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What is the job life expectancy of a professional coin grader?

291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,850 ✭✭✭✭✭

Just how much turnover is there in this line of work at a major TPG?

All glory is fleeting.
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  • kruegerkrueger Posts: 792 ✭✭✭
    edited January 26, 2024 3:23PM

    Till your eyes go bad. Dark room looking under a 100 watt bulb reflection all day, everyday .
    I use a 60 watt and only for a short time. 100 watt bulbs are hot too!! I have used them under a desk as a space heater!

  • Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 8,590 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Are graders chained to their work stations?

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  • spacehaydukespacehayduke Posts: 5,425 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Namvet69 said:
    Are graders chained to their work stations?

    Last I heard, well yes...............


    Successful transactions with-Boosibri,lkeigwin,TomB,Broadstruck,coinsarefun,Type2,jom,ProfLiz, UltraHighRelief,Barndog,EXOJUNKIE,ldhair,fivecents,paesan,Crusty...
  • kruegerkrueger Posts: 792 ✭✭✭
    edited January 27, 2024 3:05PM

    @Namvet69 said:
    Are graders chained to their work stations?
    Last I heard, well yes...........

    HA! HA! , Yes like Oar slaves on a Roman or Ottoman Galley. ( remember Ben Hur the Movie)
    When you die (soon) overboard you go and another slave takes your place. Must keep that drum beat going.

  • Zach98Zach98 Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    My apologies if this is an inappropriate question, but what is the pay scale for graders. In other words what is the salary and/or hourly rate for a grader?

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,193 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Zach98 said:
    My apologies if this is an inappropriate question, but what is the pay scale for graders. In other words what is the salary and/or hourly rate for a grader?

    I think they get paid $3 for each coin they grade but I could be wrong. ;)

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • DeplorableDanDeplorableDan Posts: 2,474 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 27, 2024 6:01AM

    NGC has openings but they don’t list pay information, If I had to guess it would be less than what CU pays, considering Florida vs Cali.

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,436 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @KOYNGUY said:
    I am a survivor with 40 years as a grader. Started before PCGS, NGC, and Slabs. Probably seen 5 million coins. I'll wager I've worked with 40 graders that have come and gone. maybe 10% are still grading. Luckily my eyes are now too expensive for moderns. I'd say 3-5 years is typical before burnout or greener pastures. As a profession, not as glamorous as young coin nerds imagine. It takes a certain kind of person to sit under a lamp in a quiet dark room for years on end. I thought I'd do a year and move on. That was 1984.

    Flying buzzards help.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 27,316 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 27, 2024 1:01PM

    Mustard, it’s kind of a big dill… :)

  • GoldFinger1969GoldFinger1969 Posts: 1,162 ✭✭✭✭

    @krueger said:
    Till your eyes go bad. Dark room looking under a 100 watt bulb reflection all day, everyday .
    I use a 60 watt and only for a short time. 100 watt bulbs are hot too!! I have used them under a desk as a space >heater!

    The new LEDs and CFLs -- they can't be used, they generate so much less heat.

  • Walkerguy21DWalkerguy21D Posts: 11,051 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @KOYNGUY said:
    I am a survivor with 40 years as a grader. Started before PCGS, NGC, and Slabs. Probably seen 5 million coins. I'll wager I've worked with 40 graders that have come and gone. maybe 10% are still grading. Luckily my eyes are now too expensive for moderns. I'd say 3-5 years is typical before burnout or greener pastures. As a profession, not as glamorous as young coin nerds imagine. It takes a certain kind of person to sit under a lamp in a quiet dark room for years on end. I thought I'd do a year and move on. That was 1984.

    Great post!
    Yes, I imagine the fantasy is getting to grade amazing old time collections like Eliasberg, etc. The reality is day after day of monster boxes of ASE’s…..which frankly, if AI or computer grading is going to be used, that’s the perfect application.

    Successful BST transactions with 170 members. Recent: Tonedeaf, Shane6596, Piano1, Ikenefic, RG, PCGSPhoto, stman, Don'tTelltheWife, Boosibri, Ron1968, snowequities, VTchaser, jrt103, SurfinxHI, 78saen, bp777, FHC, RYK, JTHawaii, Opportunity, Kliao, bigtime36, skanderbeg, split37, thebigeng, acloco, Toninginthblood, OKCC, braddick, Coinflip, robcool, fastfreddie, tightbudget, DBSTrader2, nickelsciolist, relaxn, Eagle eye, soldi, silverman68, ElKevvo, sawyerjosh, Schmitz7, talkingwalnut2, konsole, sharkman987, sniocsu, comma, jesbroken, David1234, biosolar, Sullykerry, Moldnut, erwindoc, MichaelDixon, GotTheBug
  • DelawareDoonsDelawareDoons Posts: 3,166 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 27, 2024 2:09PM

    @DeplorableDan said:
    NGC has openings but they don’t list pay information, If I had to guess it would be less than what CU pays, considering Florida vs Cali.

