Recently, we ran a bit of an “experiment” to compare the grading of NGC and PCGS on a few US Dollars (or maybe we didn’t agree with one company’s grades, but let’s keep calling it an experiment instead). All coins were sent in raw (not using either of their “crossover” services), and were sent in recently (within the last few months). Let’s take a look at how the grades compare. First up, we have an 1877 US Trade Dollar.
1877 US Trade Dollar
Both Third Party Graders mentioned the coin being cleaned in some way (PCGS says “surfaces smoothed”, while NGC uses the term “whizzed”), but NGC graded the details slightly higher at Almost Uncirculated compared to the PCGS grade of Extremely Fine detail. Also, PCGS determined this Trade Dollar to be Proof.
1872 Seated Liberty Dollar
For the 1872 Seated Liberty Dollar, both Third Party Graders determined the coin to be Extremely Fine. However, NGC labeled the coin as “cleaned”, while PCGS gave it a grade of XF 40.
1801 Draped Bust Dollar
Lastly, let’s compare the 1801 Draped Bust Dollar. Both NGC and PCGS graded this dollar in the same range (Very Fine, in this case), but again NGC labeled it as “cleaned” while PCGS simply gave it a numerical grade of VF 20.
There’s a few things to take away from this:
PCGS is not always the tougher grader.
The same coin may grade differently based on many different factors, included who graded, when they graded it, what they had for lunch, etc.
And Finally, Always look at the coin, not just the label!