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Author Topic: [INFORMATION] ICG GRADING  (Read 808 times)
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anonymousminer
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May 10, 2019, 03:21:19 AM
 #1

Hello All,

Today I had a very unique opportunity to join Charlie Lee for a look inside of ICG and see the process they use to grade and slab our beloved coins.  Charlie had a few coins graded today and we got to see it from start to finish.  They generally do not allow anyone into the inner workings, but today was an exception.  Shocked  First, I'd like to thank Charlie for the invitation.  Second, I have made this a self-moderated topic to keep from having any shenanigans.  Wink  Third, this is what I witnessed and these are my observations, I am not speaking for anyone else.


I'd like to start with security.  The place is a fortress!  The security seems to be state of the art and the amount of cameras alone blew my mind.  Throughout the day I saw a lot of dual control to insure the coins were where they needed to be when they needed to be there.  From the making of the labels for the slabs to the way they apply their holograms to the slabs, details were checked and double checked.  The grading process is done by professionals who have been grading coins longer than most of you have been alive.  The difference here is they take our coins seriously and give them the grades they deserve.  The coins then go into the slabbing room.  The process is very cool to see and it is done on site.  No third party slabbing of coins like some others do.  I like that when our coins are sent there they under constant surveillance and never leave until they are packed back up under the same surveillance to inure you get exactly what you sent them.

The customer service provided at ICG is second to none.  I am sure minerjones, Lesbian Cow and Charlie can attest to how well they have been treated from day 1.  We met nearly the entire crew today and everyone was willing to show us what they were doing and explain why if we had any questions.  The little "tricks of the trade" they use to insure a quality end product.  They were also about as friendly as could be.  You could tell they enjoyed what they were doing and were proud of what they did.

They also didn't "know better"..... if that makes any sense?  They wanted feedback on how the orientation of the coin's information was the label and keep it consistent. (seen in photo)  They genuinely wanted to hear our suggestions on how to create a better end product for us.  From the "possibility" of a custom crypto coin label to the "possibility" of authentication.  Now when I say authentication, I don't mean them guaranteeing the funds, but authenticating them.  For example: they are sent a 2018 CI Phoenix silver coin loaded with 0.01BTC..... The coin being listed as .999 silver would be put on a Sigma Precious Metal Verifier to verify the .999.  Then the first bits would be put into a wallet explorer to verify that the 0.01BTC is there at the time it is been slabbed.  That way you can feel more comfortable buying a coin that comes in an ICG slab.

All in all, we learned a lot from them today and they learned a lot from us.  They want to be "THE GO TO" grader for crypto coins and today they showed it!  They want to learn about our coins which was refreshing to see.  I must say it was an incredible day.  

Thank you for your time and here is a coin from today:






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May 10, 2019, 04:27:21 AM
 #2

Wow pretty cool thanks for the post, will definately use them going forward, looks like we can move past the ANACS era for good.  Glad to know we are welcome there, not everyone is jumping at supporting crypto but piece by piece we break down the wall Smiley   cheers anon good write up




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May 10, 2019, 04:48:13 AM
 #3

Indeed.. thank you for the great info Cheesy
Appreciate the post.

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May 10, 2019, 05:14:28 AM
 #4

Awesome! Thank you Anonymousminer / Charlie Lee
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May 10, 2019, 11:17:26 AM
Merited by Flying Hellfish (5), Kryptowerk (1)
 #5

Cool. I just got an S2 graded by them, and they didn't put any of that info on it even though it was all on the form... Just "Cas 1 BTC" and they didn't even bother with "Brass" or the "S2".... I guess everyone has their own personal experiences with companies, and mine is not really like this above at all. I have been promised "Free shipping vouchers", and fixed labels, and I just get the bare minimum (And zero free shipping vouchers).

