In an effort to preserve important artifacts of the hobby's history, NGC has begun grading silver dollars still sealed within their rigid GSA holders.
In an effort to preserve important artifacts of the
hobby's history, NGC has begun grading silver dollars
still sealed within their rigid GSA holders. This move
is in response to the ongoing loss of these holdered
coins, as collectors have come to recognize the historic
value of the coin and holder combination. Over the years,
many have been lost forever when the coins they contained
were broken out to be submitted for grading. By combining
the best of both worlds, NGC hopes to encourage owners
of these coins to preserve the GSA holders for posterity.
NGC's grading of GSA-holdered silver dollars kicked
off with the annual coin show, Florida United Numismatists
(FUN) in Orlando, Jan. 8-11, 2003.
The General Services Administration (GSA) was responsible
for sorting and marketing the U. S. Treasury's hoard
of silver dollars, after the Treasury ceased issuing
dollar coins in 1964. In a series of sales lasting from
1973 to 1980, this hoard of several million silver dollars,
mostly Morgan Dollars minted at Carson City (CC), was
dispersed via auction and fixed prices. Sealed in rigid
plastic holders and boxed with a message from then President
Richard M. Nixon, these silver dollars account for most
of the mint state CC Morgans known today.
Veteran numismatists may remember the great rush on
silver dollars that occurred during the early 1960s.
For generations these coins had laid undisturbed in
Treasury and Federal Reserve vaults, serving primarily
as a backing for silver certificates. When, in 1935,
Congress changed the written obligation appearing on
silver certificates so that the notes could be redeemed
"in silver" instead of in "silver dollars," production
of these coins ceased. Only in the far western states
were silver dollars used in daily commerce, and even
collectors showed little interest in Morgan and Peace
Starting about 1958, however, the number of silver dollars
being withdrawn from government vaults increased annually,
reaching a fever pitch in 1963-64 following the discovery
of previously scarce dates. Lines stretching for blocks
formed around the Treasury Department headquarters in
Washington, as speculators bought up silver certificates
to redeem them for $1000 bags of "cartwheels." In March
of 1964 the Treasury, after having discovered many bags
of scarce CC dollars, stopped redeeming silver certificates
with silver dollars, offering bars or granules in their
place. After June 24, 1968 the redemption of silver
certificates in silver ceased altogether, though the
notes remain legal tender to this day.
After the Treasury took stock of its remaining silver
dollars these coins were turned over to the GSA for
disposal at a profit to the government. The GSA sorted
the coins into several categories, the most populous
of which was the "Uncirculated CC." These were offered
by date for issues of which several thousand or more
were available. Those CC dollars with low quantities
available or that did not qualify as uncirculated were
lumped into a "Mixed CC" category. Non-CC dollars and
circulated pieces were included in the hoard too, but
many of these were packaged in flexible plastic envelopes
rather than the rigid plastic holders most collectors
associate with the GSA hoard.
NGC Grading Finalizer John Maben said, "The GSA dollars
have long been a favorite item of collectors. Many feel
the GSA holder itself adds a certain romance to owning
them and makes the coins more desirable and collectable.
To others, having an independent grading opinion from
NGC is of equal or greater importance, which is why
a great number have already been removed from their
NGC provides the same information that it does for its
normal grading services, but this information appears
on an oversize label that wraps around the rigid GSA
holder. Also applied to the government holder is a tamper-evident
seal. Both features serve to discourage opening of the
holder, but because the coins are not in NGC holders,
NGC cannot guarantee the grades it applies to these
GSA dollars. For the time being these grades will also
be excluded from the NGC Census Report, though this
policy may be changed in the future.
John Maben expanded on the company's policy: "In rendering
a grading opinion without removing the coin from its
holder we manage to satisfy both those who like the
original holder and those who want an NGC grading opinion.
In talking to various dealers and collectors we believe
there will be high demand for this unique service, even
though the coins are not in NGC holders and therefore
not guaranteed by NGC."
NGC had a prototype of its graded GSA dollar on display
at the FUN show and began accepting coins at that time.
GSA dollars may be submitted under any NGC tier at the
Economy level or higher, excluding Gold Rush and Specialty
Gold. The usual minimum numbers and value limits apply
for each tier, and non-GSA coins cannot be included
to achieve the minimum numbers. All GSA dollars must
be submitted on invoices separate from other submissions.
NGC will also be accepting bulk submissions of GSA dollars,
with a minimum submission of 100 coins for this service.
Mixed dates are acceptable, and submitters may specify
a minimum grade of MS-65 or less. There will be a $3
per coin fee for those pieces not meeting the specified
minimum grades. NGC strongly encourages submitters to
furnish a minimum grade, as the label applied by NGC
to the GSA holders cannot be removed without the possibility
of leaving behind adhesive residue and/or paper which
may impair the attractiveness of the holder.
NGC requests that GSA coins not be sent
in their black cardboard outer boxes as these will not
be returned to the submitter. Initially, it's anticipated
that all submissions will be returned in 30 days or
less. For GSA dollars received beginning Feb. 10, bulk
submissions will be returned in five days or less, while
coins submitted under regular tiers will be subject
to the usual turnaround times for each tier.