Wednesday, June 11, 2014

PCGS Secure service

PCGS Secure is a certification option when sending coins to be graded and authenticated. Among other features, it includes a "high quality" photo.  Don't confuse that with Trueview℠ photos, those are much different.  The photos that come with PCGS Secure are good quality (although older submissions may not be), but they aren't anything you'd frame and hang on a wall.

You also get a gold shield on your slab.

Some PCGS pages refer to PCGS Secure Plus™.  Apparently that was the nomenclature at one time, but they seem to have dropped that, perhaps because of confusion with Plus (+) grades. PCGS Secure Plus™ seems to simply be PCGS Secure now.

Certain coins require Secure Service: All World (non-U.S.) coins except for Modern service level coins dated 1965 to date and any coin valued at $50,000 or higher. The fee is higher.

Secure Service is more than just a picture and a gold shield. According to their website, the coins are "laser scanned" and recorded in a database.  They say
If a PCGS Secure-certified coin is ever lost or stolen and subsequently resubmitted to PCGS, it can be identified and the recovery process will begin for the rightful owner.
 The laser scan is presumably recording the topography of the coin very accurately. I can see how that could help if a coin had been stolen and removed from the slab. If such a coin were recovered by law enforcement, a scan record could help prove original ownership. However, the resubmission scenario above assumes that a second submission also requested Secure service and I think that's not likely.

The coins are also "sniffed" for chemical traces of doctoring.

Watch carefully as the operator places the coin into the sniffer. She isn't wearing gloves and it looks to me that she may have touched the surfaces as she adjusts it. Of course this is just a demo, but I hope they do wear gloves when handling real coins!

In my opinion, it would be better if PCGS simply defaulted to Secure service or at least forced it at a lower value - say $200 or so. It doesn't cost that much more and adds a great deal more than the standard service. I'm going to do that for anything I send in the future.

By the way, NGC automatically takes photos of your coin in its slab.
Started in October 2008, this ambitious initiative involves NGC capturing and storing a digital image of nearly every coin that it certifies. These “security images” are intended to combat counterfeit and tampered holders by showing the encapsulated coin prior to its shipment from NGC. A prospective buyer can enter an NGC certification number online to access images and certification data.
PCGS should be doing at least that much!

Note:  All my coins are in a safe deposit box.  I keep nothing in my home. 

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