    50-80 to start depending on skill and the job (Vintage vs Modern, US vs World). More if you're absolutely stellar I suppose.

    Average of a grader I'd say is 2-3 years these days. You got plenty that burn out 6 months, a year... some that move on to auction houses or dealing after 2-3 years, then the lifers and multi-decaders that kinda balance it out.

    Just a note to the tangent about lights, I grade with LED's. I don't like sweating a lot and those old bulbs make me sweat!

    Also, full disclosure, I've never graded for a TPG for a living, but I've been offered positions as a grader and know plenty of current and prior graders, as well as a few folks that, like me, were offered positions but turned it down.

    Professional Numismatist. "It's like God, Family, Country, except Sticker, Plastic, Coin."

  • silviosisilviosi Posts: 444 ✭✭✭

    Very interesting to know and take conclusions.

    If the turn it is aprox 3 years it is compreasible why not all varieties are recognised. For a grader which do not have at least 10 to 15 years in varieties, will be absolute imposible to know in 3 years. Not to talk about errors. Then also to know to recognise counterfeits. EX: I have a guy who is far to be beginer, and after 7 years studing and me behind teaching, is not yet ready to recognise all the 37 Design Varieties of the quarters 1932 to incl. 1998.

    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT.FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL.THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE. MARK TWAIN

  • Manifest_DestinyManifest_Destiny Posts: 3,008 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'd last about 3 minutes grading ASEs.

  • silviosisilviosi Posts: 444 ✭✭✭

    @ Manifest_Destiny said:
    I'd last about 3 minutes grading ASEs.

    And probably 1.5 minutes for tokens. Do not forgot wood tokens, LOL

    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT.FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL.THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE. MARK TWAIN

  • MapsOnFireMapsOnFire Posts: 171 ✭✭✭

    When I tried out, about 1990, the pay was $10,000 / month. That's why I applied. Discovered I don't see well enough.

  • KOYNGUYKOYNGUY Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    There are two distinct advantages to these well publicized Try-outs. The first you get to interview a wide selection of people with various backgrounds that you never knew would have interest.
    The second is you tell everyone you are a successful growing concern and that only a very few make the cut.

  • silviosisilviosi Posts: 444 ✭✭✭

    I think I we try this to see my self what it is now, and also if I can help. The sallary for me will be secondary because till retairement age I had no penality on my early retairement from health care, and they will not pay me the equal (in my believe). I will contact them to see. Let the trip to go.

    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT.FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL.THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE. MARK TWAIN

  • DelawareDoonsDelawareDoons Posts: 3,166 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 27, 2024 11:19PM

    @KOYNGUY said:
    PCGS
    Director grader- 400-500k
    Modern graders- 30-100k
    Classic graders-75-350k
    1-3 month grader 30-50k month
    NGC
    Director grader- 400-500k
    Modern/TV graders 50-100k
    Classic/ancient 100-350k
    Part time-grader 50k month
    ANACS
    Director-400k
    modern grader-50-100k
    Classic/ancient- 150-250k

    Can't comment on P, but my offer from N was substantially less than 100 for vintage US. Your floor is too high for everything but the moderns.

    If anybody is wondering why somebody would take so comparatively little for such a demanding job, it's because you'll never learn more anywhere else than a grading room. 2-3 years at NGC working with one of their finalizers will turn you from an okay grader into an excellent grader/authenticator. My understanding is NGC tends to take on younger, cheaper graders and mentor them into great graders, while PCGS kinda expects you to fly out the gate a bit more, since they don't have traditional finalizers like NGC does.

    Professional Numismatist. "It's like God, Family, Country, except Sticker, Plastic, Coin."

  • KOYNGUYKOYNGUY Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    There has been a sea change in grading staffing in the last 10 years. fewer Classic numismatists and more less experienced graders. A more corporate view of the whole process. A couple of old heads to keep the place together, hold the line avoid expensive
    mistakes. But also a reluctance to break new ground on higher grades. more of a keeping it within the realm of established registry sets. Safe but not bold.

  • jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,026 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MrEureka said:

    @KOYNGUY said:
    It takes a certain kind of person to sit under a lamp in a quiet dark room for years on end.

    So something like this?

