The Many Aspects to the Evaluation

Posted on 3/12/2006

Conservation fees at NCS are calculated at a percentage of the fair market value on each coin. A 5% total conservation fee is charged for coins conserved: 1% for evaluation and 4% for the subsequent conservation work. Grading is then an additional charge. When coins are not conserved, only the 1% evaluation fee is charged. What happens in that evaluation stage?

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The evaluation is a first step of the conservation process. At NCS, this evaluation is performed by an experienced numismatist, knowledgeable in conservation and possessing a comprehensive command of rare coin grading. Part of this initial evaluation is to determine what conservation methods should be used. The evaluation also considers other aspects of the conservation of a specific coin that can depend greatly on the particulars of the coin. If already certified, the current grade is also a factor.

When an evaluator examines a raw coin — one that is not already certified by a third party grading company — several things are considered. First, an evaluator will consider how beneficial conservation work will be for a coin. If a coin will be worse off after conservation, in terms of either its appearance or its long-term surface stability, the evaluator will determine that no conservation should be performed. If conservation can be a benefit, the evaluator will next determine what should be done. This determination, whether it is to remove toning or only residues, or to address specific concerns with spots and the like, will be indicated to the conservators. Not all coins will have toning completely removed; sometimes coins will need only to have toning lightened to completely address a submitter's concerns. Sometimes only residues, such as PVC, are to be removed, leaving the color or toning on a coin untouched. Occasionally, only spots are to be eliminated, while leaving the remaining surfaces as they are.

Notes and concerns made by the submitter are also considered in the evaluation process. While notes are considered during the evaluation and conservation process, coins are evaluated to give the coin's best outcome based on the evaluator's professional opinion and experience.

Coins are then evaluated again by a conservator at the start of the conservation process. In cases where opinions differ on the best course of action for a coin, discussions between conservator and evaluator can result in the best outcome for the coin in question. Perhaps the toning is too attractive to remove. Maybe removal of a spot will leave an area of the coin that will appear different from the rest. These are situations that can change the evaluation of a coin once it is time to be conserved.

When a coin is submitted in a third party grading holder, the evaluation proceeds much in the same way as it does for raw coins. Coins will be looked at to determine the benefits of conservation as well as to what extent various techniques are to be performed. In addition, with certified coins, an attempt is made to predict what the coin might be like after conservation and whether it will still maintain its currently stated grade. If it appears that hairlines or contact marks, for example, may become more apparent after conservation, and thus result in a lower grade, a coin will not be conserved.

The evaluation is a crucial part of the goal of NCS to make numismatic treasures beautiful and stable for long-term storage.

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