By F. Michael Fazzari
Well, the rumor is there is going to be a new, top-tier, third-party grading service (TPGS). That’s great news as the present top major TPGS appear to be having difficulties serving the coin market in a timely manner due to their success! Hopefully, this new company will use the best parts of the four major TPGS that have been proven over time to work and combine them into their own business plan.
The most important requirements of any TPGS should be a very fast turnaround time combined with a strict set of unchanging standards. That will encourage precise grading so a coin will be graded the same each time it is seen. If this can be done using a pleasing holder along with excellent customer service and reasonable rates, any new TPGS staffed by knowledgeable professionals who have learned how to authenticate coins cannot fail. Let’s hope the guaranteed success of this new TPGS will not doom it down to today’s status quo.
I’d like to share some of the things I’d wish for if I were in a position to influence the new owners who I will admit must have a much better sense of the coin business than I could possibly hope for.
1. I wish each side of a coin were graded separately as was done in the beginning. In my opinion, it is silly to call a coin with a baggy MS-61 obverse and a virtually flawless MS-67+ reverse simply a MS-61!
2. I wish the new company would just grade coins according to their condition of preservation from the day they were made. A coin’s value, rarity, ownership, former grade at another TPGS to get a rarity into their holder, etc. would have no bearing.
3. Net grading of any kind would not be tolerated. A nearly Mint State AU coin should not be graded Extremely Fine for any reason!
4. “Problem” coins should be returned with a grade even if they are not holdered. They help educate collectors.
5. This will be the last chance for a TPGS to return the commercial coin market back to reality. AU coins are not low Mint State!
6. I’d like the new holder to be “edge-view” with the coin’s date, type and denomination also visible at the top of the holder when vertical in a box. Unfortunately, my prediction one day of a secure, coin-size capsule with micro-printed information on its edge that could be plugged into a newly designed coin album will still be just a dream.
7. I’d like the new company to have a professional numismatist running the customer service department or at the least provide easy access to someone working in the grading room to address questions from customers as I do daily.
8. I’d like the new service to be available to anyone without having to join a “club.”
F. Michael Fazzari is an authenticator and grader for Independent Coin Graders and a Numismatic News columnist
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