Coin Grading Companies
Which coin grading companies are the best?

When you purchase a coin, you should be interested in three things:   1) Is the coin authentic?  2) Does the coin
have problems (cleaned, polished, scratched, corroded, whizzed, bent, damaged)? 3) What is the coins grade?

Well respected coin grading services like PCGS can be trusted for authentication, finding problems and grading.  
Coins in PCGS certified slabs will be authentic about 100% of the time.  PCGS does not certify coins with
problems.  PCGS follows strict and consistent grading standards.  Of course, coin grading is subjective, and
graders may disagree about the grade of a coin.  Furthermore, all coin graders are human, and can make
mistakes.  For instance, I purchase a seated liberty dollar graded G 4 by PCGS.  On the reverse there were the
initials H.G. carved into the coin.  PCGS somehow missed this, and slabbed the coin.   All grading services can
make mistakes, so it is important to judge the coin yourself too.  


The 4 most respected grading companies are PCGS, NGC, ANACS, and ICG.  These can be trusted for
authentication, finding problems and grading.  PCGS and NGC  will not grade coins with problems, but will slab
them.  ANACS & ICG will slab the coin, and list on the slab whatever the defect is.  ANACS & ICG will also give
the coin a "details" grade.  For instances a Very Fine Lincoln cent with a scratch will be graded "VF details,
SCRATCHED".   

PCGS - Considered by many collectors the best grading service around.
PCGS stands for "Professional Coin Grading Service" and began grading
coins in 1986.  Collectors of PCGS certified coins can join the PCGS Set
Registry which allows participants to showcase their coins.  The PCGS Set
Registry only  accepts PCGS certified coins.   Also, buyers will usually pay
the highest premium for PCGS certified coins.   PCGS does not certify all
Lincoln cent varieties.  


NGC - Similar to PCGS, the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, NGC, is a very
well respected grading service.  NGC began grading coins in 1987.  NGC also
has a Set Registry that accepts both PCGS and NGC certified coins.  NGC does
not certify all Lincoln cent varieties.  





ANACS -  American Numismatic Association Certification Service,
was the one of the first coin grading companies.  ANACS was as part of the ANA,
American Numismatic Association, until 1990.  Before the advent of coin slabs,
ANACS used photo certificates of coins.  In 1989 ANACS began using plastic
slabs.  ANACS has always been a trusted coin grading company with high
standards.  ANACS certifies most Lincolncent varieties.  Unlike, NGC and PCGS,
you do not need to be a member to send in coins for certification yourself.  

ICG -  Independant Coin Grading is a newer grading company.  IGC is
well respected by most collectors.  ICG has an average turnaround of ten days
on U.S. Coins.

If you are purchasing valuable or key date coins, it is strongly recommended
that you only purchase coins certified by PCGS, NGC, ANACS or ICG.  


Here are some other grading sevices:

NCS - Numismatic Conservation Services.  NCS is partner of NGC.  NCS
restores and grades problem coins only.  

PCI - Photo Certified Institute.  Started in 1989.  J.T. Stanton, co-author of
the Cherry Picker's Guide to Die Varieties is President and CEO.  PCI offers
a new "Signature Series" for variety attributions.  Lincoln cent variety collectors
can have their slabs signed by Charles Daughtrey or J.T. Stanton himself.  
Although some collectors question PCI's grading, they can be trusted for
authentication.


If you are purchasing more common varieties like the 1951 D/S omm 1,
PCI is not a bad choices.   If you are purchasing key date coins
with problems, NCS is a good choice.   

TruGrade, NTC/Numistrust, and ASA/Accugrade are smaller coin grading
services.   Many collectors feel that they over-grade coins.   They do not have
the same level of respect as SEGS and PCI, but should be trusted for
authentication.  



INB, SGS , NNC, NGCS, HCGS, GEC, HCGS, PNGS, INGC, WCG, ACG, and ANI are not trustworthy coin
grading services.  Stay away from these.  SGS "Star Grading Service" is a self-slabber.  Meaning that they slab
their own coins, then sell them.  You will see few SGS coins not graded MS70 - which is ridiculous.   Experienced
coin collectors and dealers tend to stay away from these coin slabs.