Glossary of Numismatic Terms | NGC Details Glossary

These are some of the most frequently asked questions from members. If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact us.

General Information FAQs >

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General Information FAQ

Q. What is NGC's position in the marketplace and how long has it been in business?

A. Founded in 1987, NGC has graded more than 25 million coins. We have rapidly grown to be the leading third-party grading service in the world, due to our reputation for consistent and accurate grading and our affordable and flexible grading tier options. NGC's customer service team is recognized as being the industry's best. For these reasons, NGC grades more coins than any other grading service, and more of the world's finest coins.

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Q. Where can I find current prices for my coins?

A. NGC does not commercially buy, sell or trade coins. You can consult the NGC US Coin Price Guide or the World Coin Price Guide, created by NGC and Krause Publications' NumisMaster. You can also ask your NGC member dealer about the value of your coins. Major coin publications such as Coin World and Numismatic News also feature price guides.

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Q. Do coin prices vary according to which grading service has certified them?

A. In many cases, yes. This is more likely to be the case when trading occurs on a "sight unseen" basis. The Certified Coin Dealer Newsletter is a wholesale pricing guide that approximates the sight unseen "bid" levels for the certified market in US coins. Demand for a particular grading service's certified coin may also influence prices according to what a buyer is willing to pay for that coin at a particular point in time. The vast majority of coin buyers today purchase coins on a "sight seen" basis and choose only those coins that meet their criteria; that is, they posses the qualities that are most important to them.

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Q. What does the phrase, "Buy the coin, not the holder" mean?

A. Since our inception, NGC has urged the business and hobby to buy the coin, and not just the description on the holder. We believe that a coin should appeal to the purchaser in a way that satisfies him or her, regardless of the grade or description on the holder.

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Q. When selling, can I be assured of instant liquidity and of an existing market for my certified coins?

A. No. The degree of liquidity for NGC-certified coins, as with any certified coin, will vary according to market conditions and according to the particular coin(s) involved.

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Q. Are there legal issues, disclaimers or other fine print that I should be aware of before I decide to purchase NGC coins, have my coins certified by NGC, or imaged and described by PHOTO PROOF®?

A. Yes. We strongly suggest that you visit the "legal notice" section of our Web site at Legal notices are also contained on the back of the NGC Submission Invoice, and on the back of every PHOTO PROOF®.

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Q. Does NGC offer additional services for collectors?

A. NGC offers the most innovative collector services among grading services, with its PHOTO PROOF® presentation product and its VarietyPlus® attribution service. NGC's strong commitment to the coin collecting hobby was a key factor in the decision by the American Numismatic Association (ANA) to select NGC as its official grading service. NGC is also committed to the success of the coin hobby through its support of educational forums, as well as its ongoing financial support of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA).

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Q. After encapsulation, can the appearance of a coin change over time?

A. Yes. In independent testing, the NGC security holder has been proven as the most effective grading service holder on the market today in minimizing the effects of oxidation. Even so, the NGC holder is not 100% airtight. Therefore oxidation, a normal process where air reacts with the surface of a coin, can continue after encapsulation. To further limit environmental hazards, we recommend storing your coins in a temperature-controlled, low-humidity area such as a bank safety deposit box. Be sure to check with your bank for rules and regulations concerning the storage of these items.

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Q. What is a pedigreed NGC coin? Are pedigreed coins worth more than similar non-pedigreed coins?

A. An NGC pedigreed coin is a coin bearing a label with a name such as "Eliasberg" on it. NGC recognizes pedigrees based on the importance and significance of the individual coins or collections. A hoard (or large grouping of coins) may be recognized for pedigree based on the same factors. As with all other coins, the value of pedigreed coins is determined by rarity, condition and demand. This value may be less, the same or more than similar non-pedigreed certified coins.

Q. What does it mean when an NGC-certified silver eagle says “Struck at West Point Mint” or “Stuck at San Francisco Mint?”

A. In mid-2011 the United States Mint announced that it would strike American Silver Eagle bullion coins at the San Francisco Mint to supplement its production at the West Point Mint. Although these coins do not have mintmarks, many collectors desire examples from both mints. The West Point and San Francisco silver eagles can be distinguished by the U.S. Mint’s identifying labels when they are shipped from their facilities in green “monster boxes” of 500 coins.

If a U.S. Mint-sealed monster box with the proper identifying label is submitted to NGC, the submitter can request that these coins be labeled with a “Struck at West Point Mint” or “Struck at San Francisco Mint” pedigree, whichever applicable. The coins will also be labeled with the mintmark in parentheses to indicate that they were struck at that mint without a mintmark.

