A Letter from Mark Salzberg
Posted on 1/16/2023
To My Valued Colleagues and Clients,
Last year marked my 35th year with the Certified Collectibles Group. As you might imagine, a milestone of this magnitude was cause to both reflect and celebrate.
I joined CCG on January 1, 1988, when it was just NGC — a small vintage coin grading company based in New Jersey. It was a whirlwind of growth and activity from the start. It quickly became clear to me that expert and impartial certification would transform not only the coin business, but the entire collectibles industry, by giving people the confidence to invest in this burgeoning asset class.
In 1999, I brought on Steven Eichenbaum as my partner and CEO. He took over the day-to-day management of the company, while I focused on grading and a variety of strategic initiatives. Together with an incredibly talented and hard-working team, we grew CCG into a global collectibles powerhouse, providing services that create trust, value and liquidity in more categories and more regions than any other company in this industry.
There is perhaps no greater testament to the success of CCG than our acquisition by Blackstone, the world’s largest private equity firm, in mid-2021. Over the years, we had been approached by numerous prospective acquirers, including private equity firms, strategic partners and family offices. We turned them all down; they just weren’t the right fit. Blackstone was different. We saw that they recognized our vision and were willing to invest in building a stronger company that adds even more value and vibrancy to the collectibles markets.
For me personally, the sale of CCG to Blackstone has enabled me to further step back after more than three decades of constant work. Most of my time is now spent on my responsibilities as a member of CCG’s Board of Directors, collaborating with the rest of our Board along with our executive team. I am also taking more time to pursue my personal interests, including spending time with my growing family, traveling and, of course, collecting.
The management of the company remains under the steady hand of our extraordinary executive team:
- Steven Eichenbaum, CEO
- Max Spiegel, President
- Mike Browne, COO
- Tony DiLucente, CFO
- Ravi Singh, Chief Product & Technology Officer
- Jason Carney, CIO
- Licia Williams, Chief People Officer
- Andy Salzberg, EVP
- Stuart Lurie, General Counsel
Meanwhile, our grading is also in very capable hands. I have now transitioned my coin grading responsibilities to our extremely talented team that includes Rick Montgomery, Scott Schechter, Ben Wengel, Keith Moon, David Camire, David Vagi and many others. I have the utmost confidence in their abilities to maintain the accuracy and consistency that made us the most trusted grading service in the world. I look forward to supporting them at on-site grading events and by grading select gold coin submissions and special collections.
With Blackstone’s support, CCG has already invested tens of millions of dollars to develop state-of-the-art AI capabilities, best-in-class operations, a new internal technology system and more. Our customers are already starting to see significant benefits from these investments. We cleared our backlogs in trading and sports cards early in 2022, and we have nearly cleared our extensive backlog in comic books. Our Customer Service, a weak point during our worst periods of backlog, now scores above industry metrics. We also launched expert and impartial grading services for video games, with a holder that is widely regarded as the best in the industry. And of course, our very first vertical that started it all, coins, continues to be a major focus for us and will remain so.
CCG continues to reach new heights. We have now graded more than 75 million collectibles — with more than 10 million being graded in 2022 alone. It’s been amazing to witness this growth, and I am excited to see what our team will accomplish in 2023 and beyond.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of our clients and particularly my hard-working colleagues. It has been my pleasure to get to know so many of you over the years and see how your passion and support have made this company and our hobbies so much better. Thank you.
Mark Salzberg Chairman
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