Third Party Grading (TPG)

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Overall supports Third Party Grading (TPG). If viewed intelligently and with education TPG brings many valuable assets to the numismatic (and other) marketplaces. They provide strong beautifully engineered and manufactured holders, serial numbers, counterfeit detection, security features, very valuable extensive databases as well as other tangible assets to the hobby. Yes, like any entity or person they have their shortcomings, but overall the good they bring to the hobby far outweighs the bad.

That said, there are two absolutely fundamental FACTS about TPG entities that every single collector needs to remember and every single dealer counts on: 1) Grading is subjective. 2) TPG entities are businesses, with dealer networks, all with the first and foremost fundamental goal of making a profit.

The biggest downfall to the numismatic hobby and business created from (not by) TPG is that so many collectors have abandoned education and have become dependent on the purchased opinion from profit based entities. This paradigm is far more evident with the acceptance by the collecting masses of the silly subjective "opinion of a subjective opinion" sticker game. This issue is created by collectors, not the companies! These companies simply market a product. The collectors choose whether or not to purchase it!

This paradigm of dependency on purchased opinions has forfeited the power of setting grading standards and subsequent numismatic item value to the numismatic businesses. One must remember these are business dealing in a finite marketplace. They must manufacture ways to continue generating profit off of the same merchandise over and over and over as well as manufacture new venues and marketplaces. One potential way to do so is if collectors become dependent on their opinion keep changing their opinion and charging a fee for doing so. This is also why the variety market, which was poo-poo'd for many years by dealers and TPG companies is now receiving proper recognition. It's a gigantic untapped marketplace!

The Sheldon scale, then the half point scale, then CAC; all are engineered increased gradations of subjectivity constantly in motion to generate a revolving new marketplace with the same people and same merchandise. Soon we'll see the 100 point grade system. Eventually strike, die state and planchet quality will have designations as will gradations of color, luster, etc. It's inevitable and endless. An infinite way to market a finite commodity. Add in the brilliance of registry sets to keep collectors chasing the ever changing top spot and it's literally genus from a "sell the same product over and over" standpoint.

Any moderately astute long time collector reading this has experienced the following: 1) The enormous amount of MS67 coins that wouldn't have graded MS65 ten years ago. 2) Having to have a coin "regraded" to get it back to the market value it was. 3) Having to submit a quality coin numerous times to acquire a "fair for the current grading standard" grade. There's a tangible reason for all three!

The bottom line; Want to be an asset to yourself, to the hobby and to your fellow collectors? Educate yourself then believe in, adhere to and collect according to "your" standards! Patronize and pay TPG companies the money they earn (and they do) for the benefits they provide, including their opinion. Just remember, a nice holder is a tangible asset, an opinion is just an opinion and opinions are subjective.

Pay them for the valuable assets they provide and for voicing their opinion.

Don't pay them (or anyone else) to "tell" you what your opinion is!

And please, for the betterment of the hobby and every collector in it, spit out the hook of the silly sticker game. 


Pursue quality coins, not purchased opinions or silly stickers!

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