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About Certified Coins
Grade and authenticity you can trust

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Independent coin grading and certification began in the mid-1980s with the founding of the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) in 1986 and the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC) in 1987. PCGS and NGC continue to be the most important and well-respected coin grading services in the world. (See below for more information about PCGS and NGC).

PCGS and NGC guarantee the grade and authenticity of any coin that passes their rigorous standards. After close examination and authentication by expert numismatists, each coin is sealed in a plastic holder with a serial number, description, and guaranteed grade. If coins have been certified by PCGS or NGC they may be traded site unseen with confidence in their grade and authenticity. Collectors and investors no longer need to be rare coin experts to safely buy and sell classic U.S. coins.

Other grading services are available in the market but PCGS and NGC are the only two that are universally accepted. We do not recommend other services; they simply do not measure up to the standards of PCGS and NGC. If you purchase any classic U.S. gold or silver coin selling for more than $100, you should insist that it is in a sealed PCGS or NGC holder. American Gold Exchange is an authorized dealer for both PCGS and NGC certified coins.

Certification Acceptance Corporation (CAC) offers a relatively new service that verifies the grades given by other coin certification companies. While AGE goes to extraordinary lengths to offer only the highest quality coins in any given grade rating, many other dealers do not. CAC has stepped in to reassure investors and collectors that they are receiving the grade of coin they pay for. CAC-approved coins typically trade at higher premiums in the market. (See below for more information on CAC.)

 

PCGS -- Professional Coin Grading Service

PCGS LOGO

(The following is from the PCGS web site.)

The Professional Coin Grading Service began serving the coin-buying public in 1986 as the first third-party coin grading service.

The firm is responsible for dramatic improvements throughout the rare coin industry which have forever changed the way rare coins are bought and sold. In addition to standardized grading, PCGS offers a cash-backed grading guarantee, problem-free coins, safe long-term storage, and sight-unseen trading. Together, these elements have created unprecedented public support for the rare coin industry.

Working in tandem with the PCGS Guarantee is the important link provided by computerized numismatic exchanges and their member firms. Such computerized trading networks have made it possible for many PCGS certified coins to be bought and sold sight-unseen-and coast-to-coast through electronic trading networks, via telephone and internet auctions.

In turn, electronic trading of coins sight-unseen has been made possible only because of the high level of confidence consumers have in the integrity of PCGS encapsulated coins.

Today, this modern financial market links buyers and sellers in a manner somewhat like the way in which brokers may trade shares on the stock market. The daily quotation of bid and ask prices, and the negotiation of transactions between market makers has created improved liquidity for a number of PCGS coins.

            

Benefits of owning PCGS certified coins

Sight-unseen trading. If coins have been certified by PCGS or NGC they may be traded site unseen with confidence in their grade and authenticity. Collectors and investors no longer need to be rare coin experts to safely buy and sell classic U.S. coins.

World-class grading. The PCGS staff of graders is selected from an elite group of world-class numismatic experts. Each grader is experienced not only in the PCGS standards, but also in the proper handling of all numismatic items. During grading, each coin is carefully and independently examined. PCGS utilizes a grading scale based on published standards and an extensive grading set of coins. Once the grading process is complete, the coin (with a certification tag indicating its individual identification number, denomination and grade), is sonically sealed inside a tamper-evident coin capsule. Finally, it is returned to the grading room for verification by another expert. Only after this final verification is the coin returned to the marketplace with its guaranteed PCGS grade.

Guaranteed grade & authenticity. The Guarantee of Grade & Authenticity is fundamental to PCGS's concept of third-party grading. The cash-back policy ensures the accuracy of the grade assigned to any PCGS coin as long as it remains in its tamper-evident holder. If a coin is believed to be improperly graded, and a discrepancy is found when resubmitted through PCGS's Guarantee Resubmission service, the guarantee entitles the coin's owner to options designed for his protection.

