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The History of PCGS




The Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) transformed the rare coin industry forever. From as far back as the beginning of the 1900s when coin collecting was pushed towards the spotlight, a coin’s appearance, in addition to its rarity, inherently influenced its worth. This is more or less how they are perceived in modern day.

The metamorphosis of this elite industry progressed to a system of more discriminating grade refinements. But it was precisely this individual categorization of grades by various coin dealers which created a predicament. It wasn’t felt as much while there were few numismatics in the game who between themselves utilized general interpretations that sufficed for them:

  • Good – a coin exhibiting near perfect features
  • Fine – a coin revealing discernible features along with a hint of external shine
  • Uncirculated – a coin that was not at any time handled by the public (Mint State appearance)

But then there weren’t so few numismatics and more distinctions were apparent. Coins could be described as finer than ones in the same group and still the ones that weren’t even accessible to society could be described as having better detail, luster, and general appearance. This helped to raise the bar making them more profitable. It was Dr. William Sheldon, a numismatic known at the international level who, in 1948, established the Sheldon Scale which accredited each coin with a number from 1 to 70 whereby the higher the number, the more it would be worth.

This moved the rare coin industry forward but still showed signs of subjectivity in that the grade given to the coin was just as personal as it had been before. The urgency to remediate an apparent deficiency had officially begun.

The Next Step

One thing was for sure: there were obstacles that needed to be eliminated so that the industry could be considered legitimately reliable. It was very clear that an essential ingredient in regulating the worth of rare coins was their physical condition or grade, of the coin. The problem was that the market value of a coin graded Mint State 65 could differ from that of a coin graded Mint State 64. Despite its market value, the actual physical difference could be minute. Another problem was that when it was time to sell, dealers could interchange the numbers as well. This would make the buyer feel less confident in whether or not he was getting the best deal for his coin. The buyer would also feel intimidated by the overall terminology and nonexistence of an acknowledged standard.

The Missing Link : PCGS

The Professional Grading System’s model began to unfold from this need. The onset of the third-party appraisal of a coin’s physical appearance endorsed with security along with a national group of distinguished and trustworthy coin dealers could render rare coin collectors a notably dependable protocol of insurance. It would be PCGS that would extend a sense of credence within the coin market. The rare coin industry would forever be transformed.

Bona Fide Gauges

Finally, on February 3, 1986, PCGS undertook the responsibility of providing an invaluable service to the coin-buying community. They are the ones accountable for the betterment of how coins are bought and sold. Not only did they introduce the concept of standardized grading, but also fostered cash-back grading security, problem-free coins, long-term storage security, and sight-unseen trading. Each of these components brought with it a form of endorsement whereby the public could rely upon. Over 18 million coins worth over US $18 billion have been graded by PCGS.

Most Durable Storage

The Professional Grading Service laid the groundwork for what we know as the most durable storage for coins in modern day. It is composed of a capsule that is designed to prevent any sort of meddling with the coin regardless of purpose. It cannot be altered in any way within this protective container which is sonically-sealed and which was constructed as a means of supplementing its Guarantee of Grade & Authenticity.

As if that weren’t enough, another trustworthy feature it has is an exclusive certification number permanently enclosed inside each capsule. Subsequent to the PCGS coin being launched again into the marketplace, this unique number can provide a reputable measure of classification. Just as valuable is the sturdy, long-lasting vessel in which each coin is protected.

The Professional Coin Grading System’s Pledge

An essential element to PCGS’s precept of third-party grading is precisely its Guarantee of Grade and Authenticity. During the time the coin stays in its capsule, the cash-back policy guarantees the precision of the grade assignment to any PCGS coin. Should there be doubt with the grading of a coin and it is submitted anew by way of PCGS’s Downgrade Resubmission service, the pledge accredits the holder of the coin to alternatives intended for such a matter.

