A Letter from Mark Salzberg

Posted on 1/3/2018

The chairman of CCG reflects on the highlights of 2017 and looks ahead to 2018.

Dear Fellow Numismatists:

As we conclude our celebration of NGC’s 30th anniversary, I look forward to the next chapter in our company’s history.

We are in one of the most dynamic and exciting periods in my four decades as a professional numismatist. While still an old-fashioned business in many respects, numismatics has been fundamentally changed by technology, which has made the hobby more accessible and connected than ever before. Today, collectors and dealers buy and sell coins from half a world away at the click of a button.

NGC and its affiliate, Paper Money Guaranty (PMG), have served a critical role in making this global, online trade a possibility. Collectors and dealers around the world trust the accuracy and integrity of NGC's and PMG’s grading, which gives them confidence to buy coins and paper money online from dealers they have never met.

A coin collector in Malaysia is willing to buy an NGC-certified coin from a dealer in Germany simply because that coin was graded by NGC. He knows that he will get a coin that is genuine, accurately graded, professionally attributed and protected by a secure, inert holder.

The increased confidence and safety that NGC and PMG bring to the marketplace results in higher prices realized and increased liquidity, which benefits the entire hobby.

The value created by our companies was highlighted a number of times throughout the year. For instance, in August, a group of nine NGC-certified Japanese coins from the 1870s sold for a combined $793,125. These same nine coins sold at public auction just a year earlier—prior to being certified by NGC—for $225,000.

Other NGC-certified auction highlights from the last year include:

  • an 11-coin Japan Meiji 13 (1880) Proof Set, which sold in January for $1,309,185;
  • an ancient gold Stater from Lydia, graded NGC MS with a 5/5 strike and a 5/5 surface, which sold in August for $129,250. (A few months earlier, before being certified by NGC Ancients, it had sold for $38,757);
  • a Russian 1762CNB Rouble, graded NGC MS 62, that sold in October for about $650,000, more than 10 times its pre-auction estimate; and
  • a Confederate Half Dollar, graded NGC PF 40 and pedigreed to the acclaimed Eric P. Newman Collection, that sold in November for a record $960,000.

Meanwhile, a remarkably well-preserved 1928 $100 Gold Certificate graded PMG 63 Choice Uncirculated sold for $223,250 in April.

These results are possible because collectors and dealers trust the expertise and integrity of the NGC and PMG grading teams, which we have continued to develop by hiring new talent and retaining our top experts.

NGC Research Director David Lange, who has been with NGC since 1994, deserves a special mention. In 2017, he was named Numismatist of the Year by the American Numismatic Association, a great honor for both David and NGC.

This year we were also honored to have added Chen Gi Mao, a renowned numismatist with nearly a half century of experience, to our team of experts. Together with Chen Gi Mao, we launched the NGC Advanced Chinese Authentication Bureau (ACAB) in March, which has brought a higher level of authentication services for vintage Chinese coins.

The establishment of the NGC ACAB has already given us the opportunity to examine some of the most incredible vintage Chinese rarities, including the 1897 Szechuan Ferracute Pattern Set, one of three known complete sets, and the 1911 Long Whisker Dragon Pattern Gold Dollar, one of the rarest and most valuable of all Chinese coins.

Collectors and dealers have embraced the enhanced services provided by the NGC ACAB, and we look forward to further expanding our market share this year. Meanwhile, modern Chinese coins continue to be an area of considerable strength for NGC. A few months ago, we certified the monumental Hercules Collection, a virtually complete collection of modern Chinese coins.

A particular highlight for me personally was the extraordinary 1915 Panama-Pacific Double Set, which I had the opportunity to grade in October. Miraculously preserved in its original case for over a century, the set is one of the great treasures of American numismatics. I will be excited to see these coins sell at auction later this week.

We also graded a rare English Henry III gold penny, an example of England’s first gold coin. A French 1848A Essai 5 Franc that is likely unique is yet another highlight from the last year.

NGC, which continues to hold the title of world’s largest third-party coin grading service, is on track to certify its 40 millionth coin within weeks.

PMG has grown at a rapid pace around the world as more paper money collectors and dealers realize the benefits of its expert and impartial authentication, grading and encapsulation services. In 2017, PMG reinforced its position as the world’s largest third-party paper money grading service and early this year it will pass the 2.5 million notes graded milestone.

We have supported the global coin and paper money markets by investing millions of dollars to expand our physical and virtual presence. In 2017, we opened Official Submission Centers in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Thailand and Malaysia.

We also began to offer year-round PMG on-site grading services at our 15,000-square-foot office in Shanghai, complementing our year-round NGC on-site grading services introduced in 2016. Later this year, we will offer regular NGC on-site grading services at our office in Munich, Germany—the first time that we have offered such services in Europe.

Our websites are now available in 11 languages, and we have launched new online resources that utilize the latest technology to realize our goal of adding transparency, confidence and accessibility to collectibles markets.

One of those resources is the new Counterfeit Detection portal at NGCcoin.com/Counterfeits. While NGC has long provided educational content to help collectors and dealers identify counterfeit and altered coins, this resource brings it all together in one place, making it easier than ever for people to avoid this scourge.

We also released a new NGC mobile app that features some of our most popular research tools. It is now available in three languages, and we have some exciting updates planned for later this year.

Outside of numismatics, Certified Guaranty Company (CGC), our affiliate dedicated to grading comic books, magazines, lobby cards, vintage photographs and concert posters, received record submissions this year. We also launched a new affiliate, Authenticated Stamp Guaranty (ASG), which has begun to accept stamp submissions in China.

These companies fulfill our philosophy of making the world of collectibles a safer and more vibrant place for collectors and dealers. We appreciate all of the support that we have received, and we look forward to continuing to provide the highest-quality services this year and in the future.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2018,

Mark Salzberg

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