Have you ever wondered why some people say PCGS is better than NGC and so on.  One of the main reasons, is that PCGS tends to grade harder on coins is to keep  their numbers low on the population reports.  This gives the illusion that they are a better grading company because there are fewer coins graded at the higher levels.

This pattern is usually noticed in coins graded MS65 and above.  Why is this?  Well numbers wise, PCGS has 6-8% less graded coins in MS65 or above than NGC across the boards.  This gives the look of rairty to collectors.  Although there are many exceptions on an individual coin basis, the bottom line is what seems to matter to collectors.  It means that in buying a PCGS coin the quality is going to be higher because they are more strict in their grading specifications.

This is not always true.  Over a 4 month period I sent 10 of the same raw coins to the top 4 grading companies.  I varied the sending of the coins to these grading companies, but all 4 got to grade all 10.  PCGS coins came back : 4- MS65, 3-MS66 & 2-MS67.  ANACS coins came back 6-MS66 & 4 MS68.  NGC coins came back 1-MS66, 4-MS67 & 5-MS68.  IGC coins came back 8-MS67 & 2-MS68.

A lot of collectors are unsure about IGC, but let me say this, I have sent many coins thru them lately and they have been very consistent.  Also a lot of collectors complain that PCGS grades lower just to keep this elite image,and at the same time keep the value of the coins high for dealer premiums.  By not matching higher grades consistently, they keep the population of the higher graded coins lower, in turn keeping them rare.  In researching each company I found this:


One of the top four grading companies.  Once owned by the ANA and the first third party service to authentic and grade coins.  In the early 1970’s the ANA Board of Governors recognized that something significant needed to be done about the counterfeit and altered coins that were plaguing the coin community.  Their solution was ANACS, the American Numismatic Association Certification Service.  ANACS began with a staff of two experts with Washington, D.C. as it’s home.

Washington was chosen in order to utilize the Smithsonian’s Numismatic Collection and to be near the Treasury Department, specifically the Secret Service.   ANACS certified its first coin as genuine on June 15, 1972.  In 1976, ANACS was moved to Colorado Springs where ANA had its headquarters.  Three years later, ANACS began grading coins using the technical grading standards that the ANA had established earlier with its book, “The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United States Coins”.

Holders are nice

Not as consistent with grading

Grades/slabs problem coins (net graded)

Attributes errors and varieties

Submission prices are reasonable

Submission are thru Authorized Dealers or Direct

Free Membership and access to Population Report


One of the top four grading companies and the one most accepted for “sight unseen” trading.  PCGS is part of Collectors Universe, who’s primary owners/CEO’s are among the nations largest coin dealers.  In their “About Us” page they claim to have started the first third party grading system.  This is NOT TRUE because ANACS certified it’s first coin on June 15, 1972.  13 years earlier.

Nice Holders

Grading is pretty accurate

Does not grade problem coins

Attributes errors a varieties

Highest priced for submissions, especially on errors

Customer service is OK

Submissions are thru Authorized Dealers or Collectors Club Members

Collectors Club Membership starts a $49.95 per year


One of the top four grading companies.  Some of the owners are also major dealers.

Nice holders

Grading is not always consistent

Submission prices reasonable

Does not grade problem coins

Attributes errors and varieties

Submissions are thru Authorized Dealers, Collector Club Members or ANA Members

Collectors Club Membership – $99.00 per year


One of the top four grading companies.  Owners/graders do not buy, sell or trade in coins.  ICG owners and employees are not allowed to buy or sell coins.  If caught they lose their jobs and any stock the hold in the company!  Most importantly, ICG offers expert, consistent grading by some of the most respected names in the business.  ICG also has the INTERCEPT insert ring, the only company with this product.  They tend to be tough on gold and easier on modern proofs.

Great holders

Grading is accurate and consistent

Does not grade problem coins

Attributes errors and varieties

Certifies and grades Ancient coins

Customer service is fast and friendly

Unbiased grading.  No possibility of bias because all coins are submitted to ICG through a third party receiving company.  This guarantees no conflict of interest – ever!

Submissions are through Authorized Dealers or the Collectors Club Alliance.

Collectors Club Membership Fee is $15.00 which is credited towards your first order, plus 5 free coin grades when you submit 5 other coins at ICG regular 15 day service.


3 Comments to “PCGS vs NGC vs ANACS vs IGC”

  1. Tremendous things here. I am very satisfied to
    see your post. Thanks so much and I am looking forward to
    touch you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  2. I have about 160 morgans , 90 % are Mint State, I have coins from vf to ms68 and I know what higher mint state coins look like. Pcgs sends back some of my coins with really low grades, I even have some that were previously in pcgs holders with higher grades. I pay a lot of money for fair grading, I hate to know that the grades are being contrived so they can keep the population the way they want it. If this is happening it’s just not ethical and not fair to the consumer. I have so many coins from them where they stop at a lower grade, I have so many coins where they would grade a coin at ms64,price 100 bucks, if it was a ms 65 it would have been 1000, they do this a lot. I may have to sever ties with them. Regards Kelly C.

  3. The best slabbed coins I have seen have been from NGC and ICG, The Majority of the coins are gems, I see some really bad looking coins from PCGS with ms 66’s and 67’s that have heavy scratches and dull, I think how did they get those results?

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