Did you meet Skippy, the label guy who seems to always under-deliver, at least in my case? Tongue

(I do agree they are better than anacs, but I now have to resent my cas S2 back for proper labeling. I'll point them to that picture. lol. Tongue 

Thanks for the write-up. Cheesy
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May 10, 2019, 11:24:18 AM
Merited by Flying Hellfish (5)
 #6

Cool. I just got an S2 graded by them, and they didn't put any of that info on it even though it was all on the form... Just "Cas 1 BTC" and they didn't even bother with "Brass" or the "S2".... I guess everyone has their own personal experiences with companies, and mine is not really like this above at all. I have been promised "Free shipping vouchers", and fixed labels, and I just get the bare minimum (And zero free shipping vouchers).

Did you meet Skippy, the label guy who seems to always under-deliver, at least in my case? Tongue

(I do agree they are better than anacs, but I now have to resent my cas S2 back for proper labeling. I'll point them to that picture. lol. Tongue  

Thanks for the write-up. Cheesy
They offered to reslab and fix any labels as this is a new space for them.  Yes, the labels were inconsistent previously, but that is why yesterday was so refreshing.  They wanted a template to work off of and worked with us on one.  They want to be consistent with our items just like they would be with a silver eagle.  They want to do it right and took the time to find out how.  The new format is pictured.  Reach out to them.  You won’t be disappointed.  Thanks for the comment.

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May 10, 2019, 02:19:07 PM
Merited by Flying Hellfish (10), anorganix (1), anonymousminer (1)
 #7

One of the things that annoyed me was how inconsistent the ICG crypto coins were. So I made an effort to help them do it right.

The denomination is now in the upper right corner instead it just saying TOKEN.

The series info for Casacius coins (when it's needed) will now be on the top left corner like 2011-S2 for series 2. It's using the mint mark space.

The variety field will have the address first, a serial number if applicable, and the coin material.

ICG will also look into designing a custom label for crypto coins so that crypto coins stand out from their other coins.

Looks they want to do this right. And their grades are more consistent than ANACS. I'm looking forward to their new crypto labels.

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May 10, 2019, 02:36:58 PM
Merited by Flying Hellfish (5)
 #8

Not been really active lately, but is the community consensus now that its all ICG and ANACS is out? I have graded a few coins here and there and ANACS started out strong then fell off... I wonder if ICG will do the same? Has anyone made a chart comparing grades between the 2? I know that in the past ICG consistently graded 1+ grade higher for the same coin compared to ANACS.
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May 10, 2019, 02:40:44 PM
 #9

Not been really active lately, but is the community consensus now that its all ICG and ANACS is out? I have graded a few coins here and there and ANACS started out strong then fell off... I wonder if ICG will do the same? Has anyone made a chart comparing grades between the 2? I know that in the past ICG consistently graded 1+ grade higher for the same coin compared to ANACS.
I believe MJ has the data, but lately it has been the opposite.... ANACS just slaps 68 or 69 on everything now.

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May 10, 2019, 02:50:46 PM
Merited by Flying Hellfish (5), JUPITYR (2), anonymousminer (1)
 #10

Not been really active lately, but is the community consensus now that its all ICG and ANACS is out? I have graded a few coins here and there and ANACS started out strong then fell off... I wonder if ICG will do the same? Has anyone made a chart comparing grades between the 2? I know that in the past ICG consistently graded 1+ grade higher for the same coin compared to ANACS.

I cracked around 10 coins from ANACS slabs and sent them to ICG as a reference.  ICG was consistently same or minus 1 or 2 vs ANACS grades.  Currently ANACS puts 69 on near everything and has been that way for 2 years or so.

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May 10, 2019, 03:32:37 PM
Merited by Flying Hellfish (5)
 #11

So will previously highly graded ANACS coins hold up accordingly in the resell market? If I bought some ANACS MS69 and MS70 coins will they fetch premiums in the event I ever wanted to sell them? I would sure hope so and common sense dictates that, but it's beginning to sound and feel like people have little to no respect for any of the grading companies especially ANACS at this time. Would love to get any and all community feedback here on everything graded prior to this visit and subsequent post regarding all of this. Looking forward to everyone's thoughts here.


