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So.... WHY are they slammed?

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Revenant

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It seems like one of our favorite things to do lately is complain about turnaround times at NGC.

The popular narrative amongst the unhappy is that this is clearly NGC slipping but NGC says the problem is they're just slammed. They aren't blaming the problems on logistics - like not being able to get enough slab parts or inserts. They're just getting 800+ packages a day and that working 6 days a week, 12 hours a day isn't keeping up. That suggests that they're dealing with double or more the peak volume they're normally equipped to handle.

But I can't help but wonder WHY they're so slammed.

Through most of 2020 when there were delays I thought it was probably CoVID related and had to do with pandemic protocols slowing them down, and maybe it did, then. But that's not what they're dealing with now. The CoVID restrictions in many places in the country - including most conservative states like Florida and Texas, are lifted.

Also interestingly, things seemed to be getting better and turnaround times were getting shorter in the first part of the year.

They're just getting crushed by strong demand now... but what's driving that?

I feel the usual temptation to think maybe it's the stimulus checks and people spending time at home instead of out and about so they're looking at and sending in coins, but does that explanation hold water? The stimulus checks were rolling out months ago and people in may places are out and about again. I don't feel like that explains why they'd still be getting crushed with packages in June.

Maybe all that TPG marketing and CAC marketing is finally paying off and more people are getting into graded coins and grading coins? But that's a pretty rapid increase for a normal, organic increase in interest.

Some in the forums would blame the "everything bubble" and the financialization of the hobby but I don't know that that would be good enough to explain this sudden up-tick in the last year or so. Especially since I don't think that graded coins are quite as common, "sexy" or in vogue as, say crypto-currencies for most people.

I do wonder if inflation fears might be renewing interest in old coins and the history of money, but people that are worried about inflation I think are more interested in accumulating metal, not necessarily collecting graded coins. But the two interests are sympathetic and I do see a lot of silverbug posts with graded NCLT...

So the whole thing, the whole situation, just seems odd to me.

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If you are NGC its great! I just hope they don't get sloppy in their grading trying to play catch-up. I just mailed a package in yesterday to be graded.

I hate the wait but the anticipation is all part of the game. 

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4 minutes ago, Eagles Nest said:

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I hate the wait but the anticipation is all part of the game. 

I have a world modern in and world modern is significantly worse than US modern right now. No clue why. (shrug) Maybe NGCs efforts to go beyond the US are paying off. (shrug)

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My feeling is a lot of people stayed home, got board, looked at there change, thought they hit the jackpot, submitted coins and got shot down. The other scenario that I think might be playing out is a lot of people think they might hit it big with selling 70 bullion and are submitting ASEs, Kooks, Libertads, (insert random world bullion here), etc.. and are clogging up NGC.

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16 minutes ago, Fenntucky Mike said:

My feeling is a lot of people stayed home, got board, looked at there change, thought they hit the jackpot, submitted coins and got shot down. The other scenario that I think might be playing out is a lot of people think they might hit it big with selling 70 bullion and are submitting ASEs, Kooks, Libertads, (insert random world bullion here), etc.. and are clogging up NGC.

Yeah. Based on the newbie forum, the YouTube dreck and some other things it wouldn't surprise me if both of those are contributing.

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12 hours ago, Revenant said:

I have a world modern in and world modern is significantly worse than US modern right now. No clue why. (shrug) Maybe NGCs efforts to go beyond the US are paying off. (shrug)

maybe less world modern coin graders than US modern coin graders....

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i would guess ngc knows where their bottlenecks r n most likely addressing the same...im sure the learning curve to become a qualified grader is not a short period of time....u could ask ngc to provide a comparative analysis of now verses pre pandemic on the ratio of individual new submitters vs previous submitters increasing number of coins submitted ?....would tell u if more individuals entering the hobby/marketplace or just increase in volume?...i for one submitted 400% more coins in past 18 months than the prior 18 months.....

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Hmm, I guess it could be as simple as demand for slabs is up and that the # of submitters hasn't necessarily changed but their total # of coins submitted has. Probably a combination of all scenarios. 

