Yet Another Reason To Leave the Brussell Sprout In The Crisper

So there are increasing numbers of collectors in Australia that believe that slabbing is going to be the salvation of the average collector, and will be the only way the industry will ever move forward.

I've registered as an authorized agent for the company that arguably leads the way in the independent grading of world coins, PCGS, and have had a modest percentage of my own stock graded by them. I see a role for independent grading in the Australian market, but don't see it as being the panacea that many collectors believe it to be. Far better to use our brain and make our own decision about the condition of each coin we trade rather than replacing our brain with a brussell sprout and slavishly accepting the grade attributed by a 3rd party.

An article posted by a prominent US numismatic journalist, grader and dealer this week sheds some light on the reality behind independent grading - it sure is independent, but hasn't proven to be without flaws in the US experience. It seems that several key figures in the US numismatic industry have observed that "Yesterday's AU May be Today's MS Coin", or more to the point, "the interpretation of Uncirculated or Mint State is more liberal than it was 30 or 40 years ago" and, "Today, such coins that used to be graded About Uncirculated (AU) are now often graded as MS-60, MS-61 and MS-62."

Slabbing seems to be put forward as the sole solution to the admittedly unfortunate experience of a collector finding out that the coin or note they purchased in one grade will only be accepted for purchase at a lower grade. Independent grading, when executed correctly, theoretically will go some way to ensuring the risk of that occurring is minimized, but as this article suggests, that may not always be the case.

I'll leave it to you to determine if the anecdote at the end of the article goes some way to explain the gradual loosening of standards that has apparently occurred in independent grading in the US in the past few decades:

"A former colleague of mine once facetiously said let's call every coin submitted for authentication genuine. That will make the counterfeiter happy, the dealer happy, and the customer happy. In much the same way, graders could call every coin with lots of luster uncirculated. This would make everyone happy. Now, that's a novel thought'