is CAC overrated?
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I have pleny of NGC PCGS ANACS even some ICG.. I get that there are some overgraded and undergraded in all slabs but is CAC really worth it?? if you can grade and know what the coin is to me it is a waste of $$ for that little sticker.. and to pay more seems a waste.. who made JA god anyway?? Ive seen some CAC that were "how did that coin get that"  JMHO

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I just checked my watch list after weekend Heritage auction and found that non CAC coins sold for in some cases half the price as same CAC coins. And I see that some of the non CAC coins are marked 'make offer to owner' which tells me that these coins are low end for the grade and not wanted by real collectors, only wanted by flippers who buy the junk coins cheap to make a buck. So by all means oh yes CAC is certainly worth it if you want the better coins for your collection.¬¬

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Peer review is common in other areas, so I don't see why it wouldn't make sense in coin grading. Sometimes it's good to have another set of eyes. Besides, the CAC'd coins sell for half to a full grade above quite often, so it's a nice selling point. 

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The preference for CAC is disproportionately financial, though on forums such as this one and PCGS it is rationalized as substantially collecting driven.  It has little to do with collecting.

How do I know this?  The price differences in many instances are disproportionate to any actual difference in quality, subjective as it is and just as equally apparent with the disproportionately immaterial quality differences between various MS grades. 

For those who disagree or don't believe it, it's only because of the price level and price structure that these minor quality differences are considered so important.  In prior US collecting and elsewhere today where financial buying and US collecting practices haven't distorted the market, no one or hardly anyone gives a hoot.

For a variety of reasons which have been discussed here and on PCGS, the narrowing of the US coin market financially is turning most coins either into money losers or "dead money". 

This shouldn't be surprising.  Most Americans are worse off than they were at minimum from 1999.  There certainly aren't hardly any foreign buyers outside of expatriates buying US coinage above immaterial prices.  There presumably is no recent catalyst such as higher gold and silver prices to bring money into the "hobby".  US Mint and world NCLT is probably also "sucking the wind" out the funds available to buy other coins since without an increasing collector base and flow of funds, money spent on NCLT is not available for classics or other moderns.

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From a selling perspective, CAC is worth the submission fees on coins worth more than $500.  Anything I can do to increase liquidity and value is worth the trivial submission fee to me.   

From a buying perspective, the CAC sticker garners zero premium for me.  If the coin is PQ, it is worth a premium regardless of sticker.  I have also seen a fair number of coins stickered by CAC that I hate and would not buy at the stickered grade.  IMHO CAC is far too forgiving of scratches and ugly toning on certain series, especially antebellum coins.  That doesn't mean I don't respect them, only that my personal standards are stricter in some regards.

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It appears more a matter of many not understanding what CAC does and why they exist, than over- or underrating.

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If the majority of collectors believe CAC is relevant to the process of purchasing coins, by virtue of this belief CAC becomes relevant to all collectors - if only when it comes time to sell.

The very fact that it is the topic of so many posts on this and other message boards would seem to verify CAC’s relevance in the numismatic community.

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If you think that CAC approval protects you from buying problem coins, you need to rethink that position. I spotted an 1852 Type I gold dollar in PCGS MS-63, CAC that had an "L" scratched in the obverse. Recently an 1872 Seated Dollar sold at auction which had had its surfaces polished with an abrasive. The coin had polishing hairlines all over the obverse and reverse. It was graded PCGS AU-50, CAC. ANACS had once net graded the same piece AU-50. They labeled it as "cleaned," which was the right call.

CAC gets it right most of the time, but you can't depend on it blindly. The claim that CAC always gets it right is indeed overrated.

Edited by BillJones

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47 minutes ago, BillJones said:

If you think that CAC approval protects you from buying problem coins, you need to rethink that position. I spotted an 1852 Type I gold dollar in PCGS MS-63, CAC that had an "L" scratched in the obverse. Recently an 1872 Seated Dollar sold at auction which had had its surfaces polished with an abrasive. The coin had polishing hairlines all over the obverse and reverse. It was graded PCGS AU-50, CAC. ANACS had once net graded the same piece AU-50. They labeled it as "cleaned," which was the right call.

CAC gets it right most of the time, but you can't depend on it blindly. The claim that CAC always gets it right is indeed overrated.

I have never read a comment that states CAC protects a person from buying problem coins, or read that a person blindly depends on on the opinion of CAC, or that a person claimed CAC always get it right. 

