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 produced 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 subjective "opinion of a subjective opinion" sticker game. This issue is created by collectors, not TPG or the sticker sales companies! These companies simply make and market the Kool Aid. An individual has to "choose" to purchase and drink it!

This paradigm of dependency on purchased opinions has forfeited the power of setting grading standards and subsequent numismatic item value to the profit based entities of the numismatic hobby and business. 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. A potential way to do so is addict people to their opinion through convenience, charge for their opinion and then 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 then CAC are all engineered increases 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 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 no more than 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!

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