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Back Where We Started?
July 26, 2010

It's that time of year when the corporate calendar begins to ask employees to focus on what might happen in 2011.

While at the height of summer, next year seems quite distant, but then again, come Labor Day, we will kick off the autumn collecting season and that pretty well flows right into next year.

Perhaps numismatics should be on a fiscal year ending Sept. 30 as the U.S. Mint is.

One thing about 2011 that occurred to me was it will mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Professional Coin Grading Service. That event certainly revolutionized the hobby.

At the time, it was a better mouse trap. It was not the first third-party grading service. Then the big dog in that field was the American Numismatic Association and its Certification Service.

ANA did not use slabs, but it did photograph coins and provide grading certificates.

PCGS entered the field and introduced the concept of encapsulation. The idea appealed to collectors and the next wave in third-party grading was born.

The ANA got out of the business in 1990.

The irony perhaps is that ANA got into the field because of the threat of international counterfeits flooding the market. That was successfully combatted at the time and when the focus became grading it seemed less competitive.

Now as in the early 1970s, counterfeits are once again front and center among collectors and that aspect of the service a grading service provides needs to be stressed.

 

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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