I certainly understand your position via CAC as it has been stated on many occasions. You have a level of judgement of quality that those of us that are not as seasoned can appreciate and maybe even envy a little.

You have from time to time posted observations of less than stellar opinion grading by TPGs and 4PGs. Awareness is a good thing, and good for the hobby.

 

But (there is always a "But"), the anecdotes that are posted to illustrate a TPG or 4PG swing and miss should never be interpreted by the reader as a lack of credibility (or ability) on the part of the TPGs and 4PGs. Each and every coin that is opined by a person with your credential and ability as a swing and a miss can and should be brought to the attention of the TPG and/or 4PG for re-evaluation and correction, if indeed correction is needed. The TPG and 4PG would much rather have this occur, because it increases trust and credibility and benefits the hobby and all who partake in numismatics. The TPGs and 4PGs are not a business model that wants to have unhappy customers because of interpretation of human error now and then as blatant swings and misses that cause dramatic statements of opinion that many read and perceive as a continuing event of failure on the part of the TPG/4PG.

As an aside, when you, as a very respected, seasoned and experienced numismatist, observe the human errors of judgement, do you contact the TPG/4PG and discuss the issue, so such pieces can be corrected, if necessary, for the benefit of all in the hobby?

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Sometimes CAC get a grade spot on and sometimes not. For example, someone did posted here on this forum a year or 2 ago about the toned Mercury dime that got NGC MS65FB without CAC sticker. Then after someone resubmitted that exactly same toned Mercury dime to NGC and come back as MS66+FB and later got green bean sticker. Somehow, someone got it cracked out and submitted to PCGS and come back as MS67+FB!!! and got green bean sticker again! How is that possible that CAC give a green sticker on that the exactly same toned Mercury dime when they already gave it (MS66+FB) a green sticker (not gold sticker) in the past? So does that mean CAC couldn't tell the difference between MS66+ and MS67+? 

 

I did see some people said from ATS, "No bean, no buy," I think it's ridiculousness statement. My opinion is that I think CAC is pointless, just want to make the money from submitters... business is business. 

Edited by A.Phillips

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The issues with items like the Mercury Dime cited above gets into the "grading is an art and not a science" thing. Opinions can differ at one time or another and in different venues, like a cross over from one holder to another.

CAC says that weeded out the "C coins" that are doubtful for the grade assigned. A coin like this 1852 gold dollar which has an "L" carved on the obverse, above Ms. Liberty's head, should not have been given a CAC sticker. If that is not a "C coin," I don't know what is a "C coin." At least four professional graders looked at this coin, and they all either missed it or decided it was not bad enough to cause the coin to get a "no grade" or a lower grade.

 

1852-L gold dollar.jpg

Edited by BillJones

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Here is a close-up of the coin shown above. I don't know how to post more than one image per massage under the new system.

 

 

1852-L gold dollar detail.jpg

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I cannot see the coin well enough in either photo to make any determination as to the appropriateness of the grade. I would think the reverse would need to be considered as well.

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13 minutes ago, Afterword said:

I cannot see the coin well enough in either photo to make any determination as to the appropriateness of the grade. I would think the reverse would need to be considered as well.

I think Bill's point is that it doesn't matter what the grade is, the graffiti should knock it out. 

To be fair - are you sure that is an intentionally carved L, or an unfortunately coincidental set of bagmarks that looks L shaped? 

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Look to the right of the star that is to the right of Ms. Liberty's crown. The "L" is there. I spotted this, in person, when I was shopping for an 1852 gold dollar at a show.

I have a picture with an arrow that points this out, but I don't know how to post it. It's so frustrating.

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Just now, physics-fan3.14 said:

I think Bill's point is that it doesn't matter what the grade is, the graffiti should knock it out. 

To be fair - are you sure that is an intentionally carved L, or an unfortunately coincidental set of bagmarks that looks L shaped? 

Let's say is two scratches that look like an "L." Would say that is still an "A" or "B" coin for the MS-63 grade?

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Just now, BillJones said:

Let's say is two scratches that look like an "L." Would say that is still an "A" or "B" coin for the MS-63 grade?

Unfortunately, the pictures are not good enough to grade the coin. If it is graffiti, then it obviously should be in a details holder.

If it is a couple of scratches, and the rest of the coin is solid, then yes, I think it still could be an A or B coin. A few scratches on a 63 gold coin are definitely within the grade range. 

