NGC Restructures VarietyPlus Service

Posted on 10/13/2006

One of the valuable services offered by NGC is the attribution of coin varieties. By varieties, we mean coins which differ from their basic design type in some distinctive way and are thus differentiated by collectors. Advanced collectors have already begun to notice subtle changes in VarietyPlus, NGC’s coin variety attribution program. Starting in October 2006, NGC will introduce a new attribution system for die varieties.

NGC will immediately begin attributing coins by VarietyPlus number, noted with a VP on the NGC certification label. This new attribution system is the culmination of two years of work by NGC researchers and attributors. By relying on the considerable experience of the NGC attribution team a streamlined and improved catalog of varieties has been created, encompassing the most widely collected and desirable die varieties.

By the end of November 2006, a comprehensive guide to VarietyPlus will be made available for free on NGC’s website, with a print edition to follow in 2007. Since a procedure has been designed to recognize varieties which were previously not attributed by NGC, the online edition will be regularly updated and expanded. This revision to VarietyPlus will allow the catalog to immediately grow and respond to important new discoveries.

NGC’s Director of Research, David W. Lange, has led the company’s variety attribution program and is enthusiastic about this new direction: “NGC’s VarietyPlus service was first launched ten years ago, and it has now matured to the point where we are able to understand more fully which varieties are significant to the hobby in the long run. The creation of a VarietyPlus numbering system is the synthesis of everything we’ve learned through firsthand experience and in talking to our customers about varieties.”

VP numbers will not be used in place of many of the varieties currently recognized, and, in fact, much of the VarietyPlus program will remain the same. NGC will continue to attribute the following varieties:
  • Half cents by Cohen numbers
  • Large cents by Sheldon (1793-1814) and Newcomb (1816-57) numbers
  • Half dimes (1794-1837) by Logan-McCloskey numbers
  • Dimes (1796-1837) by John Reich numbers
  • Quarter dollars (1796-1838) by Browning numbers
  • Half dollars (1794-1836) by Overton numbers
  • Silver dollars (1794-1804) by Bowers-Borckardt and Bolender numbers
  • Silver dollars (1878-1935) by VAM numbers (8TF, 7/8TF, TOP-100, HOT-50, TOP-50, and a handful of other select varieties only)
  • Redbook varieties

Under the new guidelines of VarietyPlus, NGC will no longer attribute die varieties by FS number, as assigned in The Cherrypickers’ Guide. Additionally, VP numbers will be assigned to many coins not previously recognized by NGC.

To receive a variety attribution with uncertified coins being submitted for grading, simply choose VarietyPlus on your submission form, fill in the Variety column for that line with the type of variety you're seeking (Overton, VAM, VP, etc.) or, if known the exact variety number. Either way, NGC will examine your coin and enter the correct variety attribution on its grading label. A $7 fee is charged for this service in addition to the regular fee for the grading tier you've selected.

In the case of coins already graded and encapsulated by NGC, you may have the correct variety attribution added by submitting the encapsulated coin under our Designation Review service. The fee for Designation Review is $10.

Future announcements are forthcoming, and we invite collectors to send questions or comments directly to

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