US Coins

Market Analysis: Plus-graded Morgan dollars popular with collectors

Collectors love plus-graded coins as seen in this 1881-S Morgan dollar graded MS-68+ by NGC with a green CAC sticker that realized $6,300 at Heritage in April.

All images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

It has been a decade since the Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp. together announced new “plus” grades at the American Numismatic Association National Money Show in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 25, 2010.

At the time PCGS Co-Founder David Hall explained, “The term ‘plus’ has been part of the everyday trading and grading lingo for years. The high end for any particular grade represents the top 30 percent of the scale within a grade and I estimate that the plus designation would apply to approximately 15 percent to 20 percent of the coins within any individual grade.”

NGC Chairman Mark Salzberg said it recognized that there is a variation within grades. “By providing this information on the label in the plus format, it is communicated in a simple and direct way that allows these distinctions to be readily understood,” he said.

Collectors love both a “plus” and a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, as both indicate premium quality for the grade, and it makes a difference on both rare dates and more common ones. This 1881-S Morgan dollar graded NGC MS-68+ with a green CAC sticker sold for $6,300 earlier this year. Although the issue is legendary for surviving in high grades and being well-produced, just one is finer at NGC.

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