Michael Bugeja

Online Coin Auctions

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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Let Holdering Companies Know Certification Issues

​In an online auction on Proxibid, this rare coin was being offered, an 1875-CC $10 Liberty Gold Eagle, with a slim mintage of 7,715 pieces, making the coin desirable, even in low mint state. In fact, this coin is ultra rare in higher grades. For instance, this PCGS example at XF40 sold for more than $7050 in a Heritage Auction. 

As a rule, I never look at price guides but utilize NGC and PCGS certification websites to make sure the coin is authentic. The sites also provide the latest auction prices.

More than once I have checked certs only to find that a counterfeit was being offered in an estate auction because the holdering company photo differed from the auction one on the web. Here's an example

As you can see from the photo above, the NGC database grade for the 1875-CC was deleted for some reason, and that had me worried. First off, the 1875-CC Gold Eagle is often counterfeited. The strike is typically soft, as this was; but at VG10, it was difficult to spot any characteristics to help me verify its authenticity. 

I have found NGC to be particularly resourceful and helpful when issues arise in its online database.

"We work really hard on maintaining the integrity of our certification database," says Scott Schechter, vice president. "We encourage collectors to verify certifications and notify us of anomalies. In cases where problems have been identified, such as counterfeits, a note to contact customer service will appear in lieu of grade when said coin is verified. That is a red flag."

That wasn't the case with this coin. " Errant deletions and other data error can occur for a variety of reasons," Schechter stated. He consulted his database records, as every change is recorded, and was able to restore the certification

"Checking certifications is good advice," he added. "We will always review a coin free of charge in our holder when a data error appears."

On the bottom of every NGC coin certification, this notice appears: "If the information displayed above is incorrect or does not match the coin you are verifying, or if you believe that you have a counterfeit or tampered NGC holder, please contact ConsumerAwareness@ngccoin.com."

This service is essential as is checking certifications of any lot online that you wish to bid on or purchase.

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