PS: Excellent write up anonymousminer. And nice work by both yourself and Charlie for giving ICG a new template to work with for the future. Just want some clarity for the past stuff.


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May 10, 2019, 03:46:10 PM
Merited by Flying Hellfish (5)
 #12

So will previously highly graded ANACS coins hold up accordingly in the resell market? If I bought some ANACS MS69 and MS70 coins will they fetch premiums in the event I ever wanted to sell them? I would sure hope so and common sense dictates that, but it's beginning to sound and feel like people have little to no respect for any of the grading companies especially ANACS at this time. Would love to get any and all community feedback here on everything graded prior to this visit and subsequent post regarding all of this. Looking forward to everyone's thoughts here.


PS: Excellent write up anonymousminer. And nice work by both yourself and Charlie for giving ICG a new template to work with for the future. Just want some clarity for the past stuff.


iBHK8

I think regardless people want to see for themselves, you will never see a graded coin sold with no pics just based on company/grade.  People will always ask for high res pictures of front and back.  So long as the coin looks to be in tip top shape I dont see an overwhelming reason why an anacs graded Ms-70 wouldn't fetch higher than a 69, and so on




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May 10, 2019, 04:01:57 PM
 #13

So will previously highly graded ANACS coins hold up accordingly in the resell market? If I bought some ANACS MS69 and MS70 coins will they fetch premiums in the event I ever wanted to sell them? I would sure hope so and common sense dictates that, but it's beginning to sound and feel like people have little to no respect for any of the grading companies especially ANACS at this time. Would love to get any and all community feedback here on everything graded prior to this visit and subsequent post regarding all of this. Looking forward to everyone's thoughts here.


PS: Excellent write up anonymousminer. And nice work by both yourself and Charlie for giving ICG a new template to work with for the future. Just want some clarity for the past stuff.


iBHK8

I think regardless people want to see for themselves, you will never see a graded coin sold with no pics just based on company/grade.  People will always ask for high res pictures of front and back.  So long as the coin looks to be in tip top shape I dont see an overwhelming reason why an anacs graded Ms-70 wouldn't fetch higher than a 69, and so on

I completely agree and this makes perfect sense. The previous grades while perhaps not perfect at times still has to hold some value and it needs to carry weight. Otherwise we should have been strictly going off of high quality photos only. But let's keep all comments/feedback/thoughts/suspicions/positives/negatives/criticisms/compliments, etc... coming as the more info and stronger bond of what's respected and what's not the better and better we are as a collectibles community yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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May 10, 2019, 05:00:30 PM
 #14

Nice to see ICG finally getting some love.  I've been using them almost exclusively to slab my cryptos for years. 

I can say for sure that they grade very conservatively.  In fact, I rarely get anything above a 68 on some of the more recent releases. 

Their cases are also much better looing than ANACS and stack easily.

The downside is their label descriptions.  Up to this point anyway.  Sounds like that is about to change though.  Maybe I will send some back to be reholdered.
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May 10, 2019, 05:29:05 PM
 #15

Hello All,

Today I had a very unique opportunity to join Charlie Lee for a look inside of ICG and see the process they use to grade and slab our beloved coins.  Charlie had a few coins graded today and we got to see it from start to finish.  They generally do not allow anyone into the inner workings, but today was an exception.  Shocked  First, I'd like to thank Charlie for the invitation.  Second, I have made this a self-moderated topic to keep from having any shenanigans.  Wink  Third, this is what I witnessed and these are my observations, I am not speaking for anyone else.


I'd like to start with security.  The place is a fortress!  The security seems to be state of the art and the amount of cameras alone blew my mind.  Throughout the day I saw a lot of dual control to insure the coins were where they needed to be when they needed to be there.  From the making of the labels for the slabs to the way they apply their holograms to the slabs, details were checked and double checked.  The grading process is done by professionals who have been grading coins longer than most of you have been alive.  The difference here is they take our coins seriously and give them the grades they deserve.  The coins then go into the slabbing room.  The process is very cool to see and it is done on site.  No third party slabbing of coins like some others do.  I like that when our coins are sent there they under constant surveillance and never leave until they are packed back up under the same surveillance to inure you get exactly what you sent them.

