thatcoinguy's Blog

31 Oct 2021

Grading Companies: NGC, PCGS, ANACS, or Other

Young Numismatists Exchange | thatcoinguy

Hello fellow YNs and YNH!

I usually make blogs purely informational. I dislike putting my personal feeling on these because I feel that muddies up the difference between fact and opinion. But later in this blog, I will give some personal feeling on some of the grading companies. I fully disclose this now, and I will let you know when fact stops, and opinion starts. Just so you know in advance.

Anyways, today we will be discussing the big three in numismatics (and I don't mean the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, 1803 Bust Dollar, and 1933 Double Eagle, just to be clear): NGC, PCGS, and ANACS. I will also mention some of the smaller ones, but I will not be discussing every single one individually because there are so many.

ANACS began their grading services in 1972. ANACS was originally founded as a service provided by the ANA we all know and love, but was purchased by Amos Press (the company that publishes Coin World) in 1990. In 2007, it was once again sold, this time to Driving Force, LLC, who relocated it to Englewood, in Denver, CO. In it's beginning years, ANACS did not slab coins like is the custom with all grading services in present day. They issued photo certificates with the coins grade. ANACS graded their first coin in this way on June 15, 1972. In 1979, ANACS started using the ANA's The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins.

PCGS was the ANACS's first major competitor to the grading throne, and was started in 1986. It was actually founded in 1985 by seven coin dealers (one of which was David Hall), but did not begin grading publicly until February 3rd, 1986. PGCS entirely skipped the photo certificates stage, and went straight to the slabs that are now commonplace at coin shows everywhere. The slabs were originally PCGS's idea. PGCS was kind of made on accident, as the idea came up while David Hall abd a few others were working on the "Ultimate Coin Encyclopedia." But, as you know, it became a profitable investment for the dealers involved.

NGC was founded by John Albanese in 1987 while Mr. Albanese was in Parsippany, NJ. In 1995, it was named the ANA's official grading service (which is ironic, because the grading service the ANA started isn't the official ANA grading service. 🤔) NGC is currently based in Sarasota, Florida, and has certified over 50 million coins. NGC (despite being the the youngest of the main three) has certified the most coins to date.

Now, as promised in my first paragraph, I will give my opinions on the main three (and others in general). First of all, I see a lot of "Should I submit this coin to be graded?" on the ANA blogs and forums. Here's my personal opinion: If it's not worth more than a hundred dollars or it isn't your favorite coin, don't grade it. It isn't worth it. But, that's my opinion. You can have your own.

I personally prefer NGC for most things. I will occasionally send in a error to ANACS, as they are the only one of the three that labels smaller errors on the slab, but fir most other coins, I like the NGC slabs best. My advice to which company you send your coins into: Look around at coin shows. There WILL be some slabs that catches your eye. Go with that one.

Some other advice: If you choose to grade your coins that aren't worth a hundred dollars (which is fine), I would go with one of the smaller ones. Some of the smaller ones cost less, although if you are planning to sell the coin, I wouldn't leave in to, say, PCI. But, again, just my thoughts. Go with your gut.

Thanks for reading this extremely long blog. Have a great day.

Keep collecting,



great post! thank for the info

Long Beard

Level 5

You mention PCGS and slabs, but originally they came back sealed in David Hall plastic bags. These are extremely tough to find, and pricey as expected if you do. I've only seen perhaps half a dozen over the years. When buying, it's PCGS then NGC purely for consistency in grading. If I'm paying to have one graded it's ANACS.


Level 5

Got it. Thanks.


Level 6

I prefer NGC as far as sending in coins. Just a matter of personal preference. Good blog! ; )


Level 5

I used PCI years ago. PCI was inexpensive as were the coins I sent in. Favorite coins, but not expensive. I prefer NGC holders, for the appearance of the holder. I would use ANACS for sending in coins. Just favorite coins. ANACS is inexpensive and its nice to get a favorite coin graded. PCGS is fine, but if I am looking for a coin, NGC holder is what I first look for.


Level 7

It's up to each person who they choose. That's the way I look at it. Longstrider is right. They are great for error coins. Ever graded performs other services. N.G.C. Is now in Japan and Germany. I will not make an argument for any one publicly. It's your choice.


Level 6

As if choosing a TPG'er isn't enough, we now have CAC. It is also run by John Albanese. Not to mention some others. I agree it is very expensive to get a coin slabbed. The same goes for currency. I use PMS a sister of NGC. I, like you use NGC or ANACS. I do like the ANACS slabs. I was at a coin show in Las Vegas this weekend and ANACS was taking submissions there. They had a line of people waiting. Don't believe it when you hear they are no good. Thanks

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