CAC Approval Variability
I found these comments in today's Gerry Fortin's Blog worthwhile.
Several clients have expressed frustrations concerning higher value better dates being submitted to CAC and not approved followed by selling those pieces only to see the same coin CAC approved for the buyer. This begs the question on the CAC operating standards as many among us believed that if a submitted coin is not approved, the non-approval decision is entered into a CAC database. Some believe that CAC then uses this information to pre-screen new submissions towards removing those coins from review if previously seen and non-approved.
All evidence that I have accumulated suggests that this is not the case. Previously unapproved coins are being approved on subsequent attempts. The percentage is low as borderline coins are the issue. My theory is that as CAC expands its reviewing staff, the fact that multiple individuals are inspecting and approving coins brings differing opinions. A choice borderline coin that was rejected by one staff member might be approved by another CAC reviewer. Like TPG grading, CAC review has a subjectivity component. As grading or review staffing changes, the probability for differing opinions is a constant challenge to manage.
Bottom line, if you believe one of your prized coins is conservatively graded plus having choice original surfaces and eye appeal but does not win a CAC green bean on the first attempt, I would not fret. Selling the coin is the incorrect decision. Please remember that we are collecting coins and not TPG labels or CAC beans. Each collector sees a coin from their perspective. That perspective is a function of grading experience and the understanding of metallurgy and the many ways that coins can be "enhanced" for a higher TPG grade. CAC plays an excellent role for screening coins that have seen post mint treatments along with ensuring that the grading is conservative. However, eye appeal and the level of surface abrasions are a different story. What might be acceptable to one CAC reviewer might not be for another. Please keep this in mind when your prized key date does not sticker. Secure a second opinion from a trusted collector friend or dealer with the physical coin in hand for discussion. I would NOT advise posting images of a non-approved coin on a message board and asking for an explanation as to why the coin did not sticker. Photography brings more variability and is unable to capture natural luster, as an example.