To learn more, read NGC’s article from June 2011: NGC to Certify San Francisco Mint Silver Eagles

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Grading Services FAQ

Q. How can I submit my coins to NGC?

A. You have some options for submitting your coins to NGC.

  • You may submit coins to NGC by joining the Collectors Society. Membership provides educational resources, grading services, inclusion in a vibrant online community and more. Choose the membership level that's just right for you.
  • You may submit coins through an NGC Authorized Dealer. Please call 1-800-NGC-COIN for a dealer in your area or visit our member dealer directory.
  • If you are an active member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), you may submit coins directly to NGC.
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Q. What is the benefit of submitting my coins through an NGC Authorized Dealer?

A. Most NGC Authorized Dealers will help you screen your coins and select the appropriate submission tiers, package your coins for safe shipment to NGC and assist in determining insurance values for your coins so that they're protected against loss in shipping. With considerable expertise, NGC Authorized Dealers can save you time and money by helping you determine which coins will be eligible for grading. NGC Authorized Dealers are also able to answer many questions you might have about your coins or about NGC. The dealer submission system also allows NGC to utilize a more efficient tracking system for your coins when they arrive, so that your coins are returned to you sooner.

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Q. What measures are in place at NGC to ensure the safety of my coins?

A. When your coins are sent to NGC, you can be confident that they are entering a secure environment. Our highly sophisticated security system is state-of-the-art, and designed to ensure that your coins are under constant surveillance. All coins in NGC's possession are fully insured. As soon as your coins arrive, they are assigned a unique ID number and are tracked throughout the NGC grading and encapsulation process. Also, each highly trained NGC employee will handle your coins as delicately as if they were their own.

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Q. How do I check the status of my submissions online?

A. If you are a Collectors Society member, you are welcome to contact NGC Customer Service at 1-800-NGC-COIN to check the status of your account.

Also, whether you have a paid account or not, you are welcome to contact customer service by calling 1-800-NGC-COIN. A customer service representative will be happy to provide the status of your submissions.

NGC Authorized Dealers can also track submissions online. If you are not already taking advantage of this free service, just contact the NGC Customer Service Department to set up a password for access to your secure account.

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Q. Can my coins be shipped directly back to me?

A. Yes, you can have your coins shipped directly back to you from NGC via insured registered mail. Insurance is only applicable for US domestic shipments. Please note that the postal service allows for a maximum insurance coverage of $25,000 per package. Ask your NGC Authorized Dealer to write your name and address as the return address on the NGC submission invoice.

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Q. What is a Details Grade?

A. A Details grade describes the amount of wear or metal loss due to circulation. NGC assigns Details grades to coins that have detrimental surface conditions, such as excessive surface hairlines or damage. Along with a Details grade a specific disclosure regarding the surface condition appears on the NGC Details grading label. For more information, visit NGC Details Grading.

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Q. What coins cannot be encapsulated by NGC?

A. NGC does not encapsulate coins that are not genuine, are of questionable authenticity, or that have an added or removed mintmark or altered date. Additionally, NGC does not encapsulate coins with surface residue or PVC. Coins with these latter surface conditions usually can be professionally conserved and then encapsulated by NGC. This conservation service is performed by Numismatic Conservation Services (NCS).

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Q. If a coin is removed from its NGC holder and resubmitted, can I be assured of receiving the same grade?

A. No. Once removed from its NGC holder there is no guarantee whatsoever as to what that coin will grade when resubmitted. This is due to the fact that we cannot account for where that coin has been, what if anything has been done to it, and for the overall subjective nature of coin grading itself. In addition, the grade of a coin may be affected if improperly stored and handled while in the holder.

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Q. Are all coins certified and encapsulated by NGC covered by the NGC Guarantee?

A. The NGC Guarantee does not apply to copper, bronze or copper nickel coins graded by NGC prior to April 1, 2000. To the extent that the NGC Guarantee applies to copper, bronze or copper nickel coins, the NGC Guarantee expires with respect to such coin(s) on the 10-year anniversary of the date of encapsulation by NGC. Additionally, any NGC-certified coin deemed by us to be representative of a clerical error is not covered by the NGC guarantee. Clerical errors may be returned to NGC for correction of labeling at no charge to the submitter.

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Q. How widely do grading opinions vary among experts?

A. Discrepancies in grading of 1–2 points in MS 60 and PF 60 and better coins are not uncommon. In circulated grades, a variance of one to two grades (i.e. VF 35, XF 40, XF 45) also would not be uncommon. Discrepancies depend largely on how well-trained the examining experts are in the area that pertains to a particular coin.