PCGS takes its business very seriously and will guarantee all coins encased by their professional system. At the present time, PCGS will encapsulate some trouble coins as “Genuine” which will lack grading attached to them. These are the “Genuine not Gradable” coins.

Bill of Rights (Consumers)

  • A written receipt is a privilege that all PCGS clientele automatically enjoy. When the buyer renders coins to the certified dealer for grading by PCGS, the authorized dealer will supply the customer with an acknowledgment of delivery describing in detail the entrusted coins.
  • Speedy Grading Process. The procedure for grading will be a very quick one once the coin is handed over to PCGS. The wait will be no longer than 10 days subsequent to original delivery.
  • Delivery Authentication. A copy of the PCGS statement provided by the certified dealer for submission to PCGS will be delivered to the customer within 15 days following delivery of the coins to the authorized dealer.
  • Timely Delivery Subsequent to Grading. Customer’s graded and processed coins will be returned within 5 days after the authorized dealer receives them from PCGS with the only exception being a direct and different request from the customer.
  • Caution and Protection with Coins. Condition of the coin will correspond with how the customer submitted them to the authorized dealer.
  • Endorsement of Grade and Authenticity. Once the customer has completed the process with PCGS, the coins will carry with them the advantage of PCGS’s Guarantee of Grade and Authenticity.
  • Trustworthy and Impartial Appraisals. Should the customer receive a lower assessment or bid price of a PCGS coin by an authorized dealer, the number to report the incident is 1 (800) 447-8848. The customer may call regardless of authorized dealer’s justification of the lower price.
  • Merchandise Dependability. Coin holders may differ from time to time but will not affect PCGS’s Guarantee of Grade and Authenticity.
  • Highest Quality Customer Service. Customers will be treated with the utmost sincerity, integrity, fair dealing, and honorable demeanor by all authorized dealers.

PCGS Grading Standards


Corresponding to the previous scale, the following suffixes are affixed to some grades in various series with the purpose of numerical grade elaboration.


No Grade PCGS Coins

There are instances in which a coin is not easily identifiable and cannot be authenticated or graded and is then classified as either problem coins, inconclusive, or ineligible. “No Grades” in the first group will be located in a PCGS Genuine container unless other arrangements have been dictated. If the coin falls into one of the last two categories, they will be delivered to the customer just as submitted. Whether or not the coins are enclosed in a genuine PCGS capsule or not, they will all obtain one of the “No Grade” codes detailed in the following tables.

Problem coins are the first category: Only numbers 83 and 89 will not be enclosed in a PCGS Genuine holder. The rest will be encapsulated and ungraded with one of the numerical codes found in the table. This number will be written on the holder insert after the coin number. The insert will include any other pertinent information.

The History of PCGS





In the Background

When considering professional third-party grading, PCGS is your only answer. The expert graders are chosen from top-notch specialists who are not only skilled in PCGS grading standards, but also in the appropriate usage of all numismatic items. Throughout the grading procedure, each and every coin undergoes meticulous inspection. PCGS employs a grading scale established upon published standards and a wide-ranging grading coin assortment.

At the final stage, the coin is then sonically sealed within a transparent capsule that will clearly show if it was altered in any way (tamper-evident). The see-through capsule grants the customer or any viewer an unhindered appreciation of the obverse and reverse. As if that were not enough, the coin goes back to the grading room for authentication by an additional specialist. It is at this point when the coin receives its guaranteed PCGS grade and is ready to re-enter the marketplace.

Acceptance to PCGS

Precise examination of the submission invoice is of the utmost importance and each coin received by PCGS undergoes this inspection. The next step is the exclusive certification number that is given from the PCGS computer inventory system which allows PCGS to systematically follow coins every step of the grading process from beginning to end. Numerical classification combined with nonspecific packing also insures anonymity as each coin arrives for processing. In the grading room is where the magic occurs with the most brilliant and experienced numismatics and where each works separately in a orderly and structured atmosphere which furnishes the best possible circumstances for evaluation of each coin’s uniqueness and physical state. A series of experts enter self-determining judgments in a computer database pending a consensus and until it is attained, the final grade will not be assigned. The experts at PCGS have confidence in the wide-ranging grading sets of U.S. and international coins which enhance PCGS’s grading standard. This is added to their own individual expertise of coins and grading.

