Certifying modern day gold bullion coins adds to their cost but not much to their value. Modern day PCGS certified gold coins are simply gold bullion coins. Their value comes from the gold in them. These coins are new, in excellent condition, and in sealed containers. There is typically no question as to the authenticity or grade of an American Eagle, American Buffalo, or Canadian Maple Leaf.
There is nothing wrong with buying modern day PCGS certified gold coins. They certainly are not damaged in the certification process. There is just no point to paying the extra cost of certification. PCGS offers free quarterly grading specials to members but this is typically limited to one coin of $1,000 or so value. To have coins graded by PCGS an investor needs to be a member which also costs money. If an investor wants to buy gold bullion coins for security or profit, there is no need to buy modern-day certified pieces.
The point of certification is to assure the buyer of a coin’s authenticity and its state of preservation, its grade. If an investor in rare gold coins wishes to buy a Saint Gaudens Double Eagle from the early 20th century, a Liberty Head gold dollar from the mid 19th century, or a Draped Bust Gold Eagle from the last days of the 18th century then PCGS certification is of the utmost importance. The value of these historic coins is based largely, and sometimes almost entirely, on their rarity and their grade. The difference between grade 63 and grade 66 for a 1795 “thirteen leaves” Draped Bust $10 (1/2 ounce of gold, which is only worth about $600 as of January 22, 2010) gold piece is worth over a million dollars!
If a coin is a rarity or an investment-grade collectible, surely you want PCGS certification. However, the same cannot be said for the modern-day bullion coins.