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Opinions on this situation? PCGS modifies attribution on a coin graded years ago - 05/26 update

TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 9,455 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 26, 2022 11:28AM in PCGS Set Registry Forum

Would love to hear this forum's opinion on a situation I'm navigating through right now.

I'm a variety collector for a world coin series and have been responsible for submitting and certifying unique varieties in my highly specialized area of collecting. A number of years ago, PCGS certified an unique overdate. I've acquired the coin because it also became a required slot in a number of variety sets. PCGS apparently shares coinfacts images with researchers and I was pleasantly surprised to find this coin, along with a number of others in my collection (mentioned as "Courtesy of PCGS"), become plates in a recently published definitive work on the series. It took me about 3 years to be able to find another example of this die pair in a nicer grade, which I promptly submitted to PCGS under the existing variety coin number with variety attribution fee included. The newly submitted coin graded AU53, as expected, however the coin number assigned was that of a non-variety date. Didn't think much of it until I noticed a change to my registry sets. To my surprise, the original VF35 coin was also changed to point to a non-variety PCGS number.

I've reached out to Customer Support to understand the change and was informed that the original coin's label is a "mechanical error" and to send it in to be corrected. When asking to confirm with world graders which reference is used for variety attribution in this series, I was told the Red book. At this point I realized that the customer service agent was probably not used to deal with a situation of this complexity and asked to have the ticket escalated. As per the process, i'm sure I will get a call from a supervisor in the next few days and hopefully get to some kind of resolution.

While I work through the process, would love to hear your thoughts on this. This is the first time something like this happened to me and I find myself unsure about where the responsibility lies. By the way, the customer service rep mentioned they feel that PCGS bears no financial obligation for the overnight drop in rarity and value and that since it was my decision to purchase the coin they are not responsible for the value I placed on it at the time of purchase.

Also, the variety slot in a number of registry sets is still there, which at present makes it an impossible set to finish since the original coin was responsible for its creation.


  • coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,424 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I am trying to follow this... So has there been a reconsideration as to the recognition of the variety at issue in general? At this juncture, if you own and still possess the VF35 and if it was recognized as the variety at the time of submission- I would keep it. I see a huge difference between a mechanical error and either a misattribution or reconsidering whether the variety will be recognized on an ongoing basis. I doubt this was helpful... but it is not as clear as it could be in terms of the status and story behind the variety.

    I hope for the right outcome...

    Experience the World through Numismatics...it's more than you can imagine.

  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 9,455 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It sounds like that's what happened - they reconsidered a previously attributed variety. I'm just not sure why, since there's now a reference officially listing it as a recognized variety.

  • winestevenwinesteven Posts: 3,735 ✭✭✭✭✭

    First, you should be commended on your writing skills, as you’ve taken a very complex world variety issue, and explained it in “English” (lol).

    My sense is someone lower down the chain made a decision without a full understanding of the situation. The key to success is to get a person with the authority to make decisions, and go through this slowly so they understand how the original decision was made to establish this unique variety. The worst thing potentially would be the very last point you raise - you DON’T want them to delete that slot, which currently still appears needed for sets. Be diligent and persistent!

    Good luck! Please keep us posted.


    A day without fine wine and working on your coin collection is like a day without sunshine!!!

    My collecting “Pride & Joy” is my PCGS Registry Dansco 7070 Set:
  • NysotoNysoto Posts: 3,717 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If I am following, the overdate variety/die marriage is recognized but no longer considered as a "major variety" in the PCGS registry set? Overdates should be considered a major variety. There could be an exception as in the 1805/4 half dollar, there is the very rare 1805/4 O.103 Wide Date which is not yet recognized as a separate major variety - it is just included with the O.101 and O.102 1805/4 overdates.

    It would be helpful to list the series and registry set to better explain the situation. I believe it is best if a major variety set is derived from the most current reference book along with series expert input, but this is not always the case.

    There was a change in the 1794-1807 half dollar major variety set regarding 1806 star size, it wasn't correct before and I don't believe the change is correct, but since I attempt to collect all die marriages I don't care as much about subjective opinions as to which of these die marriages are "major varieties." If it were up to me I would align all major varieties with the Steve Tompkins book as these make the most sense - if PCGS were to recognize and attribute early half dollars by Tompkins numbers.

    Robert Scot: Engraving Liberty - biography of US Mint's first chief engraver
  • davewesendavewesen Posts: 5,464 ✭✭✭✭✭

    They guarantee variety, so you should get financial reimbursement for your purchase of top pop now common. Their excuse of mechanical error for variety attribution is not valid.

  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 9,455 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @winesteven thank you. It's a complex situation to explain properly and with English being my second language I often get lost in run-on sentences. I agree, I'm not sending anything back for correction until I speak with someone who understands the issue.

    @Nysoto the overdate is no longer recognized by PCGS as an overdate even though the reference on the series lists it as such.

    @davewesen Personally, I agree.

  • MetroDMetroD Posts: 1,869 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You can find details about the "PCGS Guarantee" here.

    "PCGS does guarantee the attribution of coins listed as a particular variety on the PCGS holder insert."

    There is an 'out' for a variety attribution if it is "obviously incorrect" (i.e., a "mechanical error"). If I understand the situation correctly, this does not apply to the original. A previously recognized variety does not become "obviously incorrect" just because PCGS no longer chooses to recognize it.

    There is also an 'out' for changes in a coin's numismatic status. Not sure how PCGS can claim this when 'your coin/their image' was recently included as an example of the variety in a "definitive work on the series".

