NGC REGISTRY NO LONGER TO ACCEPT PCGS COINS?
Maybe it's just that I haven't looked hard enough but I haven't seen much of a reaction to Marc's Saltzberg's announcement a few weeks ago that, beginning in January, the NGC will no longer accept coins graded by PCGS in their Registry. I think it's an atrocious idea---a disservice to collectors and injurious to NGC itself.
The switch may not mean much to collectors of modern and some foreign sets, but it will effectively wipe out active Registry participation in most, if not all, of the classic sets. Take the Mercury dime set for example. FB Mercs are a popular series and, when compared to other classic sets (e.g., Saints, $10 Indians, Barber Halves, etc.), relatively easy to complete. But, there just aren't enough NGC-graded Mercury dimes in the better dates to make completion of a high-end FB NGC set possible. For example, the NGC census reports 21 1931S dimes in 65FB or better. PCGS, on the other hand, reports 125 of them. Of the 21 NGC coins, I'd bet many or most have been crossed and not deleted from the count. I've been collecting Mercs for 30+ years and I have NEVER come across a FB '31S in ANY grade in an NGC holder. Only 4 FB gems have sold in Heritage auctions from the beginning of time. The '31S is a semi-key, but hardly an impossible find---unless you are looking for a FB '31S in an NGC holder. The same may be said of most (if not all) of the other keys, semi-keys and hard dates. OK, you get lucky and find a 1931S NGC 65FB, now try to find a 65FB '19S, '21, '21D, '45, etc. If PCGS coins are no longer accepted in the NGC Registry, NO ONE will EVER be able to start, register and complete a collection of high-end FB Merc dimes.
A vital Registry benefits, not only collectors but NGC itself. NGC is essentially forcing collectors to choose and, if forced, a classic collector absolutely HAS to go with PCGS if he aspires to do a high end Registry set. Forget about a '19S, '31S, or '45 Merc., kid's coins, in the final analysis---try to find an NGC '21 or '27S MS Saint. Most, maybe even all, of the classic sets in the NGC Registry will eventually be reduced to what's there now and even those sets will necessarily stagnate. None of the classic Registry sets can ever grow, or attract new participants, unless NGC grades another 200 MS coins in each of the hard dates. That can't happen.
I've commented on the issue of "zombie" sets before, but it bears repeating now and it's for NGC's own good. You'll find many of the top sets still registered at NGC have long been sold off---the #2 and #3 Merc sets, for example, went to auction at Heritage years and years ago. Many/most of the registered PCGS coins in those sets can't "go" anywhere since, because of regrades, the certs are dead. Look at the 20th C. classic gold sets for another example---almost none of the sets are legit because of regrades and cross-overs. Obviously, NGC isn't in the business of checking PCGS cert numbers repeatedly to see whether they're still alive. The answer isn't to refuse PCGS coins. The solution is to require that set owners whose sets haven't had activity in say, a year, reaffirm that they still own the coins. Those that don't reaffirm lose their sets (and are maybe given a year's grace period to restore them). Those that do affirm, keep them. It's a simple computer programming thing---owners of inactive sets get an email every year and a month to reaffirm. It's a simple solution that will assure credibility in the NGC registry.
Then again, maybe grading junk is where the money is. Maybe NGC WANTS to be out of the classic coin business and focus its efforts on modern stuff, silver Eagles, etc. If that's the case, why not just tell us?
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