The customer service provided at ICG is second to none.  I am sure minerjones, Lesbian Cow and Charlie can attest to how well they have been treated from day 1.  We met nearly the entire crew today and everyone was willing to show us what they were doing and explain why if we had any questions.  The little "tricks of the trade" they use to insure a quality end product.  They were also about as friendly as could be.  You could tell they enjoyed what they were doing and were proud of what they did.

They also didn't "know better"..... if that makes any sense?  They wanted feedback on how the orientation of the coin's information was the label and keep it consistent. (seen in photo)  They genuinely wanted to hear our suggestions on how to create a better end product for us.  From the "possibility" of a custom crypto coin label to the "possibility" of authentication.  Now when I say authentication, I don't mean them guaranteeing the funds, but authenticating them.  For example: they are sent a 2018 CI Phoenix silver coin loaded with 0.01BTC..... The coin being listed as .999 silver would be put on a Sigma Precious Metal Verifier to verify the .999.  Then the first bits would be put into a wallet explorer to verify that the 0.01BTC is there at the time it is been slabbed.  That way you can feel more comfortable buying a coin that comes in an ICG slab.

All in all, we learned a lot from them today and they learned a lot from us.  They want to be "THE GO TO" grader for crypto coins and today they showed it!  They want to learn about our coins which was refreshing to see.  I must say it was an incredible day.  

Thank you for your time and here is a coin from today:



That is an excellent write-up and great achievement to the crypto collecting world. Thanks Anon and Charlie for taking the initiative to do this.

Any idea if they are offering like a discounted service or anything to re-slab the already graded coins with the new formatted labels?

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May 10, 2019, 08:12:09 PM
 #16

They definitely have reholder discounts and they might even do it for free if it was previously done incorrectly. You should call and ask. But I would wait for their new crypto labels first!

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May 10, 2019, 09:58:04 PM
 #17

Not been really active lately, but is the community consensus now that its all ICG and ANACS is out? I have graded a few coins here and there and ANACS started out strong then fell off... I wonder if ICG will do the same? Has anyone made a chart comparing grades between the 2? I know that in the past ICG consistently graded 1+ grade higher for the same coin compared to ANACS.
I believe MJ has the data, but lately it has been the opposite.... ANACS just slaps 68 or 69 on everything now.
Ive gotten MS70s from them.  But these are rare.  Basically if the coins came in contact with hard surfaces (typically same metal, i.e. another coin) in any way during minting and assembly process and beyond, it won't be a 70.  70 is a perfect coin and unfortunatly Ive seen very few crypto coins that are perfect.  the minting processes used are just not that good.

From APMEX:
In the United States, grading companies are ranked into three main tiers based on their reputation for consistent and reliable evaluations and acceptance in the numismatic marketplace. Certified coins by the two top-tiered grading services command the highest premiums in the numismatic marketplace. The Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS) and the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) are rated as “Superior” by the Professional Numismatists Guild. Coins graded by PCGS or NGC are accepted in the marketplace at their stated grade. The middle-tiered grading service ANACS has been in existence the longest, but their grading is considered to be acceptable. ANACS graded coins generally trade at lower premiums than PCGS or NGC graded coins. All of the other companies not mentioned above are considered in the lowest-tier of grading services. Coins graded by any other company will likely be devalued because of inconsistent or “looser” grading standards. When choosing a grading service, it’s best to choose one of the two top-tiered companies PCGS or NGC.

