What are Grading and Conservation? AKA, What are NCS, NGC, and PCGS?

Discussion in 'Modern Chinese Coins & Medallions' started by tamo42, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. tamo42

    tamo42 New Member

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    I got a pm asking about the differences between conservation and grading, so I thought it would be better to make a post so anyone who is interested can learn.

    First, grading.

    Grading is the process of determining the condition of a coin. Coins are graded on a scale of 70, with 70 being perfect. Over at LBC, badon and I recommend buying investment grade coins with a score of 69 or 70. 68s are OK for *very* rare coins, but still try for at least a 69 if possible. Of course, the higher the grade, the more collectors want them, and the higher the price. Who wouldn't want perfect coins?

    There are two main grading companies, NGC and PCGS. For Chinese coins, NGC is dominant. NGC recognizes more (but not all) varieties of Chinese coins. NGC's holders are better at showing the edges of coins and keeping air out (important for silver!).

    All the other grading companies (ICG, ANACS, etc) are considered by the market to have lower quality standards. So a ICG MS 69 is not as valued as highly as a PCGS MS 69.

    On to conservation.

    Conservation is the process of removing debris left over by the minting of the coin. Often there is dust and other chemical residue from the different stages of minting. The results of conservation is that coins generally have brighter foregrounds and deeper fields. In general they just look better. In addition, the removal of chemical residues will *generally* prevent the formation of oxidation spots on silver coins, also known as White Spots of Death (WSoD). WSoDs have a dramatic negative effect on the collectibility and value of a coin.

    The only company that I'm currently aware of the does conservation is NCS. NCS and NGC have a crossover service, but aren't the same company. This crossover service allows members and dealers to submit coins to NCS directly. NCS will apply their super-secret techniques to the coin, and then hand it over to NGC for grading. It's a handy one-stop shopping experience.

    Hope that helps. If you guys have any questions, I'll do my best to answer.
     
  2. donkarnash

    donkarnash Member

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    thanks for sharing.......I am sure a lot of people will benefit with this knowledge...
     
  3. fishball

    fishball New Member Silver Stacker

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    Great post, very informative!

    Good to hear 69 is investment grade, going to dabble into buying some NGC MS 69 Gold pandas for now, 70 too rich for me :p

    I have read on China mint forums that some people prefer slabbed/graded coins over OMP because the plastic might damage the coin?

    Is this true and should I grade my coins instead of keeping in OMP?

    Thanks :)
     
  4. tamo42

    tamo42 New Member

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    The slab vs. OMP is a constant debate, and I don't think anyone knows for absolute certainty whether the plastic packaging encourages damage or not. What we do know is a coin can sit in OMP for years, look perfectly fine, and then all of a sudden develop oxidation problems. Other coins in OMP don't have any issues at all. So it's kind of a crap-shoot. Do people play craps in Australia? :)

    Personally, I conserve and grade all my coins. I think that's the easiest way to prevent future problems.
     
  5. rick_au

    rick_au Member

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    Anyone know the cost of submitting a coin for grading? I'm have heard downies do it(as in act as middle man)
     
  6. Lightsview

    Lightsview Member

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    Thanks Tamo! That was very useful :)
     
  7. tamo42

    tamo42 New Member

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  8. Lovey80

    Lovey80 Well-Known Member

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    +1
     
  9. fishball

    fishball New Member Silver Stacker

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    Ask mmm...shineyyyyyyy about his experiences of getting coins graded from Australia :p
     
  10. yennus

    yennus Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    Wow... this is such cool info... thanks for sharing!
     
  11. rick_au

    rick_au Member

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    so I'm assuming your a member of the collectors society? Out of interest which level of membership are you on?
     
  12. tamo42

    tamo42 New Member

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    Yep, I'm just an Associate Member. It's $39 a year and allows me to make direct submissions.
     
  13. mmm....shiney!

    mmm....shiney! Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    +1 to that
     
  14. EJAM5

    EJAM5 Member

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    +2
     
  15. mmm....shiney!

    mmm....shiney! Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    Looks like we need a coin dealer in Aus to be a NCS/NGC registered dealer doesn't it? Anyone out there? Steve? Anyone?
     
  16. rick_au

    rick_au Member

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    I was thinking it would make a great little business as in acting as middleman for these grading companys (Organise postage, forex etc) However PCGS requires at least 3 years of business operation and at least 100K in numismatic stock.
     
  17. rick_au

    rick_au Member

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    I guess postage would have to be factored in as well. I would imagine it would be quite considerable as it has to be insured both ways.
     
  18. mmm....shiney!

    mmm....shiney! Well-Known Member Silver Stacker

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    PCGS is already covered by one of our sponsors, Universal Coins. Now we need one of the others to offer NCS/NGC.
     
  19. comeaux

    comeaux New Member Silver Stacker

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    My membership was somewhere around $100 but there is various levels you can get, you can check their website for more detailed information. For approximately $100 membership you get 5 free submissions so it pays for itself.

    The best and most economical method for submission regarding NGC grading alone without conservation is "world modern" which is $16.50 and then you pay an additional $2.50 for "scratch resistant, edge view" holder so about $19 total.

    The most logical (IMO) is just submitting all coins to NCS for conservation and for $22.50 you get conservation, grading & the best holders.

    This is my route taken on every submission.
     
  20. comeaux

    comeaux New Member Silver Stacker

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    membership fees ...

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