Top Grading Services

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Understanding coin grading is a helpful tool when coin collecting, but even being a skilled numismatist, the authenticity of your bullion must be authenticated by a reputable grading company if you want to ensure its value within your collection—especially if you intend to eventually liquidate your investment in the future.

Grading became a standard practice in the U.S. in the mid-19th century when coins first started being collected. Today, there are many companies who offer grading services, but to guarantee reliability, these companies are placed into three ranked tiers. The top two grading companies, Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS) and the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) consistently provide the highest reputations for grading reliability, but being in the top spots, they also charge the highest premiums. American Numismatic Association Certification Service (ANACS) is America's oldest coin authentication and grading service, established by the American Numismatic Association (ANA). This company resides as the lone middle-tiered grading company, and its grades are considered acceptable on the market. All other grading companies fall into the lowest tier due to either a lack of reputation or inconsistencies in their grading, however, they do offer lower premiums and a graded coin will always be more valuable than an ungraded coin.

Both PCGS and NGC use the Sheldon Scale and both companies provide free access to the online database of already certified coins and offer online guides for self-assessment of coins’ grades. Their premiums are dependent on the coin’s value, condition, and the urgency of processing the request. Both companies are world leaders in grading coins, but NGC does appear a bit more open to sharing detailed information about their grading process. For instance, at NGC each coin is graded by two experts separately—if they cannot agree on the coin’s grade, a third expert will weigh in. However, you can feel confident choosing either of these companies to grade your coins. As the top ranked grading companies, certifications of authenticity from either PCGS or NGC can assure higher numismatic value to your coins as they acquire the grading company’s reputation.