The Renowned Capsule

PCGS NumisCap holder is the force behind the safety and security offered. The tamper-evident holder contains a special label which indicates the coin’s certification number, grade, date, denomination, unique bar code and pedigree, if applicable.

The Conclusion

After this arduous and specialized process, each and every coin graded by PCGS reruns to the grading room for review by a ‘verifying’ grader who meticulously inspects each coin through its transparent holder to guarantee the reliability of the sealed capsule and to verify the accuracy of all certification data. It all sums up to a painstaking process of safety, security, and honesty. Liability insurance is in place while the coins are on PCGS grounds as well as enjoying the protection offered by the competent security personnel as well as the most advanced security systems available. All this is utilized so that PCGS can assure the protection of your coins all through the grading procedure.

Coins From All Over The World

Coins at the international level are also just as valued and PCGS certifies coins from more than 100 countries. Some of these are:

  • United States
  • Hong Kong
  • Poland
  • New Zealand
  • Greece
  • Africa

The assurance and insurance that PCGS has given to the world of coin transactions has confirmed it as the best reason for entering and feeling absolutely secure about the rare coin marketplace for all time.

The Certified Gold Exchange is a North American leader  on information about PCGS certified gold coins, and for a hard copy of our new special report about PCGS gold and silver coin investments you can call (800) 300-0715 toll-free and speak with a Certified Gold Coin Expert Adviser.

Recommended for you: Gold IRA Rollover Guide and Silver Investments.

