained, their NCS version of elite offers free submissions, but these only offer good value on very expensive coins.
    Your turnaround time was actually pretty good. I have submissions from Jan still marked as scheduled for evaluation at NCS.
     
  6. Austacker

    Austacker Active Member

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    Totally agree, payday this week my first batch goes off for grading so hopefully it is a similar story.

    If you do not want a photo, do they still take one for their archives anyway ? So when you do a check on serial number there is a picture. If so then this is good enough for me. Can anyone confirm this ?

    Well done, congrats and thanks for the write up :)
     
  7. musemellow

    musemellow Member

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    I am going to submit coins to NCS in the end of this week,

    Which delivery service that you use from NGC to AU?

    If you are using USPS/fedex/ups,
    I want to get my items returned via USPS, but I don't have USPS/fedex/ups account number, should this to be left blank? do I need to contact them before submitting?
     
  8. Austacker

    Austacker Active Member

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    FWIW I am sending in smaller batches even though I may pay a little more. My reasons are to minimise risk of a large parcel going missing or even getting damaged etc... So somewhere between 500g - 1.5k is what I am looking at. Also keeping under 2kg I read that will cost extra into the US as well.

    These will be sent via Aus Post and and a version of express post with tracking. I know they will not insure on these but I believe they will be OK. Damn hope that is not prophetic... By making them move quick it is normally more automated and scanned in locations. Again on return just using USPS and they will charge the service to you I assume ? I will give them CC numbers for convenience.

    My membership level was just the basic one. As I have mainly older coins these will be sent to NCS anyway so the discount that Yennus mentioned has no benefit. I am not looking for a photo either.

    The other problem I am having is do I send a whole sheet in even if I suspect there is a coin that may grade a little lower say MS67,68 not sure as we all know it is not an exact science. I see it as better value to only send in the best I have and leave the rest in OMP ? I may may be totally wrong but if I feel there may be something that could effect the grade then it is better to sell as OMP than MS67 ? Thoughts on that. Or just send in the sheet and wait :)

    On return the value of the coin will be listed as what it would be slabbed. If questioned by Customs on duties it will be explained about the cost of the conservation and slabbing only. As I have sent a smaller amount it will not be over $1000 of slabbed coins, as such no duties or taxes payable.

    Interested to see how others think and what they have or are planning to do as well.
     
  9. musemellow

    musemellow Member

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    Austacker,
    My plan:

    Planning to send 30 or 40 coins at once, probably 30 to ensure that the parcel weighs less than 2kg

    I am going to use AU Post, Express international post
    and USPS for returns, but we need to provide USPS Account number in the submission form (need assistance on that)

    When I tried to submit via online form, it won't allow me to choose USPS delivery option if I don't have any USPS account number
     
  10. camylopez

    camylopez Member Silver Stacker

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    Viewed 3 fake NGC slabs last week. Also matched up with digital photo online. Sooo hard to check the legitimacy of the coin, at the end of the day, once i was certain, ripped open the casing to double check.
    I dont see many ppl prepared to stand by and watch that happen.
     
  11. fishball

    fishball New Member Silver Stacker

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  12. yennus

    yennus Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    That's really interesting to hear. Do you have any pics?

    What type of coins were they?
     
  13. musemellow

    musemellow Member

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    If this is strue,
    It will be very bad for MCC or Numismatics in general,

    fake pandas on NGC slab, we can at least still notice the differences.
    But MS69, labeled as MS70 fake slab?
     
  14. Pandacollector

    Pandacollector Active Member

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    "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."

    Best line I've read in ages; I am still smiling. Thank you.

    Best wishes,
    Peter Anthony
    http://www.pandacollector.com
     
  15. Pandacollector

    Pandacollector Active Member

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    It's been a while, but when I went looking for fake slabbed coins (both companies) I found them advertised online from China. I remember seeing modern Chinese, American and other coins on the site. There was a regular business pitch that came with it extolling how high the profit margin could be. Sorry to not have a link. I think the NGC policy of posting photos of graded coins is a very good idea that makes it easier to detect fakes.

    Best wishes,
    Peter Anthony
    http://www.pandacollector.com
     
  16. camylopez

    camylopez Member Silver Stacker

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    hmmm, not sure how to prove it. Unfortunately didn't have a camera with me.
    I do not in any way claim to experienced in ngc certificates, I have only handled them a few times however this listing on ebay was one of them.
    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI...RK:MEDWX:IT&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc#ht_500wt_941

    the other coins were all chinese coins as well, but unknown to me

    I will be clear, that the 1982 panda was not the one in the picture, the bamboo stem went to far to the rim and on the front the steps went as well to far to the rim, with some shading in centre. Final proof, weight was 1.6 grams out.

    here is a pic and a listing of a very similar one i saw last week, obviously, you guys will know more about pandas than me, so you will be better at picking the differences.

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/1982-1-4...pt=AU_Coins2&hash=item41631cd326#ht_500wt_941

    Finally, I believe the guy that had them is a customer of bullion money, and took them to him to check, so maybe bullion money can help track them down if you want to check up on it.
     
  17. camylopez

    camylopez Member Silver Stacker

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    Was not much help at all, they seemed to have it perfectly matched, even to the angle of the coin. Only the bamboo stem was the standout, but then not many ppl would notice that.
     
  18. camylopez

    camylopez Member Silver Stacker

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    actually, if someone can verify that that listing is fake, should be reported. In my opinion it is a fake, but i would be more comfortable looking at it in person before making that claim
     
  19. yennus

    yennus Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    This is the only fake slab that I've come across so far...
    Was sold to me from a dealer in Victoria, Australia.

    [imgz=http://forums.silverstackers.com/uploads/675_fake100_7370.jpg][​IMG][/imgz][imgz=http://forums.silverstackers.com/uploads/675_fake100_7372.jpg][​IMG][/imgz]
     
  20. Pandacollector

    Pandacollector Active Member

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    In my experience, the 1/4 oz. 1982 gold Panda is the most common denomination of fake for the year. The first coin's photo is small and unclear, but "feels" OK to me although I can't be certain based on that image. I don't like the looks of the second coin, at all, and wouldn't go near it.

    Best wishes,
    Peter Anthony
    http://www.pandacollector.com
     

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