How Does NGC Certify Gold Coins?
The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) takes great pride in maintaining the integrity of its coin certification process from the moment raw coins enter the depository until newly certified coins are shipped out to their respective owners. The process is much more complicated than most people think, and to help investors feel at ease about purchasing NGC coins we have decided to explain the entire process step-by-step. Investors who have questions about NGC coins that are not answered in this article are encouraged to send us an email or call us toll-free at 1-800-300-0715.
The coin certification process begins at NGC’s Receiving Department; each morning staffers open all newly arrived packages and immediately verify that the respective submission invoices and coins match. NGC employees cross-check incoming coins against the invoices by date, denomination, mint mark and other identifying information. All coins will remain under constant video surveillance from this point forward.
Coins immediately receive a bar code and remain in a storage vault until they can be assessed by the Grading Department. NGC uses third-party publications to verify each coin’s authenticity, type and variety. One important fact that NGC notes on its web site is that all coins are examined by individuals who do not know the identity of the coins’ owners; this preserves the integrity of the grading process.
NGC uses the standard Sheldon coin grading scale, which rates coins on a scale of 0-70. NGC defines a 70-grade coin as one that has absolutely “no post-production imperfections at 5x magnification”. A minimum of two professional numismatists examine each coin, and the numismatists that NGC keeps on retainer are prohibited from engaging in the commercial buying and selling of certified coins.
The NGC numismatists must determine if a coin is eligible for certification. Coins that suffer from excessive surface damage, coins that have been altered and coins that have been made subject to residue may not be eligible for certification and/or encapsulation.
Once grading is complete and the pertinent data has been saved, the Encapsulation Department takes delivery of eligible coins. The Encapsulation Department is responsible for printing each coin’s label, which bears the following:
• coin date
• mint-mark (if any)
• variety (if any)
• special designation (if any)
• identification number
The identification number is of the utmost importance; this number is what makes each certified coin label unique. NGC’s innovative use of ID numbers is an excellent deterrent to certified coin counterfeiters. All of the information listed above is saved on a scannable bar code that the Encapsulation Department places on each coin’s label.
The next step is to place each coin inside a plastic core piece that secures individual coins. This core piece, as well as all other parts of the coin holder, is comprised of inert material that cannot affect the encapsulated coin’s condition.
Once a certified coin is placed within its core, compressed air jets blow the coin and plastic holder free of dust and other contaminates. A plastic “slab” is then placed on both sides of the coin and vacuum-sealed using “a combination of compression and ultrasonic vibration”.
Newly-certified coins are then returned to the Grading Department for a final inspection of each coin and its respective holder. A numismatist reviews each coin’s identifying information one last time before the Shipping Department comes back into play.
Coins received by the Shipping Department from the Grading Department are counted and cross-checked once again to make sure there are no missing, extra or mislabeled coins. An NGC employee then verifies the shipping method requested by each coin’s owner before preparing the coins for delivery.
Clients have the option of using USPS or private carriers such as FedEx, but NGC’s packaging method is the same in either case. Encapsulated coins are placed vertically inside reinforced cardboard boxes. Each box contains dividers to prevent plastic holders from touching one another. A copy of the client’s invoice is sealed inside the box for the client’s protection, and heavy-duty, wire-laced, tamper-proof tape is used to seal the box closed. Each package is sufficiently insured and registered, and tracking numbers are sent to each box’s respective owner.
NGC is one of the world’s top coin certification organizations and has encapsulated billions of dollars in coins over the last 25 years. You can learn more about NGC coin grading at www.NGCCoin.com or call Certified Gold Exchange directly at 1-800-300-0715 for discounted pricing on pre-certified NGC coins.