gpaanagpaana ★★★★★ It has been my pleasure working with Patrick Collins and Sara with CGE inc.being new to selling metals, Patrick walked me step by step in the process through distributions with my IRA. Whenever I contacted him with questions or concerns, he replied within an hour or minutes to resolve my percieved issues. What a comfort Patrick has been in this (at times) somewhat stressful process.Thank you Patrick!Tandy ClineTandy Cline ★★★★★ I recently sold Gold and Silver through a precious metals IRA. I had an amazing team at CGE working to buy and handle the sales process of my metals. The team was fast, honest and overall outstanding. I had a sales price and contract within 2 hours! 😮It was my first time selling precious metals and they made the process as seamless as possible, despite multiple hiccups caused by my chosen custodian failing miserably. I will choose this team for every precious metals purchase or sale in my future.Bryan VBryan V ★★★★★ Gold Exchange has always been a trusted source of my precious metals and the after support is worth its weight in gold! Patrick Collins is always there to help, support, and go the extra mile! If you are going to invest in precious metals anyone can sell you bars or coins - but nobody has better customer service! BAR NONE!Mark LamdenMark Lamden ★★★★★ I was new the directed IRA concept, but was very grateful to Patrick at CGE in helping me navigate the process. I look forward to a long term relationship with CGE and Patrick as a trusted precious metals dealer.Belinda MurelBelinda Murel ★★★★★ Working with Pat and the team at Certified Gold Exchange made the process of diversifying my retirement savings stress free. I’m confident the selection of precious metals offered were the best fit for my situation and at the best price. No high pressure sales tactics, just fact based answers to the questions and concerns I had. Highly recommend.Timothy FeeleyTimothy Feeley ★★★★★ Working with Certified Gold Exchange has been a positive experience. Working with Pat is not just working with another business vendor, I feel I am working with a trusted advisor. No hard sells. No wild claims. His explanation of the paperwork process between companies and his follow-up during the process is excellent. I appreciate his fact-finding approach to my specific needs. He always had time for me to ask questions and/or discuss ideas I was thinking about. A good business relationship.Warren RichardsonWarren Richardson ★★★★★ I had an excellent experience with Certified Gold Exchange. I dealt directly with Pat Collins who was professional, knowledgeable, informative, and very easy to work with. He responded quickly and precisely to any and all of my questions. Very highly recommended!Edward AlbertEdward Albert ★★★★★ I was looking to liquidate the precious metals in my IRA . The horror stories I had heard of about some gold and silver dealers had me very apprehensive. When I called Certified Gold Exchange and talked with Patrick, I quickly felt a sense of trust in his voice. He answered all my questions and understood my fear of getting taken advantage of. He and his team work very hard behind the scenes ensuring the transaction to go smoothly. As a result CGE has earned my 5 star rating! I will contact them again if I want to buy or sell in the future!ALAN BROWNALAN BROWN ★★★★★ Certified Gold Exchange's website really jumped out to me as I began researching precious metal IRA's. I found it to be incredibly comprehensive and informative, answering questions I did not even know to ask and alerting me to bad practices within the industry as well. So, I called and found the CGE team to be every bit as helpful as the website. They were responsive immediately and throughout the process of establishing an account and funding it. They were particularly helpful when dealing directly with my current custodian and getting funds rolled over. Pat and Mary have been courteous, personable, and very professional working with me and even helped with questions outside the immediate business at hand. I have already referred friends to CGE and will continue to do so.Alison WeinbergAlison Weinberg ★★★★★ Pat and team are very knowledgeable and professional!Ismail KenessyIsmail Kenessy ★★★★★ Customer since 2005. Professional, courteous, and helpful. CGE walked me through the process and provided the best prices available with minimum costs. Excellent service.Joe MurrayJoe Murray ★★★★★ What super service I received from the Certified Gold Exchange precious metals IRA team. Wow is all I can say! I had a large amount of coins in a gold and silver IRA for many years and decided to sell. I spent just about a whole day talking to several metals dealers about purchasing my metals. Call after call I did not feel good about what I was hearing with these dealers so I called the company that helped me set the gold and silver IRA up. Their name is Broad Financial LLC. I explained the problem I was having with finding a buyer and they said that is common in the industry. They told me to call the Certified Gold Exchange, Inc in Fort Worth, Texas. I spoke with Mr C there and was impressed that their quote was above the spot price (because I was hoping to get the spot price). They explained that American Eagles buy back at over spot and I said not with all the other dealers I called. I shipped the metals to their New York depository following the Certified Gold Exchange's instructions. Candace at CGE tracked the package every step of the way and I was updated along the way. Then when my metals arrived at the Certified Gold Exchange depository they told me that several of my coins were actually American Eagle Proof coins, not the bullion version I thought I