A conflict of interest is a conflict of interest. If there is a pecuniary advantage in awarding a higher grade, regardless of amount, that is problematic IMHO.
But it's not a conflict of interest and James was trying make it one. Just like Mark was attempting to cast shade and failed miserably. They both pooped the bed.
Even a million dollar coin "upgrade" would garner only $10,000. Hardly the incentive to muddy your reputation as a public company.
Pebble. Shoe. Ax. Grind.
You are looking at the effect for a single coin. There are millions of coins that have been certified since the policy started. Even $1 per coin could mean potentially millions of dollars even discounting raw submissions. As for reputation, that ship sailed long ago in my opinion when it began watering down its guarantee and doing so retroactively.
That one coin example I used was a million dollar coin. I stepped out. I showed the math. Since you brought it up I would like to see real math on the "millions " of coins that went through this exact tier and their values and subsequent revenue. I think you are pulling numbers out of the air right now for impact. I think you are way way off. Maybe as much as James.
If you really want to check facts seek the reasoning behind the 1% fee and the thought process to get there. Maybe just maybe it's not nefarious, sinister nor conflict of interest . Maybe, just maybe it is just sound business decision and has everything to do in getting the coin In the correct holder the overwhelming majority of the time. Shouldn't that be the goal? If it is then there is no conflict of interest. Just a 1% fee on a high value item. Get it stickered and boom, high value coin in a PCGS holder. A trilogy a collector can live with. Bank. A perfect score.