Nine of more than 100 contestants took home prizes in the Grading Contest presented by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) at the 2020 FUN Show from Jan. 9-11, 2020.
The number of participants, 103, was 15 more than last year when the event debuted as part of the annual show in Orlando, Fla.
Contestants won prizes in three age categories. For both the Adult (26 and up) and Young Adult (18-25) categories, first prize was a $300 NGC grading credit, second prize was a $200 NGC grading credit and third prize was a $100 NGC grading credit. The Young Numismatist (13-17) category prizes were cash — $300 for first place, $200 for second place and $100 for third place. The top 10 finishers in each of the three categories also received a special NGC "Sample Slab" with a 2004 Proof silver Florida quarter. Additionally, all of the participants received a special "Sample Slab."
The contest was to see who could most accurately grade 15 coins in 10 minutes.
In the adult category, Ron Guth and John Baumgart tied for first place, both scoring 48 of a possible 75 points.
Guth had seven of 15 exactly correct and five partially correct answers (within one or two grades). Baumgart had five of 15 correct and nine partially correct. In a very close third place in the category was Jordan Miller, who scored 47 points, with six exactly correct and nine partially correct grades.
Because of the tie, Guth and Baumgart will split the combined first- and second-place prizes, each receiving $250 in NGC grading credits.
In the Young Adult category, Jeffrey Schwartz graded five correct and six partially correct to take first place with 41 points, followed by a tie between Joshua Ramos and David Huang, who both had 37 points with identical grading results: four correct and seven partially correct. Ramos and Huang split the combined second- and third-place prizes.
The Young Numismatists category was taken by Chris Alvarez, 17, who had two correct and eight partially correct for a total of 32 points. Aaron Rosen, 14, was second with three correct and six partially correct for a total of 29 points. In third was Christopher Gatto, 13, who had four correct answers for 20 points.
The collectibles used in the contest were coins except for one medal and one token. They were a mix of countries, types, and grades and included one not-genuine and one altered coin. Contestants graded the coins, which were in NGC Holders without grades, and entered their grades on a computer provided by NGC.
A few photos of the coins used in the contest are shown below. To see all the photos, visit ngccoin.com.
1.) USA- 1880-S Morgan dollar
NGC MS-68 ★ - This coin has some extremely light abrasions in front of the face but they do not detract from the overall eye appeal of the coin. The most common answer for this coin was NGC MS-66, and the average score (out of a possible five points) was 1.8.
2.) USA- 1798 Large cent
NGC VG-8 – This coin has obviously seen plenty of use in commerce. It has some very light scratches and a small nick above “OF” on the reverse, but both are acceptable for the age and condition of the coin. The most common answer for this coin was NGC Details, and the average score was only 0.9 out of five.
3.) Germany- 1882 Leipzig Shooting Festival bronze medal
NGC MS-66 – This piece has stunning original chocolate-brown surfaces with minimal marks. A couple of hits on the rim and some very light cabinet friction on the high points of the devices hold this medal back from higher grades. The most common grade for this piece was right on the mark at MS-66. This is reflected in a higher average score of 2.1 out of five.
4.) USA- 1854 Arrows half dime
5.) Iran- 1350/1971 Iran 500 rials
NGC PF-68 Ultra Cameo – This coin is interesting and seemed to confuse some people because the Griffin design looks Mint State, while the opposite side looks Proof. There are essentially no issues with the Griffin side, but the mirrored side has a long planchet line as well as some light hairlines that hold it back from even PF-69 Ultra Cameo. Still, this was the most modern and easiest coin to grade in this contest, with NGC PF-69 Ultra Cameo being the most common grade, and the average score was 2.6 out of five.
6.) USA- New York Broas Pie Baker Civil War token
7.) USA- 1925-S California half dollar (Not Genuine)
8.) USA- 1788 No Period Massachusetts cent
9.) India- 1943 2 annas- Double Struck, 2nd strike 75 percent off center
10.) USA- 1893 Isabella quarter
11.) USA- 1875 Seated Liberty quarter
12.) USA- 1889 CC Morgan dollar (Not Genuine or Altered)
13.) South Africa- 1961 10 cents
14.) USA- 1902 Barber dime
15.) USA - 1885 CC Morgan dollar