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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 14, April 4, 2010, Article 20

COMPUTERS AT THE CORE OF PCGS' NEW GRADING SERVICE OFFERING

In his Coin Collector's Blog last Sunday, Scott Barman published a great post on the new service from the professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). Computer imaging is at the heart of it, which enables a number of interesting and useful features. -Editor

This week, the Professional Coin Grading Service announced “The Big One,” a service called PCGS Secure Plus.™ A new service line that will be an option for most collectors except for rare and ultra rare coins which must be certified by PCGS Secure Plus. The significant part of this service is that PCGS is adding modern computer imaging to coin grading.

Coins grade through Secure Plus will be scanned by an optical device that will map the surface of the coin creating a digital signature of its characteristics that can be used for later reference. The digital signature is a unique identification of the coin that can withstand potential coin doctoring and to prevent the users from removing the coin from the slab to try to have it graded higher. It can also be used to determine if the coin was doctored from its previous submission such as being artificially toned.

During the announcement PCGS President David Hall (videos Part 1 Part 2) said that this should end “gradeflation” as well as work out errors in the population reports when people submit coins multiple times. Hall said that multiple submissions did not serve the industry and hope that this would end the practice. Hall noted “We did not start PCGS to grade a coin 40 times.”

Hall said that PCGS has been working on this service for two years with “industry leaders” who were not mentioned. However, in the follow up presentation by PCGS CEO Don Willis (videos Part 3 and Part 4), his technical explanation included an image of the CoinSecure, Inc. to use the CP16 CoinAnalyzer. During his part of the announcement, Willis said that the process is being patented.

Having been an advocate for computer based grading, this is a great start to using technology to assist in grading. Add the ability to digitally fingerprint the coin to prevent coin doctoring and crackout artists from resubmitting the coins multiple times hoping for better grades, PCGS has created “The Big One” in the world of third party grading.

To read the complete article, see: PCGS’s Big One, PCGS Secure Plus™, Is A Big Deal (coinsblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/pcgss-big-one-is-big-deal.html)

Forgive me for coughing and saying "bull&%it!" at the notion of Hall being dismayed over people to paying his company over and over again to grade the same coin. But I do give the company kudos for investing in and moving forward with technology. This is a great step forward and an excellent use of computer imaging. -Editor

For more background on the new service, see the video interviews at CoinTelevision.com. Executive Producer David Lisot writes:

Hear Don Willis, PCGS president, and David Hall, PCGS founder, talk about the new service. Listen to the response from different people in the coin trade including some of the major auction houses, market makers, and regular coin dealers.

Click here to view the videos: cointelevision.com/archive-2010-ana_ftw.html

Wayne Homren, Editor

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