    That's weird, my wife got me a chair just like that, but when they delivered it I refused it as it wouldn't recline.
    Jim


    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.....Mark Twain
  • Married2CoinsMarried2Coins Posts: 136 ✭✭✭

    @KOYNGUY said:
    I am a survivor with 40 years as a grader. Started before PCGS, NGC, and Slabs. Probably seen 5 million coins. I'll wager I've worked with 40 graders that have come and gone. maybe 10% are still grading. Luckily my eyes are now too expensive for moderns. I'd say 3-5 years is typical before burnout or greener pastures. As a profession, not as glamorous as young coin nerds imagine. It takes a certain kind of person to sit under a lamp in a quiet dark room for years on end. I thought I'd do a year and move on. That was 1984.

    What TPGS did you work for?

  • Married2CoinsMarried2Coins Posts: 136 ✭✭✭

    @silviosi said:
    Very interesting to know and take conclusions.

    If the turn it is aprox 3 years it is compreasible why not all varieties are recognised. For a grader which do not have at least 10 to 15 years in varieties, will be absolute imposible to know in 3 years. Not to talk about errors. Then also to know to recognise counterfeits. EX: I have a guy who is far to be beginer, and after 7 years studing and me behind teaching, is not yet ready to recognise all the 37 Design Varieties of the quarters 1932 to incl. 1998.

    Are they listed on Variety Vista?

  • Married2CoinsMarried2Coins Posts: 136 ✭✭✭

    @silviosi said:
    I think I we try this to see my self what it is now, and also if I can help. The sallary for me will be secondary because till retairement age I had no penality on my early retairement from health care, and they will not pay me the equal (in my believe). I will contact them to see. Let the trip to go.

    YOU DO NOT WANT TO LIVE IN CA!! People are leaving that stat by the bus load.

  • silviosisilviosi Posts: 444 ✭✭✭

    @ Married2Coins said:
    Are they listed on Variety Vista?
    YOU DO NOT WANT TO LIVE IN CA!! People are leaving that stat by the bus load.

    First: Wiles was never a specialist in the Quarters Design Varieties. Great Guy with many merits.
    Second: If I want to go to live in any part of the world, nothing will affect me to much.
    Third: Who are you to question all the members here? What you do'it for the hobby?

    Plese do not answer because you will not have answer.

    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT.FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL.THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE. MARK TWAIN

  • KOYNGUYKOYNGUY Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    Old Tom,
    He said the same to me, I am sure he meant it

  • csdotcsdot Posts: 669 ✭✭✭✭

    Sadly, in 10 years those jobs will mostly be done by AI, with some experienced professional graders playing gatekeeper to make sure coins with big jumps between grades or high dollar coins don't get out the door without a second and third look.

  • @silviosi said:

    @ Married2Coins said:
    Are they listed on Variety Vista?
    YOU DO NOT WANT TO LIVE IN CA!! People are leaving that stat by the bus load.

    First: Wiles was never a specialist in the Quarters Design Varieties. Great Guy with many merits.
    Second: If I want to go to live in any part of the world, nothing will affect me to much.
    Third: Who are you to question all the members here? What you do'it for the hobby?

    Plese do not answer because you will not have answer.

    No one tells me to shut up and quits a friendly debate so ...Request denied! I'm glad you have the means to not be affected by your surroundings. That is one reason the USA was a great place to live. It lets anyone rise to the top and become an expert; however this is a FACT that any informed person knows: CA has gone to hell. Unfortunately, this is a coin forum so I'll just say that I'm not ignorant of what has happened to that once "Jewel of the West" and poster state of America. It is the "Cornucopia of America" - a state of fruits and nuts.

    Now back to coins. You are posting as an expert on Washington quarters so I believe you can educate me and the rest of us. You posted this:. "... all the 37 Design Varieties of the quarters 1932 to incl. 1998." I don't think Dr. Wiles ever claimed to know as much as a Washington quarter expert such as yourself. Neverthe less, How many of the 37 design varieties are not yet published on Variety Vista? One? Five? Ten? Curious minds wish to know. Additionally, I should like to know where I can find a published list of all the design types. If you are its keeper, as a lowly collector myself, I commend you for your service to our hobby as what you have done is amazaing. I've collected the Type B's and the 1964-D Type C so I'd like to continue to collect other interesting varieties.

    Finally, I am a relatively new ACTIVE member of this forum. As a member, I have the right to express my opinions as long as I do it within the rules. I'm here to read, discuss, and learn - I have nothing to brag about and certaintly do not attempt to silence any other member for their opinions. However, If I post something incorrect, I expect to be corrected.

  • silviosisilviosi Posts: 444 ✭✭✭

    Normally I will not answer to those who made political statments, but because you touch an affective hobby side of me I will answer.