had. They increased their original quote by $3000.00 dollars! Shocking that a company would be so honest because they could have just sent the original amount and I would have been happy. Needless to say I will never deal with a different metals dealer except the Certified Gold Exchange. Their gold IRA team is the best by leaps and bounds. I highly recommend Candice, Mr. C and the CGE team to any one looking to buy or sell metals with a great experience. Americans trusted source For Gold is not just a tagline with these folks.ted okolowiczted okolowicz ★★★★★ After searching and checking out different metals companies, I decided that Certified Gold Exchange Inc. was my choice. They have exceeded my expectations and made my IRA rollover easier than I thought.You can be very confident by the way every step was handled (very professional).So kudos to the whole TEAM and thank youJoseph GlassmanJoseph Glassman ★★★★★ I had a very good experience with Certified Gold Exchange and I highly recommend anyone considering a IRA Rollover into precious metals, talk to David White at Certified and do business with them. They are honest and will have your best interest as their concern.. David took care of my needs completely with honest and fair pricing. I shopped around and decided on Certified.Lefty and Mary JamoraLefty and Mary Jamora ★★★★★ Thank you David and Pat for educating us on the gold and silver markets. Pat especially helped us thru our first purchase of silver.M PhommahaxayM Phommahaxay ★★★★★ So glad I found CGE! Although, they don’t do business in my state, David White was so kind to take the time out of his busy schedule to educate me on precious metal investing. His advice was extremely valuable which saved me a ton of money. I would definitely recommend and refer any of my friends or family members interested in investing in precious metals in their service area. So thankful for David and this company!Rickey JohnsonRickey Johnson ★★★★★ My experience so far with Certified Gold Exchange was all very positive. Everything went smoothly and P. Collins was awesome in helping us navigate through the process.Aaron BrabhamAaron Brabham ★★★★★ I called Certified Gold Exchange to get information on a crypto currency IRA. I had a ton of questions and Steve not only answered all of them but also informed me of many things I had not thought of.I decided to invest $60k and in just three months it's over $120k! Not only that, the team at Certified Gold Exchange has excellent customer service.I highly recommend them.Mark OLearyMark OLeary ★★★★★ Philip with the certified gold exchange was incredibly helpful in helping me to setup a Cryptocurrency IRA. He knew exactly what questions to ask my existing custodian to make the rollover as seamless as possible. In just a short few months with the recommendations of Philip; I have already seen over a 250% return on my investment. Highly recommended.Gal TabGal Tab ★★★★★ The reason I give it the maximum stars is because everything happened just the way they planned it. I invested a considerable sum of money with them and as anyone would be, I was a little scared. I did my research and They came highly recommended as being ethical brokers. Their fees are very competitive and look forward to doing more business with them.Diana FincherDiana Fincher ★★★★★ I rolled over my IRA into Silver a couple of years ago and made a friend! Agent Pat C, Certified Gold Exchange, Inc., has far exceeded my expectations with continuing, careful watch over my investment. He always surprises with immediate personal response to my slightest question and inspires confidence to hold to The Plan. Pat’s personal touch and excellent recall is reassuring and has proven that he will keep me informed when any changes are advised. Ask for Pat - he’s excellent, excellent!Steve AstinSteve Astin ★★★★★ This was the 3rd company I called and by far the most professional. Thanks Patrick for the great service!Alicia O'RearAlicia O'Rear ★★★★☆ Thank you for donating 16 bibles for our foster children at Albuquerque Christian Children's Home! This is a wonderful company with a heart for ministry.Kyle SandersKyle Sanders ★★★★★ I was interested in doing a gold IRA rollover and contacted several firms after researching on the web. Certified Gold Exchange's website had the most useful information by far compared to other firms. Their representatives have been a pleasure to work with--professional, answered every question I had, and I'd recommend them to anyone looking at a gold IRA rollover.Robby BryantRobby Bryant ★★★★★ I am a Certified Financial Planner, and Certified Gold Exchange has helped us purchase gold for 16 years without a hitch for our clients and at excellent prices. We couldn’t be more satisfied!Anne SayreAnne Sayre ★★★★★ My husband and I were thrilled with the service we received at Certified Gold Exchange! Shipping our gold to us was quick and very simple. So happy we did not have to pay for the TV advertisements with celebrities like so many of the other precious metal companies. We will be buying again from CGE!Neenah PayneNeenah Payne ★★★★★ Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. is a highly professional firm that was a pleasure to do business with. It provides fast and accurate service. The firm went out of its way to be helpful on a number of key issues. I highly recommend them. I was extremely lucky for several reasons to have called the Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. when I was ready to sell my gold and silver coins. When I called the firm, Liam on the service desk explained that they scan hundreds of gold dealers to get me the best price. That was very comforting.When I spoke with coin dealer David White, he