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How about this one with with hairlines from cleaning in the fields. I can only seem post one picture so here it is of the coin as an ANACS graded piece and as a PCGS - CAC graded piece.

 

1873 Dol ANACS.jpg

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Just to be clear Bill, I absolutely agree with you that CAC stickers problem coins. You don't have to prove anything to me! 

The worst I've seen was a CAC'd 1850's Seated Half, graded 64 with bright PL surfaces - and a thick layer of artificial toning.

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12 minutes ago, physics-fan3.14 said:

Just to be clear Bill, I absolutely agree with you that CAC stickers problem coins. You don't have to prove anything to me! 

The worst I've seen was a CAC'd 1850's Seated Half, graded 64 with bright PL surfaces - and a thick layer of artificial toning.

And you should know since you specialize in Proof-Like coins.

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3 hours ago, BillJones said:

Here is a close-up of the coin shown above. I don't know how to post more than one image per massage under the new system.

 

 

1852-L gold dollar detail.jpg

 

599877242b931_1852-Lgolddollardetail.jpg.77b3215e1330fbf1babbfa60ebc489c2.jpg

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10 hours ago, BillJones said:

The issues with items like the Mercury Dime cited above gets into the "grading is an art and not a science" thing. Opinions can differ at one time or another and in different venues, like a cross over from one holder to another.

CAC says that weeded out the "C coins" that are doubtful for the grade assigned. A coin like this 1852 gold dollar which has an "L" carved on the obverse, above Ms. Liberty's head, should not have been given a CAC sticker. If that is not a "C coin," I don't know what is a "C coin." At least four professional graders looked at this coin, and they all either missed it or decided it was not bad enough to cause the coin to get a "no grade" or a lower grade.

 

1852-L gold dollar.jpg

 

LOL.  Mr.Bill, you caught another unfortunate error by PCGS and CAC.  I wonder what the percentage of this type of mistake (EXCLUDING GRADING AND LABELING) exists out of the hundreds of thousands of coins PCGS has graded or NGC and CAC too?

I've seen examples of many coins in your collection that you post.  You have an eye for quality.  You also have a reputation for educating collectors.  I have a sincere suggestion as I'm getting a little tired of reading your posts about those incompetents at CAC.  You might better serve all of us collectors if you would stick to the best parts of numismatics as you know them and abandon the band wagon of TPGS and CAC mistakes.  Yes, they are out there. Yes, they are all over the place.  Unfortunately, many of these "problem" coins are detected by the graders yet considered to be tolerable.  Trust me, the "L" was not missed by either service.  It seems to me that a "gem" dollar was knocked down two grades to indicate its retail value.  AFAIK, both CAC and PCGS (NGC, ANACS, and ICG) have strong guarantees.  Nevertheless, you, me, and most here would consider that gold dollar as damaged and uncollectable!  AFAIK, CAC will even buy it!  

I hope you consider this suggestion and keep showing your collection and posting GTG coins.  We don't need to be told/shown over-and-over that:

1. We should buy the coin and not the holder.

2. All coins that are graded the same are not equal.

3. A knowledgeable numismatist (you for example) is often a better judge of coins than a TPGS because the numismatist has only his own standards to follow.   

4.  The TPGS and CAC make errors some of which are not intentional.

Best Regards! :)

 

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This 1852 gold dollar was no gem. I saw it in person when I was shopping for the date. Without the "L" it would not have made MS-65; it would have been a nice MS-63.

It's obvious that you have followed me over here to be like many others who want to keep me quiet on this issue.

I'll leave you with this. CAC was founded on the premise that it would weed out the problems that some have perceived with third party grading. It is not a full service grading company, but a company that renders advice. As such it should be recommending the BEST COINS ONLY. That was the basis for the "A", "B" and "C" coin classifications. They are under no obligation to put their sticker on anything so far as I know. And yet there are more errors than there should be. I have  more examples that just these two.

But have your way. I can see that consumer protection is of little interest to you and others like you. So you win. I'll be quiet, but I'll never have any respect for your opinion on this issue.

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Why the opposition to 4th party verification. CACs' services are inexpensive and fees don't necessarily end up being paid by the purchaser. If you want your coins to be more liquid then its just your ticket. Some of you folks have shown really nice material and if I were in your area I would offer 5th party verification free of charge for any CAC coins you have. Wouldn't mean much but I would certainly enjoy viewing your material. I have personally submitted 20 coins or so to CAC and all but 2 are liked by them and are now stickered. I do consider CAC an extra piece of mind but not the ultimate opinion; that opinion would be mine.¬¬

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On ‎8‎/‎19‎/‎2017 at 6:40 AM, BillJones said:

CAC gets it right most of the time, but you can't depend on it blindly. The claim that CAC always gets it right is indeed overrated.