    I left US long time ago and choice the Nord of the continent for Quebec, Canada. When I come from Europe in US, I was allready recognised. Not in this hobby in other field much more complex. In this hobby the profound mentoring I have from my forever regreted friend Herb. Him push me deeper in the obscurity of this hobby. Then others like Stan, Ken, Wex, Dr. Sepp and many others open me windows and doors to be research. All the 37 Quarters Design Varieties I talk about. Wiles mention in his CONECA/VV site without details and subtypes. All those will be included in my book which will be publish this year as I promis to Herb that will be done. Him do not have'it time left for this.

    Look for my last two posts topics I post about Quarters and you will find something interesting and understand where I go or ask CladKing if I am accurate or not.

    Please do not compare me with others, AKA Wiles. Him know much more then many of as toghether and for this reason has publish also a book about those Quarters. Each collectors it is how it is and credit them as they are.

    Thank you, Silvio

    @ KOYNGUY

    I will be honorate to know who is behind the KOYNGUY.

    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT.FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL.THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE. MARK TWAIN

  • CatbertCatbert Posts: 6,473 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here for the drama! :#

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
  • Married2CoinsMarried2Coins Posts: 136 ✭✭✭

    @silviosi said:
    Normally I will not answer to those who made political statments, but because you touch an affective hobby side of me I will answer.

    I left US long time ago and choice the Nord of the continent for Quebec, Canada. When I come from Europe in US, I was allready recognised. Not in this hobby in other field much more complex. In this hobby the profound mentoring I have from my forever regreted friend Herb. Him push me deeper in the obscurity of this hobby. Then others like Stan, Ken, Wex, Dr. Sepp and many others open me windows and doors to be research. All the 37 Quarters Design Varieties I talk about. Wiles mention in his CONECA/VV site without details and subtypes. All those will be included in my book which will be publish this year as I promis to Herb that will be done. Him do not have'it time left for this.

    Look for my last two posts topics I post about Quarters and you will find something interesting and understand where I go or ask CladKing if I am accurate or not.

    Please do not compare me with others, AKA Wiles. Him know much more then many of as toghether and for this reason has publish also a book about those Quarters. Each collectors it is how it is and credit them as they are.

    Thank you, Silvio

    @ KOYNGUY

    I will be honorate to know who is behind the KOYNGUY.

    Thank you for your reply. I think we started off on the wrong foot and I hope to count you as a friend. I have the quarter variety book in my library. **I will buy your book as soon as it is published and I am grateful for your work. ** I am interested in design varieties also and I feel there is a lot to still be discovered. I tried to discover more design changes in Washington quarters (I was not not interested in doubled die varieties) many years ago after cherry-picking a rare proof hub change I read about on Variety Vista. I had to give up. You need a lot of time, a big table where you can lay out (and keep out) a long line of dates. The biggest problem for me was seeing enough pocket change and I don't have time to be a coin roll hunter. I will be excited to learn more from you.

    PS BINGO! I figured out that coinCoinguy can only be J.P. Martin. I have his Video tapes and the ANA Correspondence Courses. I had no idea J.P. worked at ANAAB when it was started in Washington, DC as he was never mentioned in anything I have read. I'll bet he could tell us some good stories. I also know who the numismatist is who turned down the opportunity to write the Correspondence Cource for the ANA. He posts on Coin Talk and stopped posting here before I became active. He has said it was the right decision for him at the time but it is something he wishes he had done. In his opinion, J.P. did an excellent job and recommended that I take the course and get the videos so I did.

    I've been working this morning to figure out what it would take to grade 5 Million coins because yesterday on another thread here I saw a video about an NGC grader claiming 10 million coins if I remember correctly. There are 365 days in a year and 104 weekends. That leaves 261 working days a year plus many Saturdays so at least 290 working days including many Saturdays. Forty years of that = 11,600 days so somewhere over 5 million coins might be a possibility but I would not want the job.

  • cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,055 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 28, 2024 8:10AM

    @MapsOnFire said:
    When I tried out, about 1990, the pay was $10,000 / month. That's why I applied. Discovered I don't see well enough.

    That’s surprisingly high. Adjusted for inflation that comes out to about $288k a year in 2024 dollars. To put that in perspective that is about the higher end internal medicine physicians make.

  • cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,055 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 28, 2024 8:12AM

    What does the resume of the higher paid graders look like and how long does it take to get there? It could be a fun retirement job.

  • LazybonesLazybones Posts: 1,382 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Three years and 300 bottles of bourbon.

    USAF (Ret) 1974 - 1994 - The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. Remembering RickO, a brother in arms.

  • MFeldMFeld Posts: 11,721 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @cameonut2011 said:
    What does the resume of the higher paid graders look like and how long does it take to get there? It could be a fun retirement job.

    It’s not necessarily about resumes. Often, the really sharp graders become well known on the bourse floors and to the grading companies.

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

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