Michael Bugeja

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Michael Bugeja

Michael Bugeja, a coin collector since childhood, is a professor at Iowa State University and also a former member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. He is a nationally known author, journalist and educator.

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Finding Crossover Candidates

As the photo above shows, I won a PCI-holdered 1888-O Morgan dollar for $80 (with buyer's premium, $93.60) in a SilverTowne auction on Proxibid. The PCI grade was MS66, but this looked more like a gem MS65.

Today I received the coin back in the PCGS holder. It graded MS65. Its value? $625.

That's a tidy profit.

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Don't make the mistake, as many sellers on Proxibid and eBay do, believing that the older PCI-slabbed coins are close to first-tier grades as might be found in PCGS, NGC, ANACS or ICG. (We're not addressing the so-called new PCI but ones with green or yellow labels.)

PCI was woefully inconsistent. Many of the coins marked MS66 are really MS64. But on occasion, you can find a PCI-holdered coin that might miss the mark by a point, as I did with the 1888-O. Some even can cross over at the same grade.

PCGS and NGC have earned their reputation by being consistent, and if you study how those companies grade coins so that you can identify likely crossover candidates, you can build a great collection at a wholesale price.

As always, however, my ability to do this took time. Over several years, I have been able to cherrypick premium quality coins in lesser holders and submit them as crossovers to PCGS. (NGC only considers crossovers from PCGS and no longer will look at coins in other holders, including ANACS and ICG.)

The lesson here not only involves winning bids but the ability to grade. I recommend the third edition of Making the Grade: Comprehensive Grading Guide for US Coins.

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