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40 minutes ago, Fenntucky Mike said:

Hmm, I guess it could be as simple as demand for slabs is up and that the # of submitters hasn't necessarily changed but their total # of coins submitted has. Probably a combination of all scenarios. 

With the pandemic pushing more sales online and away from shows I think that could well have upped the desirability of grading some coins that would have sold raw before.

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1 hour ago, zadok said:

i would guess ngc knows where their bottlenecks r n most likely addressing the same...im sure the learning curve to become a qualified grader is not a short period of time....u could ask ngc to provide a comparative analysis of now verses pre pandemic on the ratio of individual new submitters vs previous submitters increasing number of coins submitted ?....would tell u if more individuals entering the hobby/marketplace or just increase in volume?...i for one submitted 400% more coins in past 18 months than the prior 18 months.....

I think I read a while back about them re-tasking people to help with de-bottlenecking and they're trying to hire more and expand but what I was talking about here was more, what is going on in the market that is causing them to need to expand and de-bottleneck.

While I'm sure they're able to do that or have it already, I don't think they'd likely find it in their interest to release that data / analysis publicly.

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33 minutes ago, Revenant said:

I think I read a while back about them re-tasking people to help with de-bottlenecking and they're trying to hire more and expand but what I was talking about here was more, what is going on in the market that is causing them to need to expand and de-bottleneck.

While I'm sure they're able to do that or have it already, I don't think they'd likely find it in their interest to release that data / analysis publicly.

u r prob correct on them not releasing their demographic data, but if big increase in number of new submitters ud think be good marketing tool?...of course the absolute value of number coins submitted whether new submitters or old submitters submitting more remains the same as far as work load n time consumed just diff in administrative load....i agree with fenntucky prob combination of both...pandemic prob initially had a big push n now numismatic market place evolving to more than just a hobby....a hobby with fringe benefits now...

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There seems to be a perceived, if not an actual, increase in demand for graded material. The scope of the issue spans from coins to trading cards to comic books. My dad and I talked about this, and he confirmed that many of his regular customers and an even more significant number of newer customers are requesting more graded material. His experience is not unique as he has heard similar situation from dealers within his network of friends that expands the entire eastern seaboard. The issue is locating good quality graded material at a reasonable cost, which I assume to be part of the larger problem. 

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I think that its a bit of everything that has been mentioned plus one thing that I have not seen talked about yet, a large number of change searchers.   Both here and on the PCGS forums I have seen a big increase in people that are asking about pocket change and "dad's" or "granpa's" coins and how to get those coins; most of which are usually not valuable enough to warrant grading; submitted for grading.  A perfect example from the newbie board here is the guy that goes by modwritter, if you have read some of his posts he has sent in a number of coins that were not valuable or worth the cost of submission.   Just tonight on the PCGS forum there are two threads asking if and how to submit the "fantastic" (which = AU or worse) condition Morgan dollars they recently came across in dad's collection.   As a side note it does make you wonder if these are "hot" or truly a relatives coins, but that is a different discussion.   So I think that the number of pocket change or low grade coins that are being sent in by unknowledgeable folks be they the youtube get rich quick type or the clueless to coins inheritance types has been one of many significant factors in clogging up the grading pipeline.

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16 hours ago, Coinbuf said:

So I think that the number of pocket change or low grade coins that are being sent in by unknowledgeable folks be they the youtube get rich quick type or the clueless to coins inheritance types has been one of many significant factors in clogging up the grading pipeline.

And then you have people like me, Submitting a group of Zimbabwean coins, not because I have any dream of making money, but because I have a grading credit and I simply want to do it to make a coin counterpart to my note set. lol

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8 hours ago, Revenant said:

And then you have people like me, Submitting a group of Zimbabwean coins, not because I have any dream of making money, but because I have a grading credit and I simply want to do it to make a coin counterpart to my note set. lol

Slightly different scenario, you have a purpose and the knowledge of what the coins are worth.  Don't get me wrong many coins are submitted for reasons other than purely financial gain, often times a sentimental coin is submitted for protection and even a special label.   But I think the pandemic caused a lot of people to find the vast misinformation that is available on the net about the riches of pocket change and then began to submit all sorts of coins thinking that they had found ultra rare mint errors and things of that nature.

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