When Clifford Mishler gave me a job interview 40 years ago today, slabs did not exist.
How times change.
Yesterday, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation announced that it is first to have graded its 40 millionth coin.
What an amazing milestone.
The Sarasota firm is rightfully proud of it.
It has taken just over 30 years to do it. The company was founded in 1987.
So, I guess that means I have been present since the creation as a thoughtful witness and reporter. What a privilege.
The motive force behind NGC was the mess that grading found itself in during the first half of the 1980s.
While the American Numismatic Association was the official keeper of the hobby’s grading standard, it is the commercial third-party grading services that are the expertise and market muscle behind it.
ANA alone was not capable of bringing order to the market.
NGC is an example of doing well by going good.
Grading 40 million coins generates quite a bit of income.
That is doing well financially.
Doing good is providing a service that is critically needed in numismatics to bring order to the commercial marketplace.
On the bourse floor, you find NGC slabs. In auctions, you find NGC slabs. Online, you find NGC slabs.
There is not a corner of the commercial market where you cannot find them in the United States.
That cannot yet quite be said about the world market, but that day is coming soon.
NGC is rapidly growing around the world.
It now has international offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Munich as well as 13 Official Submission Centers in other places.
London joins the list of locations in April.
Third-party authentication and grading services are just as necessary in the world field as in U.S. numismatics.
Chinese fakes don’t just target the U.S. market.
NGC’s international initiatives are fueling the increase in the number of coins graded.
NGC points out it was the first third-party grading service to reach 20 million coins graded in 2010.
In 2012, it hit 25 million coins graded.
It was first to reach 30 million. This was in 2014.
It was first to reach 35 million.
This occurred in 2016.
Now it is first to reach 40 million.
With their international growth, they can probably begin planning their 50 million milestone celebration as well as 100 million.
“It is a great honor – and a great responsibility – to have been entrusted by countless collectors and dealers around the world to grade their treasured coins and collections,” said Mark Salzberg, NGC chairman.
“We do not take this responsibility lightly and, as we grow, we continue to adhere to our founding fundamentals of accuracy, consistency and integrity.”
That is well said.
The numismatic market takes those words seriously. Why else would it trust NGC to grade the greatest rarities.
I only wish I could be around another 40 years to watch NGC continue to grow.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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