• Thanks, But, NO Thanks...

        I posted this a few years ago on another forum; some here may recall...

        "Thanks but NO THANKS..."

        Thanks, but -- "No Thanks" is what I say to Third Party Grading (TPG) companies. I learned to collect coins the old fashioned way, by going thru piles of change and looking for the date/mintmark I needed for my out of date Whitman penny, nickel, or dime tri-folders. I had a plastic magnifying glass which was badly scratched in the center of the lens so I had to look thru the edges but it served its purpose. I learned the grades associated with wear on each coin variety. Chuckle, I traded with my brother as we each had our own collections and oft times he was the only playmate I had for many a day as we lived in the East Texas sticks as described by some. My father wanted us to grow up the same way he did as a child so...

        Occasionally we would "Dude Trade" with our coinage, as we referred to it. However, certain coins each of us held were central parts of our respective collections and never considered for trading. Mine were the 1878-S and 1887-O Morgan Dollar and his were a couple of 1923 and 1927 Peace Dollars.

        We learned to make homemade scales with pencils and string, not to check the weights of coins but to compare their weight to others. I read many a RedBook and tried to learn. Once at my father's store they actually found some counterfeit currency and turned it into the sheriff's office. He described the individual to the sheriff and they ended up busting a counterfeit ring up in Dallas.

        By the way, gasoline was $.35 cents a gallon then as well, LOL. The short stocky Mexican workers who came in every now and then and traded shiny silver Peso's and bronze Centavo's for nails, bridles, and other stuff. Dad would stand close to the cash register and occasionally glanced at his pistol under the counter... I remember old John Linum walking down his long hot driveway and then up Texas Highway Seven to the store where he'd sit on the porch in the shade and watch time go by. He'd give me a Buffalo Nickel on occasion to shoo his dog back home or catch a lizard, you know -- boys stuff.

        Suppose I was a purist of the hobby but yet had a deviant side. All coins were what they stated in value and it was illegal to deface them. Never-The-Less I always found it exciting to shoot a quarter or penny with my single shot .22 rifle as I was running thru a box of shorts, no bird was safe and if a squirrel appeared he was as good as in the hunters stew pot.

        I'm truly one who wasn't looking when the hobby passed me by. I wasn't paying attention, must have had a long 35 year blink. Simply living a life you could say (Marriage, Birth, War, Fear, Homecoming, Death, Injury, Love, Compassion, etc.) Now I've found the time to reminisce. I retrieved my old collection from our attic and virtually every coin has a memory associated with it. Every coin I touch brings back memories of the wind in the pines, the taste of homemade blackberry cobbler, and the smell of wood smoke or rain. The ring of silver when you flip a coin with your thumb and when it hits on a wooden counter still is alive within my mind.

        Yes, the hobby has changed, some say for the worse. You have to be on the lookout for fakes and when you find one you bought your screwed. No use carrying it to the sheriff's office, you won't get a second look. Along the way I learned there were crooks and thieves. Yes indeed, coin collecting has become dangerous and wrought with frauds. I learned to the ring of silver can be easily duplicated in China. I learned the old time coin shop was dying. Would I ever be able to take my children into one so they could gaze with wonder at the beautiful 'Morgan Cartwheels' thru glass display cases? But guess what??? There are still a few breathing and opening their doors to new collectors. Sadly I tried to instill the love for the hobby with my daughters but alas with very little luck. The line of succession looks like it will be broken...

        But back to coins, When David Hall wrote this infamous letter and I read it albeit some time afterwards and was dumbfounded. Surely some could see he was leading lambs to slaughter and he was holding the knife behind his back.


        The Word is Out!!!
        We've had a ten year honeymoon with the coin buying public, but we've betrayed their trust, and the word is out. The word is out in the financial planning community; in the hard money circuit; and to the coin investing public. Coin dealers are rip-off artists; the rare coin market is a trap. For ten years, we've sold coins to the coin buying public as MS-65, only to tell them that the grading standards had changed and their coins graded MS-63 when it was time for them to sell.

        For ten years, we've told them that rare coin prices have gone up and up and up and up, only to tell them that the buyers bidding those higher prices were very fussy, very selective, sight-seen buyers who bought only the coins that they liked and not the coins that the public owned.

        For five years, we've supplied the telemarketers who have pounded the coin-buying public with Salomon Brothers fantasies while [selling them] viciously over graded coins.

        We are currently paying the consequences of the abuses of the past ten years. And frankly, we deserve it!"

        David Hall, dealer and a principal owner of the Professional Coin Grading Service
        [in a 1988 letter to coin dealers about past abuses and PCSGS's new standard]

        It kinda reminds me of a coyote guarding the hen house. So I say NO to TPGs. The opportunity for abuse is too easy and frankly the line has been crossed on several occasions by other TPGs. I rely on my own horse sense and a good scale to filter, authentic,c and identify coins from my collection. If I think a coin is XF and gorgeous I don't need another telling me it's actually Net F-15 for a rim ding just to have it in a plastic holder for posterity. I want to hold it and turn it and look closely at the workmanship. It's in my collection and I'm the only grader. I don't collect for investment and I don't sell coins either.

        Hopefully in 100 years a descendent of mine will still have the collection I've accumulated and have the where-with-all to keep it complete but show it to others. A true treasure chest with MY handwriting and my grades still on the 2X2 flips.

        Personally, I don't need the TPGs.

        Just My Humbe Opinion