I agree completely, but it also demonstrates how the problem is created by the collector - not CAC. If CAC claimed to be perfect in its assessment of coins that would be a different matter altogether, but I do not believe they have made any such claim. Like the TPGs, the best they can do is give their opinion based on their experience and hope that their inherent fallibility as members of the human race does not produce too many errors.

Anyone who claims CAC is infallible is either amazingly gullible or trying to light your fuse. I believe, in most cases, it is the latter.  

I, as well, advise collectors not to depend on CAC blindly, but I do not condemn CAC for their lack of perfection, being that they are only humans.

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3 hours ago, BillJones said:

This 1852 gold dollar was no gem. I saw it in person when I was shopping for the date. Without the "L" it would not have made MS-65; it would have been a nice MS-63.

It's obvious that you have followed me over here to be like many others who want to keep me quiet on this issue.

I'll leave you with this. CAC was founded on the premise that it would weed out the problems that some have perceived with third party grading. It is not a full service grading company, but a company that renders advice. As such it should be recommending the BEST COINS ONLY. That was the basis for the "A", "B" and "C" coin classifications. They are under no obligation to put their sticker on anything so far as I know. And yet there are more errors than there should be. I have  more examples that just these two.

But have your way. I can see that consumer protection is of little interest to you and others like you. So you win. I'll be quiet, but I'll never have any respect for your opinion on this issue.

4

First off Bill, some folks posting on this site were (you too?) in this business before JA graduated high school.  There was no CAC or TPGS.  Several services authenticated coins only.   I'll bet 99% of the posters here (including you ?) are ignorant of the fact that ANACS was NOT the first independent coin grading and authentication service.   

JA came up through the "ranks" along with our host Salzberg, and most of the famous and successful numismatists around today  (You again Bill).  Many of them - JA - in this case (Rick Snow is another) developed a terrific, low-cost idea to "sticker" other people's product.  Pure genius.   Both provide a desirable service or they would not continue it.  

Let's stay with CAC.  They make errors!  However, when they make an error THEY COMPOUND THE TPGS ERROR!!! As you continuously show with examples, that is NOT GOOD.  We all desire that they HOLD THE LINE as they claim to do but life and numismatics are not perfect.  It just may be that some folks (like myself and a few others who come off as being perfect in their own mind...) need to point out the imperfections of others to feel superior.   

As for CAC, the coin market has spoken (so have you, over, and over, and...)  You LOOSE!

That's why it is getting old.  You have too much to share with us and when you start doing that more often, there will be fewer folks complaining about you personally and taking up space/time on the various coin forums that could have been used for more productive discussions.  For example, a photo of the damaged dollar coin only (without the grade and CAC sticker) showing the "L" and explaining what to look for (one member could not see it) and then a warning to buy the coin, not the label...  Instead, let's slam the two companies! Did you make a note of the slab # and make calls to alert both parties to try and get it off the market and properly graded (AS I HAVE DONE ON MANY OCCASIONS)?

This is what I hope you were serious about:  "I'll be quiet..."

Four other things I wish to add to my rant:

1. I've been professionally involved in consumer protection for almost fifty years so that's strike one.

2. I DID NOT follow you over here.  I've been a member of the Collector Society boards for years.  I prefer to post much more often on other forums so that's strike two.

3. I don't care who/what you don't respect.  While you are a talented numismatist, I've met you and heard your ugly gossip personally.  

4. We'll have to wait and see if you honor your post to keep quiet or if you strikeout...Wink. 

Edited by Insider
spelling errors

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On 8/19/2017 at 1:33 PM, BillJones said:

 

CAC says that weeded out the "C coins" that are doubtful for the grade assigned. A coin like this 1852 gold dollar which has an "L" carved on the obverse, above Ms. Liberty's head, should not have been given a CAC sticker. If that is not a "C coin," I don't know what is a "C coin." 

1852-L gold dollar.jpg

My understanding is that a "C" quality coin is low end but appropriately graded for the grade.  Using this definition, this is not a "C" coin but is an "F" quality coin and should not sticker at any grade if it has graffiti on it.

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