was able to give me a quote in 3.5 hours. He also explained the importance of shipping my coins via registered mail with the Post Office. David said that the Post Office requires a registered box to be sealed with brown paper tape to prevent tampering. David emailed me links to sites that showed the right tape to use and how to seal the box. He called several UPS stores in my neighborhood to try to find the tape for me. In the end, I bought the tape from the Post Office. David explained that while Fedex and UPS would ship the coins, since they are not allowed to ship gold or silver, I would have no recourse if my coins were lost. David even gave me his home number so I could reach him after hours if necessary.My experience with Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. stands in stark contrast with how two other coin brokers responded. The firm from which I had bought most of my silver coins never called me back. On November 13 when I called the broker from whom I had bought most of my gold coins, I couldn't get through on the phone. So, I emailed them and it took 5 days for them to respond! The broker didn't give me a quote until December 2 -- and then only for some of the coins! He said he would tell me what they would pay for the other coins after I shipped them!In addition, that broker explained that one of their customers had lost all their coins valued at $22,000 because the box was tampered with and they had failed to insure them for the full amount. However, I knew by then that if the firm had told the customer to ship the coins via registered mail as Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. does, the box could not have been tampered with.So, Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. is the only gold and silver dealer I recommend. The level of service is truly remarkable.Jovita GarcesJovita Garces ★★★★★ What do you do with what little you have to put away for the future? After my divorce 16 years ago, I decided I needed to find an IRA and invest my children's money into something that would retain and grow in value through the years. I found a great website called Certified Gold Exchange that intrigued me and when I called, John listened and understood my needs and helped me understand the value of investing in rare coins and precious metals before taking that all important step. I am happy I took a leap of faith knowing the prospect for growth in my precious metals IRA and children's funds for college and maybe first home some day was very real. I believe I made the best choice for our future. I can always trust CGE to give me honest and dependable service everytime I call in them.Maria SMaria S ★★★★★ Patrick Collins and Certified Gold Exchange (CGE) Team: I appreciate the support, you took me on for this transaction when I wasn’t even an existing client. (Yes I know CGE made some money). It was you manner, caring and fast response that made me feel very comfortable with you.Your interest in helping me on such short notice shows how much you care for your clients. I hope 🤞 to have you as one of my financial team in the future.Natalia ArizaNatalia Ariza ★★★★★ Certified Gold Exchange is the best metals company in the US hands down!Paul LiftonPaul Lifton ★★★★★ Piper PetersonPiper Peterson ★★★★★ It's not always the case with precious metals dealers but the Certified Gold Exchange hires the best advisors in the industry and this is the reason for their outstanding reputation.Eric BenjaminEric Benjamin ★★★★★ We have purchased from several dealers and hands down these guys have been the best. Above and beyond are the words I would use to describe their service. You will not be disappointed if you have been on the fence about buying!Josh SingerJosh Singer ★★★★★ Working with Certified Gold Exchange has been a great experience. The Certified Gold Exchange staff are very very good communicators and clearly have a lot of experience. Anytime we had a question or needed anything from them they responded the same day, if not the following morning. I would recommend working Certified Gold Exchange. Hands down great communicators and great business people.Burt DumertonBurt Dumerton ★★★★★ I have been working with Certified Gold Exchange Inc. since 2005 and have found them to give exceptional service and prices for precious metals. They have always treated me with great respect and given extraordinary personal attention to my account and to me personally. Their advice on many occasions have kept me from making some pretty serious errors in my investment decisions. They are prompt to return my calls and take special care to not be pushy or arrogant. Excellent to do business with. Give John a call.js_loader
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10 Gold IRA Scams Dealers Use On You

10 Gold IRA Scams
Dealers Use On You

Secure your retirement! Avoid these 10 Gold IRA scams.

Secure your retirement!
Avoid these 10 Gold IRA scams.

    We Do Not Allow Visitors to Our Call Centers. 
    The Certified Gold Exchange is a national volume discount dealer supplying popular bullion and PCGS certified coins. Since 2020 most of our representatives work remotely. We no longer allow visitors to our Fort Worth Call Center but you can still get the same great service by calling.
    Our institutional staff does take visits from bank, and corporate clients. 
    To learn more about this policy please call 800-300-0715

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    10 Gold IRA Scams
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    Secure your retirement! Avoid these 10 Gold IRA scams.

    Secure your retirement!
    Avoid these 10 Gold IRA scams.

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