Discussion: Which Service is Better?

I would like to put up at topic for discussion just for fun and further thought.  Which grading service is the best?  And this can be any grading service-whether prominent or not.  It can also be a grading service that no longer exists!  A cool thing is that you can consider maybe buying a coin from a different service, or you can submit to a different service than usual!  BUT-if you put a comment, please explain some reasoning behind you decision!  I will start off by stating my favorite grading service-PCGS.  I enjoy the slabs for them.  Though their grading may not be entirely accurate, the way they provide both security and attractive cases, and their fees are pretty reasonable make them my favorite.  

NOTE: This thread is under U.S. coins, but don't just think of the best services for the U.S.  If you like a service for it's world coin work or something related to world coins, go ahead an say your opinion!

Please comment!


7 years ago

My grading service of choice is NGC. A lot of the reason for this is simply because that is who I deal with on a regular basis. They are great to deal with, never personally had any problems with them.

Grading inconsistency is going to be an issue with any grading service. I have ones that I believe are under or over graded. With the small amount of time that they spend with each coin I don't see how they could be 100% accurate all of the time.

99% of the time when I buy a slabbed coin it is NGC. It looks nice to have all my coins in the same holder.

7 years ago

There are several reasons I prefer NGC, although parts of the dealer community, and some series specialists, have a PCGS fetish. Here is why I like NGC.

1) They are highly professional and courteous without the apparent need to tout their supposed superiority ad nauseum. I don't know about you, but whenever I keep hearing from a service about their superiority, I get the feeling I'm being conned. I get that feeling from PCGS.

2) NGC acts as though the world won't come to an end if they deal directly with collectors. Maybe they should tell PCGS. They haven't gotten that memo, it seems.

3) Both services have gotten a little crazy about special labels like Early Releases and show labels, but at least when you see an "ANA Show" or "Whitman Show" label from NGC, it really means the coin was purchased at the show. At PCGS, it may mean it was flown in from Denver or Philly or Washington during the show. NGC seems to care more that their show related items  mean what they say on them.

4) Yes, this one is subject to change, but darn it, I just prefer the NGC holder! The smooth surfaces without various levels for the label and the coin makes a better presentation to me. The rims of the rectangle make for a secure interlocking stack that won't topple, and if you want the ultimate, they have a beautiful Scratch Free holder. The "fingers" that hold the coin are smaller, although opaque, and enable you to see more of the edge of the coin.

5) They are the official third party grading service of the ANA and the PNG, and that's good enough for me. Besides, it also means they financially support the ANA, and that's nice.

6) Most of all - PCGS acts like they're doing you a favor even talking to you. And for a company whose up front spokesman seems to have no shirts other than Hawaiian ones, that's a little tough to stomach. Dude, seriously, buy a necktie. Sheesh!

Note: For occasional exonumia categories that NGC does not slab, I use ICG.

7 years ago

Numismatists will debate this until they're blue in the face, but generally PCGS and NGC are equally accepted in the marketplace. It's akin to the Canon vs. Nikon debate among photographers. Usually people just like one over the other, or they have too much invested with one brand to make switching cost-effective (think camera lenses or registry sets).

World coins are where they start to separate. In my experience, NGC's attributions are more accurate, but sometimes still egregiously wrong. One coin came back without a single piece of information (Country, date, or denomination) correct. They also differ in the exact types of coins they certify. If you collect some esoteric things, there might only be only one grading service that certifies that type.

7 years ago

So far PCGS = 1, NGC = 3, ICG = 1/2.

7 years ago

I have to admit that I did have one world come back from NGC that was attributed incorrectly. They were more than happy to fix the error at no charge. Another reason I like NGC.

7 years ago

I have to admit that I did have one world come back from NGC that was attributed incorrectly. They were more than happy to fix the error at no charge. Another reason I like NGC.

7 years ago

Well, for me and the type of coins I collect, I find that the dealers "grading" has been fairly accurate. I collect ancients and personally, I can't stand the fact the coin is "slabbed". When it comes to grading it would be difficult to grade most ancients. I mean sure you could grade based on a theoretical "perfect" coin, but determining that would be difficult in itself! Not to mention that these coins are all manually "punched" so your coin could have high relief if being struck from fresh dies and the celator is on his tenth wing of the hammer for the day vs rusting/worn dies and striking at the end of a day!
Sorry, your own experience and trusting your dealer is the best grading system for ancients!

7 years ago

Greco Roman's comment reminds me that NGC is the only service to slab ancients.

The debate over that practice is a heated one. 

7 years ago

I regularly do business with PCGS, NGC and ANACS.  Depending on the coin, I can find reasons that each of those is the "best" to use.  There is not just one all-around best grading company... all of them are needed in the market and each serves a purpose.

For U.S. coins, I prefer PCGS... mostly because more often than not, the coins sell for more in PCGS holders vs. NGC/ANACS holders, all else being equal.

For World coins, PCGS and NGC both do a great job.

For Tokens and Medals, I usually go with NGC, but sometimes ANACS, depending on the value.

ANACS also grades all of the items created by Daniel Carr, including our coin club medals for the Glendale Coin Club, which is great!

Finally, it's great that submission privileges to NGC are included as part of your membership to NGC!!!! 

7 years ago
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