    I wish you success in getting PCGS to recognize the variety on your recent acquisition. :)

  • winestevenwinesteven Posts: 3,735 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @TwoKopeiki said:
    @winesteven thank you. It's a complex situation to explain properly and with English being my second language I often get lost in run-on sentences. I agree, I'm not sending anything back for correction until I speak with someone who understands the issue.

    English is your second language???? In my opinion, your writing skills are superior to that of the vast majority of naturally born Americans! You should be commended!


    A day without fine wine and working on your coin collection is like a day without sunshine!!!

    My collecting “Pride & Joy” is my PCGS Registry Dansco 7070 Set:
  • WaterSportWaterSport Posts: 6,655 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Since day one PCGS has had notorious record of poor to nonexistent communications regarding coins being listed and delisted in sets. They have NEVER publicly posted, warned, acknowledged or gave a hint that a change was coming other than the annual addition of current dated coins. The list of grievances over the years concerning coins assigned to sets and the inconsistences of said coins not being equally applied to similar sets is nothing short of mind boggling when you consider multiple attempts from multiple individuals to get them to explain can only be attributed to one answer – It’s their company and they can do what the hell they want.

    I collect Lincoln varieties and several have been added and delisted as the Cherry Pickers Guides were updated and coins added or deleted. That’s understandable. I believe it was Dimeman (currently banned) that complained so often about this dropping of varieties from his Dime sets that they (without any public notice or involvement) decided to keep listing varieties they delisted so if you had one you could still list it but it did not count towards your registry points, inventory, etc.

    And then there was the case of the 1922 No D weak reverse being dropped one day in February of 2019. PCGS never said a word. I finally asked Heather Boyd and she did respond with answer that there was a consensus regarding an ANA study and that any 1922 No D with a weak reverse was simply a Weak D variety. OK – Fine – but did anyone at PCGS ever consider making this public knowledge BEFORE the coin was no longer delisted?? And no- it does not remain as a delisted item (the inconsistent part once again).

    So I say good luck to the OP and I hope you can report back with a positive response from PCGS. But I doubt you will ever get an answer or one to your satisfaction. And no, they will not reimburse you for any financial lost. They guarantee thier attribution of a variety but not after if it's determined by them or other parties to no longer be a legitimate variety. They might not even keep it listed just to appease you as that seems to have now stopped. And yes I am very negative because after almost 19 years on this forum this situation comes up from time to time and the response is always the same from PCGS – It’s their company and they will do what they want.


    Proud recipient of the coveted PCGS Forum "You Suck" Award Thursday July 19, 2007 11:33 PM and December 30th, 2011 at 8:50 PM.
  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 9,455 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks Steve. And WS - thank you for providing your thoughts on the situation and some context. Appreciate you taking the time to type it all up!

    Customer Service Supervisor by the name of Stephanie Diaz contacted me on Monday via email and I responded back with my questions. I haven't heard back yet. I'm sure they're swamped and I'm not really in a rush, so we'll see.

  • As a registry set collector, I find this issue to be very worrisome. To me this does not sound like a professional service.

    I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it - Clint Eastwood
  • braddickbraddick Posts: 22,509 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Is this the same scenario PCGS had with weak "D" 1922 cents? They were once recognized and then were not.


  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 9,455 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Stephanie followed up saying that she has reached out to a few people and PCGS is still holding to the fact that this is a die break, not an overdate. I got Mike Sargent's email and to discuss and I flipped him a few grader-specific questions about the varieties attribution process and references / experts used.

  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 9,455 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Will try to get an update this week as Baltimore probably kept everyone pretty busy.

  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 9,455 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Quick update for those following the story: got an email on the 14th that Stephanie engaged her manager to help with this situation. Nothing since then, so I'll follow up again this week.

  • davewesendavewesen Posts: 5,464 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If you paid more for the 'variety' than the base coin, you should get compensated for difference than regular coin. It may come in cash or grading credits ...

  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 9,455 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 11, 2022 10:34AM

    Well, after almost 2 months of trying to get this sorted, looks like PCGS is sticking to the mechanical error excuse:

    From PCGS:
    We can correct the error on the label, however, we cannot reimburse or compensate for any of the fees you paid. I wish I had better news for you. I really tried and brought up all your points, however, this is where it stands.

    Now I at least hope they update the two registry set compositions that list this "mechanical error" as a required slot.

  • TwoKopeikiTwoKopeiki Posts: 9,455 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Surprising twist - it appears that unless I send the coin in to have the label "corrected" (even though the certificate page now points to an updated non-variety one), PCGS will not update the registry compositions for the impacted sets. Effectively penalizing everyone who is trying to complete these sets, which is now impossible to do.

    When asked for clarification, got the following:

    Hello Roman,

    The connection is that we would like to physically have the coin corrected with the correct label, to have the label and the information listed on our website uniform. After we know there are no more coins with the incorrect label, we would be happy to remove it from set registry composition.

    Would you like me to provide you a FedEx label to have this coin sent back to us at no cost to you, so we can proceed with properly updating the label , and then proceeding with removing the 1804/3 from the sets?

    Really batting a thousand there, customer support. (/sarcasm)

    I'm done with this whole ridiculous exercise, so will not be posting any further updates. Just hope PCGS does the right thing and updates the set composites for those who are still interested in finishing those sets.

  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,495 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well this is an interesting thread to stumble upon. I've never heard of something like this, and it makes me wonder why PCGS won't pay up. I'd keep the coin and therefore the slots will forever stay in the sets as required. Perhaps that will change PCGS's mind?

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