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Q. How do I submit my NGC-certified coin that I feel may be over-graded?

A. These coins may be submitted through NGC's Appearance Review service. There is no charge for this service.

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Q. How do I resubmit an NGC-certified coin that I feel may be under graded?

A. These coins should be submitted in their NGC holders through our "ReGrade" service, where you choose the cost and delivery turnaround tier for the coins you want ReGraded (ex. "ReGrade Early Bird," 12 working days, $30).

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Q. What are the costs of submission?

Submission costs vary depending on the value and category of collectibles you are submitting as well as the turnaround time you desire. Note: *NGC Collectors Society Elite members receive 10% discount on grading tiers. (The 10% discount is not applicable to show on-site grading fees.)

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Q. How do I process a submission form online?

NGC direct submission forms are available online for NGC Collectors Society Associate, Premium and Elite members. Access the NGC online submission form.

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Q. How do I package my coins for shipment?

A. On each submission form, there is a link describing how to safely package your items. Follow these directions and be sure to accurately value your insurance coverage for delivery to our grading services, as we are not responsible for damage incurred in transit.

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Q. Can I send multiple invoices to your grading service in the same box?

A. Yes, but only for submissions to the same company. For example, do not send submissions for Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) in the same box with submissions for NGC.

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Q. Will one shipping fee cover the return of all my submissions if I send in multiple submission forms at the same time? Will my submissions be returned to me all in one package?

A. You may submit multiple submission forms to the same grading company in one shipping box. You may request that your submissions are returned together in one package; however, this service is not guaranteed. Your submissions may be shipped separately also.

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Membership FAQ

Q. I am a coin dealer. How can I become an NGC Authorized Dealer?

A. Contact NGC Customer Service (1-800-NGC-COIN) and request a dealer application. It is required that you have been in the business of numismatics for at least one year and can provide at least four numismatic references.

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Q. What are the differences between your membership tiers?

A. The Collectors Society offers free and paid membership levels to provide options for every type of collector. Benefits that vary consist of access to online resources, direct submission privileges, grading credits or coupons and more. Compare the membership options and benefits here.

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Q. I have registered. When can I expect to receive my membership packet?

A. The Collectors Society now makes all membership information available on its website. An email confirmation will be sent to all new and renewing members. Submission Forms are available on the NGC and Collectors Society websites. If you would prefer paper forms you may request them from NGC Customer Service at or 1-800-NGC-COIN.

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Q. Do the grading credits or coupon I received with my membership have an expiration date?

A. Yes. The grading credits or coupon expire on the membership expiration date listed in your confirmation email.

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Q. Is my membership refundable?

A. Because of the benefits received with your membership, a pro-rated refund is not available. However, if you have signed up for auto-renewal of your membership, and decide within 30 days of auto-renewal that you would like to cancel your membership, you may receive a refund of your membership dues by calling NGC Customer Service at 800-642-2646 if you have not used the grading credits or coupons that come with certain membership tiers.

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Q. What is my "public name"? And how can I change this?

A. Your public name shows up on your journal, Registry and other Collectors Society postings. You can change your public name in your profile settings.

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Q. Can I make submissions to other CCG companies?

A. Yes. Your membership in the NGC Collectors Society automatically gives you direct submission privileges to NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation), NCS (Numismatic Conservation Services), PMG (Paper Money Guaranty) and CGC (Certified Guaranty Company). Use your same login information to make submissions within these other companies.

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Q. How many memberships can I have per household?

A. Currently, we only allow one membership per household.

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Q. Can I transfer my coupons to my friends?

A. No. Any coupons you received with your membership are tied to your membership account and profile.

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Q. Why do I keep having to re-log in?

A. If you are not logging in from a public computer, click the "Remember Me" box to save your login information.

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Q. What is my log in?

A. Your login is the e-mail address you used to sign up for your account. You can use the Forgot Password link to get the password for your account. If you continue to have problems please, contact us.

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Q. How do I use my Collectors Society grading credit to submit coins?

A. The Premium and Elite Collectors Society membership levels offer a grading credit as an additional benefit. This credit is valid for any tier and will be automatically applied to your submissions until it is used up. There is no need to request that NGC apply this credit.

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Q. Can I submit additional coins on the same invoice as my free grading submissions?

A. No. When using your free grading award, we ask that you submit no additional items.

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Q. Now that I have direct submission rights to your grading services, can I submit on behalf of my friends?

A. No. Your membership is valid for submissions of your collectibles ONLY. You may not submit on behalf of any third party.

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