US Coins

CAC Grading Service planned for start in 2023

John Albanese is spearheading the creation of a new third-party grading service building on the 15-year success of Certified Acceptance Corporation.

Image of Albanese courtesy of CAC; coin image by Stack's Bowers Galleries.

A growing call for improvement in third-party grading of U.S. coins is being addressed with the formation of CAC Grading Service, which will begin operation in the first quarter of 2023.

The new company will form from the existing Certified Acceptance Corp., which has been certifying third-party quality grading and authenticity since 2007.

“When I started CAC in 2007, starting another grading company was the last thing on my mind,” said John Albanese. “Over time, we’ve gotten a mandate from the collectors and dealers. We’ve seen many of the higher priced coins submitted to us, but for some who wanted the CAC service, it became impractical for them to pay two grading fees and essentially four shipping fees for some of the coins... where there wasn’t a niche for CAC services. This will allow a one-stop option for those coins.”

According to Albanese, CAC Grading Service is composed of over 125 strategic partners who are professionals in numismatics as well as influential collectors, which represents a business model that differs from the two largest firms that are owned by private equity companies. “This is going to be a true team effort,” Albanese said, “Everyone is going to be contributing.”

The service will initially be offered to existing CAC members, who will be contacted by letter. The 3,000 members will be informed of the initial services and plans for upcoming services.

“We’ll be rolling out a world class registry set program,” said Albanese. “There will be global sets that include coins from all graders, but we will also have our own CAC registry sets exclusively for CAC coins.”

Albanese said the company is assembling what he termed the best team of graders possible, driven by strong grading sets that can help the public develop a better understanding of a coin’s grade and achieve customer satisfaction in the outcome. The company will publish its standards, though there are certain coins where only photos are available in some of the higher Mint State grades, make grading tougher.  “Every major show will feature multiple CAC grading sets on display,” Albanese said, a practice he encouraged for others.

The initial focus will be U.S. coins. “Without experts in the field, you’re not offering the quality you need for the service. Our partners love the U.S. coins and we’ll have enough to tackle with that right now.” There are currently no immediate plans to include paper money or to offer conservation services, as some competitors do.

CAC Grading Service will be based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, but the current New Jersey-based office will remain open and provide services even after the start of the new company. “I have a 10-year contract to spend one week a month in Virginia Beach and I’ll be here [in New Jersey] for tiebreakers. We’ll have customer service in both locations. We have a great product currently with great people and this will make that even better.”

Creation of the CAC Grading Service is not expected to diminish the value of coins already graded by other grading services and bearing the CAC stickers, he said. “These coins are welcome in our registry set as they are,” said Albanese, “so the owners don’t need to do anything differently. We’re going to let the market react to the news. Many of the coins we’ve seen are among the more expensive coins. It’s the coin that earned the sticker. You buy the coin and not the holder. We will be phasing out the stickers over time.”

For now, the service will utilize the existing logo and the current website (

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