The Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) was formed in 1986 to establish a consistent gold coin grading standard. Responsible for a number of advancements in the industry, including the tamper-evident high security capsule, PCGS has graded over 18 million coins with a total declared value of more than $18 billion. PCGS gold coins are highly regarded specifically for a number of those advancements, knowing they offer a cash-back grading guarantee, a safe method of long-term protection, and a global market that facilitates ease of trading.
Having such a highly-regarded company acting as an advocate in the market is another definite advantage. The case, or strong plastic housing, is virtually tamper-proof and an excellent way to protect your gold coins. The fact that these coins are also graded adds value to the intrinsic worth of the gold content itself. In other words, by grading your coin it is very likely to increase in value. All genuine PCGS coins will have a graded label; knowing what each section of the PCGS gold coin label means will help you with the valuation of your coins when you sell, and it will also keep you from being uninformed and/or taken advantage of when executing trades.
Coin Information Section:
The coin label is usually place on the top portion of the PCGS coin holder, although this is not always the case. However, there should be two entries on the upper most line. This includes the date of the coin together with any mint mark, in the upper left hand corner. For example, a 1908-D (minted in Denver) gold coin. The upper right side of the PCGS coin label will have the denomination of the coin itself, which could be anything from 1C (in the case of a 1 cent piece), to $20 or higher gold coins.
The middle section of the PCGS coin label is probably the one most people are interested in discussing. This will usually have the PCGS initials along with the grade or ranking of the gold coin. In modern coin grading, the service uses a ten point scale to determine the current grade. MS stands for mint state, and most graded coins will rate somewhere between an MS60 to an MS70. Anything of lower quality is typically not graded, since it would be in a circulated condition (or state). All MS rated coins are in an uncirculated condition.
The grade, or condition your coin is determined to be is very important in terms of its final value. Sometimes, there can be huge differences in value between even a single step (value could change hundreds or even thousands of dollars if the grade goes from an MS67 to an MS68).
It is important to note that not all coins will have the “MS” classification. Some coins, such as Proof coins (PR), receive other designations. A full list of coin type designations can be found at http://www.PCGS.com.
Certification Numbers & Marks:
Below the actual grade, you will find a series of two numbers, generally in a format like this:
The first of these numbers, the 1234.56 in this case, represents the PCGS number. This is similar to a category grouping and is very important for finding information about your specific coin and other similar coins which have been graded by the company. For example, armed with this number, you can pull up
something known as a population report, which will show how many of that specific coin (year and mint mark) have been graded and are entered into the PCGS system.
The second number, the 78901234, is the PCGS certification number. This allows PCGS to identify your specific coin within the database of all coins graded by the company. Incidentally, this is also a safeguard, since if you were thinking of buying a PCGS certified gold coin, you can simply look it up in their database and have all the information you need right at your fingertips. Of course, all of this information is encoded directly into the UPC-like bar below the category and certification number, for easy identification by the PCGS system.
PCGS labels have really spurred the growth of the gold coin market in a number of ways. Even simply having a durable carrying case for a coin helps, and PCGS “slabs” offer so much more. Also, the PCGS gold coin tracking database is a great way to deter counterfeiters. The company itself has also become the recognized leader in gold coin certification, setting the standards for the entire industry for over almost 30 years.
If you would like help deciphering the meaning of your specific PCGS gold coin labels, or to trade PCGS gold coins directly through the Certified Gold Exchange, call (800) 300-0715 today and ask for the Certified Gold Coin Desk, and don’t forget to ask for your free copy of The 2015 Insider’s Guide to PCGS Gold Coins.