The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 31, August 2, 2009, Article 14

PCGS LAUNCHES NEW VERSION OF COINFACTS.COM

A new version of the old reliable CoinFacts.com web site was announced this week. Here are excerpts from the press release. -Editor
CoinFacts President Ron Guth explained the PCGS CoinFacts extraordinary content, "CoinFacts now offers the most extensive repository of information about United States coins anywhere on the Internet. It’s a multi-functional combination of numismatic encyclopedia, historical price guide and reference resources," said Ron Guth, President of CoinFacts, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc.

Along with dedicated pages for nearly 30,000 U.S. coins, CoinFacts members will have access to the PCGS Population Report, auction prices realized and an expanded price guide – three unique and indispensable tools for determining coin values – free with their membership. In addition to providing basic listings and mintage figures about coin types, users will find an expanded price guide for all coins in all grades; prices realized from all major auctions; survival and rarity estimates for all coins; a condition census for all coins; and relative rarity comparisons for all coins. Coins covered by PCGS CoinFacts content include all regular issue, proof, and commemorative United States Mint coins, and all Colonials, Patterns, and Territorial issues.

"This site will be a tremendous help for the identification and valuation of coins as well as for finding historical information. It will be a tremendous tool for anyone who wants to buy or sell coins," Guth added.

Originally launched in 1999, CoinFacts has expanded for its tenth anniversary to instantly provide an unprecedented amount of online information about U.S. coins ranging from Colonial and Territorial issues to circulation strikes, proofs, patterns and commemoratives. Each coin has its own page that includes photos, detailed information and hyperlinks to other pertinent facts and references.

The updated site also includes digital photographs with enlargement and zoom functions for most U.S. coins, including significant rarities.

"It’s taken years of hard work to create these many enhancements, but the results are extraordinary. And while PCGS CoinFacts has more numismatic information than any other internet resource, it is a work in progress with new information being added daily. I am especially excited about the expert narratives which are starting to appear for many important coins. I believe this will be the first place many collectors, dealers and novices go when they’re looking for specific information or simply want to casually browse the world’s largest online library of numismatic knowledge," said Guth.

So far so good. But the news that will most affect CoinFacts visitors was in the last sentence of the press release. -Editor
Access to all features on the all-new PCGS CoinFacts website will be available by subscription for $9.95 per month.

Gulp! That's nearly $120 bucks a year for a site people have gotten used to accessing for free. But as a fellow internet publisher I know how much effort goes into building these resources, and the publishers deserve some compensation. Ad revenue can only go so far.

The "old" Coinfacts.com site is still available, but it carries a note reading "Warning! This page is no longer updated. Go to the NEW PCGS CoinFacts for updated information." The page also pops up an ad inviting visitors to sign up for the new site.

I'm grateful that the old site is still available. Like many folks I've found it (and the Heritage site) are great resource for coin images when I'm building presentations for young numismatists or illustrating an E-Sylum item (with proper attribution, of course...)

If the owners continue to make the unupdated site available, then those who want occasional free access still have somewhere to go. Like CoinArchives.com, the industry is attempting to transition to a model where a lot of basic information is still made available for free, but advanced features like updated pricing and market intelligence is a paid service.

As I've said before, the market will determine the ultimate price pricing levels, but $9.95 a month seems reasonable for the dealers who use this information in their daily business. Collectors and researchers may have a harder time justifying the cost.

CoinFacts Founder and President Ron Guth is a longtime E-Sylum reader and contributor, so I asked him for his take on the transition. -Editor


Ron Guth writes:
Thanks for your comments on the new PCGS CoinFacts website. The differences between the old and the new CoinFacts are significant. The new PCGS CoinFacts includes the PCGS Price Guide and the PCGS Population Report, both of which are updated frequently (anywhere from once a day to once a week). We include images of some of the best coins in the world, some of which have never been seen and some of which may never appear on the market.

We also include Survival Estimates for all U.S. coins in all grades, MS-60 and better, and MS-65 and better. These are converted into Rarity Ratings which are then used to give Relative Rarity Rankings by Type and Series. We list a Condition Census for all U.S. Coins, including raw and certified examples (this is a favorite project of mine because the results are often surprising and unexpected).

The Auction Prices Realized is a big feature...we aggregate information from the major (and some minor) auction houses and update it as often as monthly. We include commentaries from experts, including personal insights, anecdotes, and special knowledge...basically a brain dump from some of the biggest names in the business.

To view these features, I invite everyone to take the free tour that we offer on our homepage at www.PCGSCoinFacts.com, where we present information on the 1909-S VDB Cent, the 1893-S Morgan Dollar, and the 1875 $10.

However, the biggest difference is this... whereas the old CoinFacts sat idle for nearly five years, the new PCGS CoinFacts benefits from my full-time attention, the support of Collector Universe's phenomenal IT staff, plus the continuing input of many individuals and organizations who have been so generous with their time and knowledge. PCGS CoinFacts is a work-in-progress. Unlike a book, the PCGS CoinFacts website is improved, expanded, updated, and (yes) corrected quickly and easily.

The old CoinFacts will remain available for an indefinite time, where we'll have some annoying ads promoting the new PCGS CoinFacts (understandably, we'd like to recoup some of the significant investment we have made, and will continue to make, in the new site).

Thanks for the opportunity to add to your comments. My hope is that everyone will "Buy the PCGS CoinFacts website before the coin." It's a tremendous value.


So, folks, be sure to check out the free tour and let us know what you think. And here's an analogy to think about. You could buy a copy of say, Breen's Encyclopedia of U.S. Coins once, and never shell out another dime to have the information at your fingertips. But as the months and years roll by, more and more of the information becomes obsolete.

For something updated more frequently, you could buy Whitman's Guide Book of United States Coins year after year (as so many of us have done our whole collecting lives). For still more frequent updates on pricing, you could subscribe to the classic weekly dealer Greysheet, a much more expensive proposition.

The new CoinFacts site is updated frequently and stays fresh. The annual cost is more than buying a yearly Redbook, but less than the Greysheet, and includes access to much more information than either, with high-resolution scalable images. How much is that worth to you? -Editor


To visit the new PCGS CoinFacts site, see: www.pcgscoinfacts.com



Wayne Homren, Editor

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