Paper Money

‘PCGS Currency’ contract expires, new entity opens

Legacy Currency Grading, a newly named third-party certification service for grading and holdering paper money, with Jason W. Bradford at the helm, offers a grading team expanded from the former PCGS Currency team.

Images courtesy of Legacy Currency Grading.

With PCGS Currency abruptly ceasing operations in January and its former president forming a new entity, Legacy Currency Grading, collectors and dealers who had submitted notes to the firm have been in limbo, awaiting word on the status of their unfulfilled submissions.

Coin World has received inquiries from readers, including one who had sent paper money to PCGS Currency while it was operational, wanting to know the status of the new firm. One individual told Coin World that he’d had difficulty obtaining an update about the status of his submitted notes.

counterfeit 1913-S Indian head, Bison on Plains 5-cent coinInside Coin World: Mint mark key to identifying counterfeit: A fake 1913-S Buffalo nickel, foreign coins pulled from Roosevelt dime rolls and 1873 Seated Liberty half dollars are column topics in the March 11, 2019, issue of Coin World.

PCGS Currency is one of several U.S. firms grading paper money, another being Paper Money Guaranty, a Certified Collectibles Group company. When PCGS Currency was opened in 2005 by Collectors Universe, owner of Professional Coin Grading Service, Jason W. Bradford was named director.

In February 2009, Collectors Universe sold PCGS Currency to Bradford with a 10-year license to use the trademark and brand “PCGS Currency.” Until the license ran out, the firm was operated by Bradford through his firm, K3B Inc.

In January, Bradford posted a message at stating that the 10-year license had not been renewed and would end on Jan. 30. He wrote that he would be forming a new company, promising more information later.

Bradford announced Feb. 20 that the newly formed grading service for paper money would be called Legacy Currency Grading, and that it will be operated in Peoria, Illinois, with the same grading team previously employed by PCGS Currency. Bradford said additional personnel have also joined the new entity, to assist in reducing turnaround times for certification.

PCGS statement

With the reversion of the brand to Collectors Universe, that firm is now considering options that could resurrect PCGS Currency under Collectors Universe. However, Brett Charville, president of Professional Coin Grading Service, posted the following message Feb. 8 on the Collectors Universe message boards:

“Hello all, on January 30th the licensing agreement between Collectors Universe and K3b Inc. which allowed K3b Inc. to operate using the trademark and brand ‘PCGS Currency’ expired.” 

Further, “At the present time no banknotes are being holdered using the ‘PCGS Currency’ brand. In the coming months we will explore options to resume grading paper money domestically in our Southern California offices. PCGS will continue to grade and holder banknotes in our international offices under the PCGS Gold Shield brand.”

Charville added, “If you have any inquiries about outstanding orders with K3b Inc. in Peoria Il, they can be reached at 309-222-8200. Please note that any claim that anyone will holder your notes in PCGS Currency holders is false.”

The transition

In the Feb. 20 news release Bradford explained the new firm’s plans and policies, including what will be done with the notes already submitted to PCGS Currency.

Existing grading submissions that were previously submitted to K3B Inc. under the PCGS Currency license now will be graded by Legacy Currency Grading, unless submitters direct otherwise, Bradford wrote.

“We will be contacting all clients in the immediate future regarding the details of their submissions and the estimated time frame for completion,” Bradford wrote. “However, if any client prefers that their notes be returned ungraded and their fees refunded, we will, of course, honor that request. In addition, all current memberships from the old service will be honored and extended in the new Legacy Membership program.”

Bradford says that, to make the transition as smooth as possible for all collectors and dealers, Legacy Currency Grading will offer a discounted “crossover” service for all notes graded under the previous brand name.

Legacy Currency Grading will be using a new holder design featuring a fully sealed holder, with a grading insert inside tamper-proof Mylar plastic, Bradford says.

“The guarantee for all Legacy graded notes will be as strong as ever, with all notes guaranteed for grade and authenticity by our lifetime grading warranty.” 

Further, “In addition, to ensure the continuity and stabilization of the market, Legacy Currency Grading will continue to honor the same grading guarantee for all notes that K3B, Inc. certified from February 4, 2009 until January 30, 2019, under the license for the PCGS Currency brand name from Collectors Universe, Inc. The Legacy Currency Grading population report will also include all notes graded under that same license,” he said. 

Bradford, who says he has personally examined, authenticated and graded more than a million bank notes since 2005, will lead Legacy Currency Grading as president and CEO. 

“It is extremely important for me to focus my energies primarily on grading and training our other graders,” Bradford said. “The day-to-day operations of the company and customer service will be overseen by our management team, which will free me and the other graders to focus on doing what we do best — grading banknotes.

“We are optimistic and excited about the future of the currency collecting hobby and the marketplace. Legacy Currency Grading will provide the best and most efficient customer service, and the most accurate and consistent grading process possible,” he said.

According to Bradford, information regarding submitting notes for grading and authentication to Legacy Currency Grading will be made available later, at, or at the Legacy office, accessible by telephone at 309-222-8200 or by email at

Competitor firm’s offer

Meanwhile, Paper Money Guaranty, a Certified Collectibles Group company and sister firm to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, is promoting a crossover service for owners of PCGS Currency-certified notes concerned about guarantees.

According to a Feb. 20 press release from the firm, “PMG will remove the notes from their PCGS Currency holders only if PMG believes that the notes will meet or exceed PMG’s standards for the grades assigned by PCGS Currency. If PMG does not believe that the notes will meet PMG’s standards, the notes will be returned in their PCGS Currency holders and the grading fees will be refunded less a $10 processing charge per note.” 

The firm can be reached at for details about cost and company policies for that competing crossover service. 

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