If anything, this community should place effort into getting NGC and/or PCGS to grade crypto coins.  Maybe we form a working group for this?
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May 10, 2019, 10:15:31 PM
 #18

So will previously highly graded ANACS coins hold up accordingly in the resell market? If I bought some ANACS MS69 and MS70 coins will they fetch premiums in the event I ever wanted to sell them? I would sure hope so and common sense dictates that, but it's beginning to sound and feel like people have little to no respect for any of the grading companies especially ANACS at this time. Would love to get any and all community feedback here on everything graded prior to this visit and subsequent post regarding all of this. Looking forward to everyone's thoughts here.


PS: Excellent write up anonymousminer. And nice work by both yourself and Charlie for giving ICG a new template to work with for the future. Just want some clarity for the past stuff.


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For as long as I've been collecting coins (non crypto first), people have argued about which service is better etc... and they keep doing so to this day.

However, If you look at coin auction data, the top ones based on sales figures are PCGS and NGC.  All other services get dinged in price because they are not as good. (doesn't mean it couldn't change over time)
Grading crypto coins won't be any different if and when NGC/PCGS start doing so.
When people attempt to cross over an MS68/69 there's a 99.999% probability that NGC and PCGS would say it won't cross over at same or higher grade.
There will be a few exceptions ofcourse.  If you had a high grade coin that came out of an unopened roll (meaning the roll was opened CORRECTLY at a grading service) that probably will cross over.  That roll would also have to be made up of the very first coins struck by a pair of dies... Initial coins are of higher quality (under magnification) as the dies keep stamping out coins, they begin to wear out and produce coins are not as good as the first ones.  Initial coins often have more of a proof like effect than do later coins.

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May 11, 2019, 02:39:59 AM
Merited by krogothmanhattan (1)
 #19

"buy the coin not the slab"
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May 11, 2019, 03:34:13 PM
Last edit: May 11, 2019, 04:28:40 PM by Ryan_ICG
 #20

Hello all. My name is Ryan Barnhardt. I have been a customer service representative for ICG for 11 years and am also a licensed pharmacist. I wanted to join the forum and piggyback on what anonymousminer and Charlie have said in their posts. After working with Charlie for a couple of days, we want to be the leader in encapsulating cryptocurrency physical tokens. We have been in business for over 20 years and our grading staff has a combined 150+ years of grading experience in US and foreign coins. Members of our staff have worked for NGC and ANACS. Our senior grader is known for being one of the top 3 experts in the world in Morgan silver dollars.

I wanted to address a concern brought up by a poster about the grading services and how we stack up in the US coin marketplace. There are only 4 grading services accepted in the industry and are the only ones allowed to be used on selling sites such as Ebay and various auction houses. PCGS and NGC are considered tier 1. US coins that are valued at $5,000 and higher typically are seen in their slabs due to higher realized auction prices. The reason behind their higher sale prices is mostly due to politics and inner-workings of the coin industry which I will not go into here.

ICG and ANACS are considered tier 2. High-Dollar coins will sell for a lower price in our holders, but that only makes up a very small fraction of the marketplace. A $100 coin in a PCGS holder may sell for $90 in an ICG or ANACS, but you will pay significantly more money to use their services. Both NGC and PCGS charge yearly membership fees and we do not. PCGS charges $65 for their tokens, NGC starts at $35. We plan to keep our current token rate at $19.

In addition to better pricing, you will have lightning fast turnaround times, better customer service, and a team of people who want to adapt their brand to better serve your needs. We are developing a label design specifically for cryptocurrency using feedback from collectors. We want the collectors to have say in our label formatting and overall design.

Overall, at ICG we want to be the authority for cryptocurrency tokens and we take your industry very seriously. By using us you can be assured that you have a team dedicated to the needs of your marketplace and will not value your coins any less than standard US coin submissions that we receive. You will find that our top two competitors have no current desire to be in this space. As a matter of fact, if you google "pcgs cryptocurrency" this is the first page you will come up with straight from their website.

https://www.pcgs.com/news/bitcoin-deserves-lump-of-coal-for-christmas

Please reach out to me here or thru our website with any questions!
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