Crossing over five PCGS world coins over to NGC confirms one of my long held suspicions, but does not effectively answer the question, does NGC under grade its world coins or does PCGS over grade theirs? The world may never know, however this I do know with certainty, NGC is more conservative in grading world coins than PCGS is.
Most of you will recall that earlier in the year NGC changed their policy of allowing PCGS coins into their world registry to an exclusively NGC registry. I remember being especially annoyed that my complete set of Netherlands Wilhelmina 10 Gulden gold coins was no longer complete in the eyes of NGC. I originally took a defiant position by refusing to cross my PCGS coins over to NGC. I even launched my own web site for the express purpose of writing my own rules.
My long-standing goal for this set is MS-65 and higher for the entire set and unfortunately, upgrades of this quality are few and far in between. Upgrades can also be expensive, combining the increased purchase price of the new coins with the seller fees of the old coins. Regardless, I had always been willing to bear the brunt of the cost to own not only the top set competitively, but also the best set possible.
For a long time I have been suspicious that NGC is more conservative in their grading of Wilhelmina coins than PCGS as evidenced by the top-heavy PCGS population report. However comparing NGC and PCGS population reports may be like comparing apples and oranges because PCGS has graded a lot more of these coins than NGC, thus potentially skewing a comparison.
Until now, the only way to prove whether NGC is more conservative was to cross my PCGS coins over to NGC. As of recently, Ive had the following PCGS Wilhelminas in my set, a MS-63 1898, MS-65 1911, and MS-67 1917. With the scarcity and cost of upgrades and a goal of MS-65 or higher, I thought I had a chance to cross the 1911 and 1917 coins to MS-65 and avoid purchasing new coins. With that, I sent those two coins, the 1898 Wilhelmina, a MS-69 1998 Britannia, and a red MS-65 1898 French 10 Centime coin for cross over to NGC with this years five free submission coupon.
I knew the 1917 would grade lower based on NGCs population report of only two MS-67s in the entire series, but the wildcard was the 1911, would it hold at MS-65? I was taking a big chance that it would grade MS-64 instead. However, I honestly felt that the grade of MS-65 was fair and would hold making this coin one of four top-pops in the NGC population report. Interestingly the 1911 is the most heavily toned gold coin I own. Did the toning have an equalizing effect on both PCGS and NGC graders? In the end, I think it did because out of the five coins, this coin was the only coin to hold its grade at MS-65. All the other coins came in one grade lower (the 1917 at MS-66), confirming my suspicion of more conservative grading on world coins only, but not really answering the question I posed in the first paragraph of this post.
Currently, my 11-coin set has four MS-66, four MS-65, two MS-64, and one MS-62 coins. Of those coins the 1932, 1927, 1912, and the newly graded 1911 are top pops. Based on this, it appears that my goals are coming together rather nicely. Additionally, I have a line on a MS-64 1898 that I hope pans out to make the rest of the set one grade lower than the top pop coins. Now my set is both complete and consistent in the eyes NGC. The term white tux referring to NGCs holder is a borrowed term from another Collectors Society member. Until next time, Happy collecting!
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