Collectors who want to have someone professionally grade their coins
have several options, but the two most popular grading firms are the
Grading Service (PCGS) and the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).
Both firms rate coins from Poor to Mint State. Number grades,
paired with an abbreviation of their general condition, fall between
PR-1 (identifiable only by date and type) and MS-70 (appears as
Firms base their grades on factors that include
wear and damage, improper cleaning and the artificial coloring that
can result, and clarity of features including the mint mark, date and
To have PCGS or NGC grade a coin, a collector
can either send coins to one of the firms directly as a paid member of
its respective collector group, or have a PCGS- or NGC-authorized
dealer submit the coin on the collector’s behalf.
the grading process is complete, the grading firms will send a
collector's coins back in clear plastic display cases that feature the
grade of the coin inside and the firm’s branding. These cases are
often referred to as “slabs."
This post is one in a Coin World series briefly explaining the
basics of numismatics.
Check out other posts in the series: