For people looking to get coins professionally graded, two names come up most often PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) and NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation). Which company is better: PCGS vs NGC?
Both companies are in the business of grading and “slabbing” coins. A slabbed coin is one that has been put into a special holder or case with a grade and label. This case is also called a slab.
The benefit of getting a coin graded is that it is protected from damage, certified authentic, and more valuable for re-selling.
Before submitting a coin, you should have a rough estimate of the price of your coin and the cost to get it graded.
Comparing the pricing levels is complicated without a specific coin in mind, so the price comparison table is a very broad overview as of January 2021 and does not include all pricing information.
To get a more accurate version of the pricing you should see PCGS’s Services & Fees and NGC’s Services & Fees.
|Service Level||Max Value PCGS||Max Value NGC||PCGS Price||NGC Price|
|Mint Errors||$10,000||Tier||$65||Tier + 15$|
I was surprised to see how similar these grading services were. In general, NGC is slightly cheaper. Those savings could add up if you are sending in multiple coins.
Both companies have yearly membership subscription services. It is hard to compare these services as both have coupons, yearly deals, informational packets, and bonus programs.
To keep things simple I will outline what discounts on grading these packages offer:
- Silver $49 – No grading vouchers.
- Gold $149 – 4 grading vouchers.
- Platinum $249 – 8 grading vouchers.
- Associate $25 – No credit or discounts.
- Premium $149 – A $150 credit with NGC.
- Elite $299 – A $150 credit + 10% off grading.
If all this is confusing you are not alone. The simplest option may be to go to your local coin shop and ask for their advice. Many shops also offer to send coins in to grading for customers, as they get a discount on bulk grading submissions.
PCGS is considered the more esteemed grading service overall. Coins graded by PCGS tend to have a higher resale value.
This does not mean that NGC is a bad grading company, it is still one of the top coin graders in the world and people will pay more for an NGC slabbed coin than a non-slabbed coin.
Anecdotally, I have heard many people in online forums say that PCGS has a stricter grading scale. This could account for why PCGS coins command a higher resale value.
This has not been proven, there have been instances where NGC has given the same coin a lower grade than PCGS and vice-versa.
It may help to do some research on the type of coin you are sending in and the company’s track record with those coins. Check eBay for similar graded coins if you are unsure where to start.
Grading can be very subjective depending on who is grading your coin. Coins have been resubmitted to the same company and come beck with grades a few points above or below what they have originally received, but this is rare. Most grading companies will stick to the original grade given.
Why Pick Just One?
You do not need to pick one company over the other and stick with it for the rest of your life. You could get your coins graded by both companies depending on the price.
The benefits of consistently picking one company are that you could sign up for their annual subscription pricing plans where they give you discounts on grading coins.
The other benefit of consistently grading with the same company is that all your slabbed coins will be in holders of the same size. A PCGS slabbed coin may not fit into a box designed to snugly hold NGC slabbed coins.
Overall, I would have to pick PCGS as the better grading company. The company has slightly more credibility to coin collectors and the prices hold up well for re-selling.
If your goal is to get a coin slabbed cheaply, there is nothing wrong with picking NGC. They are also a great company.
It is worthwhile to do research on the coin you are grading and the company’s track record with that denomination.
Where do you get your coins graded? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and vote in our poll.