Had this up but now it's gone....must have touched a nerve, eh?
I'm educating myself about CAC.
For those that'll take the time to read this and constructively respond:
I'm new to the board but a very seasoned collector. I and my associates fully support TPG. Over the last three decades my associates and I have spent just over $300K on TPG. Although there have been times we're not happy about a grading result (just as every collector has experienced) none of us regret a cent we spent with them. Personally just the fabulous quality holders and serial number tracking they provide along with their fantastic databases are worthy of the fees they charge. Their grade opinion (sans gradeflation) is a bonus and, for the most part, pretty darn good (within any given grading standard period in time)!
Furthermore I expect most will cry "CAC bashing" here but sadly that's the cry of the insecure. Those afraid something they think they possess or profit from will be threatened. In fact, although I hope not, I expect to get banned for calling a spade a spade. Never the less I'm posing intelligent, fact-based, reasonable questions and hoping that someone more aware and educated than I apparently am can enlighten me as to what it is I'm missing. PM always welcome!
I see a lot of support for CAC and that most charge and many will pay more for a holder with a sticker on it. Of course dealers and TPG support CAC for plainly obviou$ reasons. I'm hoping to gain intelligent reasoning from fellow collectors, not biased dealers; from the passengers in the bus, not the driver. I'm a huge proponent of self-education and knowledge over purchasing my opinion or external validation for the sake of acceptance so I'm attempting to find the tangible value in CAC as, near as I can tell, it's absolutely nothing more than a purchased, subjective and (by nature of subjectivity) inconsistent opinion. I'm trying to determine if it's manufactured value is based in anything other than exploiting fragile ego's and/or financial greed. There are some things I read that, considering the support of the service by supposed "collectors", confuse me greatly and I'm "hoping" for some intelligent, reasonable explanation from fellow collectors about the following points:
The following are copied directly from CAC's site:
Here’s where I’m stumped. According to CAC a CAC sticker means the coin is (in one person's opinion, in one moment in time) at the A or B level (of A, B or C) of the spectrum of a given grade range (let's remember TPG grade is constantly changing). So, setting aside the RIDICULOUS thought that anyone (emphasis on “one”) could consistently and reliably slice the difference between 65+ and 66 into three sectors (this means being able to accurately and consistently discern a .166 or 1/6th of a grade point difference) on tens of thousands of coins over long periods of time:
1) What is the “standard for today’s selective buyer”? How is it determined? Is there an ANA “today’s selective buyer” standard? Is today's selective buyer different than yesterdays? What about tomorrows? Isn't this nothing more than a unilateral, self-determined and constantly variable, non-committal subjective standard?
2) “It simply means that there are other coins with CAC stickers that are of higher quality for the grade. CAC will eventually reject tens of thousands of accurately graded coins.” Then there is “Occasionally a coin that has previously been rejected for CAC verification is reconsidered by CAC and stickered”. These two statements equal “we reserve the right to function in a consistently inconsistent standard”.
3) What is their point? How can any consumer in their right mind consider this a positive thing? This is old school and there's a word to describe it! What better way in the world to promote your "service only, manufacture/create nothing" business than to purchase your own service? Furthermore in examples like this (where the proprietor is servicing a tangible asset they're paid to service) they're not "purchasing", they're "investing" while driving up demand for their service. They "invested" $600M in an asset they were paid to service....and they still have their $600M asset! Furthermore if they invest "X"% over retail in the items they invested in they've driven the market up "X"% or a good fraction thereof while making their service "appear" to be the reason for the price increase. Now, get dealer networks to play along and wholla...it's a well engineered, no risk, no capitol, no skin in the game massive money machine that the end user funds and ultimately gets bit by. Now, I'm not saying that's what CAC did or is doing. But then there's the 'ol saying "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...well, you know.
How about these:
So, they catalog all the coins that come across the counter. Yet they don't reveal the coins that didn't qualify (in a given moment, on a given day, in the subjective opinion of one person, to be in the top 2/3 of half a grade point) because they're protecting collectors? Really? Is there any thought by other collectors that maybe, just maybe, this is a way to get the same coin coming back over and over every time it changes hands? Another way to make a finite market infinite. Furthermore, beyond the simple arrogance of doing so, isn't publishing "CAC does not want to compromise the value of such a coin by disclosing a negative review by CAC" a blatantly passive aggressive method of telling collectors a coin holder without a sticker on it (let's remember....it could still get a sticker upon the second or third or tenth or hundredth payment since this is all based on the subjective opinion of a human that has no risk) is inferior? And yes, for those looking to justify this with "well _______ does this too" (which is childish crap anyway) I realize TPG does the same thing. However let's remember that TPG supplies an enormous amount of other tangible assets for the fees they charge! So, even if you don't get the grade you want you get something tangible and valuable for your expenditure.
Lastly, they publish What is that? Is that not the same as "we provide no guarantees", and the same as "we're backed by nothing other than our words"?
All this stated....I get that people can simply "want" and, really, there's no better thing to spend discretionary income on than "want". But as I educate myself about this facet of numismatics and genuine "collecting" I struggle with understanding, or, maybe, just facing ad accepting what the "want" is.
I see posts all the time about "do you think this (already certified and reaping the tangible benefits of TPG) coin will bean" and every single time I ask myself "why do you care". And....I mean that as a genuine question as a fellow passion based caring collector. I ponder; "if it does will you like the coin more"? "If it doesn't will you like the coin less"? And, if the answer to either one of these is yes then it's rooted in one or all of only three toxic things, a disinterest in or too lazy to educate one's self, a very fragile ego or selfish financial greed. None of which are good for the long term well-being of collectors or our hobby. If you answered no to both then you wouldn't care less about a sticker, especially not one that represents one person's opinion (in a single given moment on a single given day) about .166 or 1/6th of a grade point....let alone purchase it or try charge fellow collectors for it.
There's even a prominent dealer that has the nerve to publish (essentially) that any collector or dealer that says they don't submit coins to CAC should be avoided! From what tangible information I can gather any person that doesn't send coins to CAC is likely educated, confident, doesn't need external validation and values integrity far above the acquisition of paper dollars. Therefore they would only be avoided by people afraid of intelligent, confident, hard to BS (and therefore much harder to acquire paper dollars from through installation of fear) integrity-based individuals. Oddly (not really) this same dealer touts CAC as being great because they catch "doctored" coins. No, they don't. They only (just as TPG services do) sometimes catch poorly/unprofessionally doctored coins. This has been proven by submitting certified doctored , oops..."conserved" coins and receiving a sticker every time.
I gotta be missing something somewhere! Or am I?