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Buying Proof Coins For Grading.

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A purchase is made for proof coin gold or silver from the Royal Mint to have it graded. As we know these coins come with a significant premium, which you can understand for the woke that goes into the coin to get it to that standard has a proof coin. Its a thing of beauty.
So the coin goes off to be graded buy PCGS/NGC. On the coins return  it has been given a PR69 or even PR68 and not the PR70 we wish for. Should you have the option to return it back to the mint has it is not flawless. There is not a standard for proof its the best the mint does. 
Would a MS70 or MS70 first strike get a better return for you money than a  PR69 or PR68. After paying that premium? 
Edited by Wolves

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In general a 70 is more difficult to get in an MS than a proof coin, so I suppose the premium you get is higher. Don't have particular statistics at the moment but if you check for example Queen's Beasts, you can see the percentages of 70s vs total. 

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Hi Wolves and if you are a fan so am I. 

Collecting Proofs PR/PF70's in modern coins can be done two ways. Grading yourself or buying already graded. 

I have a database of comparing PCGS and NGC and in general (different coin releases vary from the Mint dramatically) you have about an 80% chance of getting a PR70 with PCGS but a 95% chance with NGC. 

Why the difference? NGC give more credence to "eye appeal" and so tend to give about 20% more 70's.

Collecting MS grades are far more hit and miss due to the very nature of the Minting process. 

I've seen a few Queens Beast Proofs graded PF70 sell at Auction for just about the Royal Issue price - crazy I know. 

As to profitability - more people will buy an old pre 1930's Sovereign MS64 than a modern MS70 and will pay less for it already Slabbed. 

A few appear to "chase" modern 70's just to have it in their collection. 

I try to look to make money over the longer term. Modern MS68/9's can go already Slabbed for not much more than Spot, making the whole process expensive and futile IMHO. 

More people appear to be grading Modern coins and this appears to lower the value. 

If you have say a PCGS 2015 5th Portrait where 17 Proof Sovereign's are graded with 12 PR70. 

Now take a 2017 Proof where 119 have been graded with 90 at PR70. Are there more people after the 2017? 

Yes because of the design of the 2017 and a rapid sell out. 

But only 12 of the 2015 are graded 70's - a lot less and the mintage is nearly 20% less than the 2017. Figure that one - more "one off" collectors after the 2017?

So to sum up, you pays your money and takes your chance! 

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The royal mint does have a proof standard -

“The general finish is to be excellent, with very minor defects visible to the eye acceptable only if in unobtrusive areas. Lacquering is permissible.”


“A small variation in frosting texture is allowable, piece with piece, but in a uniform manner and with the constraint of remaining clearly frosted. Coins forming a set sold together should have a comparable finish of frosting and also colour for the same alloy composition”.

So this can make grading a bit of a lottery, if you do receive a coin with minor defects of any sort it will probably be downgraded and of course the mint quality control is not done with 5 x magnification which is how PCGS / NGC will examine your coin.


Edited by Fivepoundfred

i may be intersted in buying RM gold proof commemorative five pound coins depending on year of issue in PCGS or NGC 70 grade. If you are thinking of selling please message me with year and price. 

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Modern proofs should be flawless but are often not so. Sovereigns tend to have better QA than some commemorative coins anecdotally.

With NGC modern mint coins (last 5 years or so) will get 70 more often but there are lots of 69's given and perhaps 7.5% 68s. Many people force conserve before grading as even a tiny fleck or handling mark can get a 69 or below. Conserving improves the chance of a 70 but does not guarantee a 70 as many coins get sent that are at the outer part of the bell curve and should really have been returned to the mint or re-minted.

What actions can maximise the chance of a 70...?

a) buy a 70 from mostly a USA modern coin dealer - sometimes RM fo a run of 150 or so first releases coins

b) Buy a proof from RM and keep returning till its perfect - risky with a sell out coin.

c) Use a dealer like Coin Connection to double the QA of the mint and supply as far as possible a perfect coin

d) Conserve with NCS before grading yourself

e) Grade normally your regular mint coin and if it gets a 68 or 69 sell and buy another and grade that

f) Buy a 68/69 cheaply from a poor sap and resubmit it for conservation and grading. Economical due to the discount on RM price for bad graded coins.

Many 68's get cracked out and put back in the original packaging and sold on ebay. Some of those get bought by members here and re-submitted where they can get 68/69 again if unlucky.

Grading is subjective and there is no magic way to achieve the top grade. They will never give lots of MS queens beasts or 1989 1 SOV's the magic 70. Early MS Pandas almost never get 70. Lots of Perth Mint coins get 70.  A 70 is ONLY good if nobody gets one remember that if everything gets a 70 the 70 is standard. 

When you see a coin on the forum marked up by £500 over RM price and its a 70 - stop and think... Do they all get 70's? Would i be much better submitting my own?



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These are the current grading standards for 70 coins -

PCGS - Fully struck and lustrous, free of visual marks. The PCGS 70 grading standard does allow for “as minted” defects, as long as those flaws are minor and do not impact the eye appeal of the coin.

NGC - A coin with no post-production imperfections at 5x magnification

I would support the information that SovTracker provided from his database, NGC certainly seem to be more generous when it comes to awarding 70 grades.


Edited by Fivepoundfred

i may be intersted in buying RM gold proof commemorative five pound coins depending on year of issue in PCGS or NGC 70 grade. If you are thinking of selling please message me with year and price. 

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