Even those that possess great experience collecting rare and difficult to find coins understand the importance of knowing the worth of their coin collection. They also realize arriving at an accurate assessment of the value requires an appraiser with solid experience and knowledge. To ensure such accuracy is arrived at, collectors will take their acquisitions to reliable coin grading services.
Two of the most oft repeated names in the coin grading service industry are the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). Both of these services are considered the most superior in the business and this makes their services strong in demand. Of course, this also makes their fees high and their availability limited. As such, one must look for alternate services that deliver solid results.
Of course, it is not always easy to find a reliable service. One should weigh several criteria before selecting an actual service. The following is a brief look at the main criteria one should apply:
Knowing a general idea as to how many coins have been graded in the past will certainly be helpful in regards to selecting the right service. Some may be curious as to what the quantity of coins graded in the past has to do with the viability of the service. Is not quality more important than quantity? Honestly, you cannot have one without the other when it comes to coin grading services. A company that has graded a significant amount of coins is surely one that offers quality assessments. Repeat customers will not provide return business when the grading service has been inaccurate. So, those services which have grades scores of coins over the years will usually be a solid venue to take one's coin collection.
It is also necessary to learn whether or not the value suggested by the service matches what the coins that have traveled through the service have received at auction. When the auction commences, the opening bid should be reasonably close to the grading value the coin received. If the accuracy of the grading service is not accurate, the eventual coin auction could prove problematic to say the least. Really, if the service is not presenting accurate value estimations, then the service will be of little value. Conversely, those coin grading services known for their accuracy remain among the very best to take your business.
Those coin grading services that offer quick turnaround time are also those that deserve collector patronage. There really is no reason a collector should wait excessive amounts of time for their grading results to come in. No, this does not mean the service should rush the work at the expense of quality. That is certainly not advisable. However, no one should wait longer than what is needed to receive accurate coin grading. Remember, timeliness is always an attribute that is beneficial.
The availability of a sliding price scale presenting fair fees to collectors is another common sign of a reliable service. While both professionals and hobbyists collect coins, their motivations are different. That means they both might require different grading processes. (Hobbyists can appreciate generalizations but professional auctioneers will need detailed accuracy.) As such, offering different prices based for providing different grading processes is certainly helpful. It certainly does help in presenting coin grading accessibility for all. So, consider the availability of a sliding scale of coin grading fees to be another sign of an excellent service.