Coin encapsulation. Once graded, each coin is sonically sealed inside its protective, tamper-evident PCGS NumisCap holder. A special tag within indicates the coin's certification number, grade, date, denomination, unique bar code and pedigree if applicable. The Series Number and Coin Number used on the PCGS certification insert correspond to the numbers listed in the PCGS Guide to collecting coins. PCGS pioneered the tamper-evident, sonically-sealed, high security capsule as a method of reinforcing its Guarantee of Grade & Authenticity of each PCGS coin. The unique certification number permanently sealed inside each coin capsule may be utilized by the coin's owner as a reliable means of identification after the PCGS coin re-enters the marketplace. Equally important, PCGS's hard plastic holder provides optimum protection for safe, long-term storage of rare coins.

Problem-free coins. PCGS has a policy prohibiting the encapsulation of coins with problems such as: artificial toning, excessive cleaning, environmental damage, PVC damage, major scratches, or planchet flaws. (Note: PCGS does not refund grading fees on coins which must be rejected, since the coin must be examined to determine its status.)

 

NGC -- Numismatic Guarantee Corporation

NGC LOGO

(The following is from the NGC web site.)

NGC was founded in 1987, and for coin grading, its opening heralded the introduction of a new standard of integrity. From the beginning NGC focused on only one objective, a standard of consistent and accurate grading. As NGC has grown to become the leader in third-party grading services, we have maintained a steadfast and uncompromising commitment to this standard. The knowledge, integrity and dedication of NGC's team of grading experts ensures you a level of grading consistency unparalleled among grading services. This record of consistency, built over the last fourteen years, has helped to foster greater stability throughout the rare coin marketplace.

To ensure impartiality and accuracy, three numismatic experts, each with decades of successful professional experience in rare coins, evaluate each coin submitted for grading. A grading finalizer assigns a final grade and the coin is then sonically sealed in a protective, inert plastic holder. NGC's full-time grading experts are no longer active in the commercial coin marketplace, and are prohibited from buying or selling coins to ensure impartiality. Most have been with NGC for many years. The NGC grading team's only interest is in determining accurate grades for coins.

NGC pride itself on its uncompromising standards and a commitment to integrity that makes tem a true leader in coin certification.

            

Benefits of owning NGC certified coins

Sight-unseen trading. If coins have been certified by PCGS or NGC they may be traded site unseen with confidence in their grade and authenticity. Collectors and investors no longer need to be rare coin experts to safely buy and sell classic U.S. coins.

World-class grading. NGC is recognized for consistent, accurate grading. Because of this NGC graded coins are readily accepted by authorized NGC member/dealers as well as other dealers across America and around the world. NGC is the official grading service of the American Numismatic Association. The selection and endorsement of America's only official coin collecting organization chartered by Congress is another assurance of the integrity and quality of NGC. NGC has been the official grading service of the ANA since 1995 and has been the only grading service ever to hold that distinction.

Guaranteed grade & authenticity. NGC Certification guarantees your coin's authenticity and grade. Coins graded by NGC are guaranteed to be authentic.

Coin encapsulation. NGC encapsulated coins are securely protected. Leading security measures, including industry-first security holograms, bar codes and coin identification numbers, make insurance protection and cataloging easy. Their innovative holder design is also currently the most reliable means of safe storage for your coins. Using inert plastics and sulfur-free paper, it has been tested and proven to provide an effective barrier from corrosive gases and moisture.

Problem-free coins. NGC has a policy prohibiting the encapsulation of coins with problems such as: artificial toning, excessive cleaning, environmental damage, PVC damage, major scratches, or planchet flaws.

 

CAC -- Certification Acceptance Corporation

CAC LOGO

CAC, the Certification Acceptance Corporation, is a relatively new service that verifies the grades given by other certification companies. While AGE goes to extraordinary lengths to offer only the best coins in any given grade rating, many other dealers do not. CAC has stepped in to reassure investors and collectors that they are getting the grade of coin they pay for. CAC-approved coins typically trade at higher premiums in the market.

(The following is from the CAC web site.)

Due to today's selective collector/dealer, an ever increasing number of certified coins on the market are considered low end for their grade. CAC holds coins to a higher standard so you can be confident in the value of yours. We verify previously graded coins and award our sticker only to those coins that meet the standard for today's sophisticated buyer.

What the CAC sticker means

Verified. Your coin has been verified as meeting the standard for strict quality within its grade.

Guaranteed. CAC stands behind verification by making markets in most actively traded coins.

Backed by experience. CAC was founded by leading members of the numismatic community.