Paper Money

PCGS getting back into grading U.S. paper money with PCGS Banknote

(Editor's note: news story updated 11/11 at 2:28 Eastern Time)

Professional Coin Grading Service is returning to the field of grading United States paper money with the scheduled January launch of PCGS Banknote.

Complete details on the new grading service under the PCGS umbrella will be provided online on the PCGS website Nov. 19.

PCGS Currency was opened in 2005 by Collectors Universe, owner of PCGS, with Jason W. Bradford named director. Later, Collectors Universe licensed the business name PCGS Currency for the grading of U.S. paper money to Bradford under a 10-year agreement that expired Jan. 30, 2019. Until the license ran out, PCGS Currency was operated by Bradford through his firm, K3B Inc.

That licensing agreement was not renewed, and Bradford announced Feb. 20, 2019, that he was launching Legacy Currency Grading for the certification of U.S. paper money.

PCGS President Brett Charville told Coin World Nov. 8 that, since termination of that PCGS Currency licensing contract, PCGS has been working to form a new entity for grading U.S. paper money.

For the past four years, U.S. and world paper money has been certified by PCGS under the PCGS Gold Shield Grading brand, in the firm’s Paris, Shanghai, and Hong Kong offices.

Bruce Thornton, former Paper Money Guarantee grader, has recently joined the PCGS team as its new director of bank note grading and is currently directing paper money grading overseas while living in Asia. It is planned for Thornton to return to the United States to direct the new paper money grading operations from PCGS headquarters in California.

With the establishment of PCGS Banknote, grading of both U.S. and world paper money will be handled under the PCGS Banknote name, according to Charville.

“Having graded paper money successfully in our international offices over the last four years, we knew that bringing the service back domestically was a high priority once we were able to do so,” Charville said.

Charville said Thornton will direct a team of paper money specialists including some from the former PCGS Currency.

“We’ve spent this year building a strong team and network of world-class banknote experts and readying our existing operations,” Charville said. “With PCGS Banknote, collectors can come to expect what they’ve received over the last 33 years of PCGS: a consistently graded product, leading-edge technology and content, and the world’s only collectible guarantee program backed by a publicly traded company.”

Among the services PCGS Banknote customers can expect  are not only new submission opportunities, but crossover services from PCGS Currency and other third-party grading service holders.

“An important component of PCGS Banknotes is its integration within PCGS’s existing operations and platforms,” according to Charville. “Collectors will be able to speak to the same customer service team that may also handle their coin or sports card submissions. Our PCGS Collectors Club submission vouchers will extend to both coins and banknotes.”

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