FYI - REPOSTING OLD THREAD: Charmy's PERSONAL TOUR OF STACKS BOWERS' AND PCGS's FACILITIES w/lots of

ThePennyLadyThePennyLady Posts: 4,084 ✭✭✭✭✭
FYI, I am bringing up an old thread...

In light of the recent thread about the "misunderstanding" regarding how PCGS processes its coins, I thought this thread might be helpful in seeing just how they process their coins.


Stacks Bowers and PCGS (both in Irvine) recently announced the following grading and consignment event at Stacks’ new offices and since PCGS was offering tours of their offices at the same time, I thought I’d take the opportunity to consign some coins I’ve had for a while to the August ANA auction and take PCGS up on their tour offer which is what I did today. Here is their announcement:



<< <i>Get FREE PCGS Grading!

Attend the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Special PCGS Grading Event
May 16-18, 2012 ● Irvine, California


I would like to personally invite you to come to Southern California for a Special Grading Event hosted by Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

Bring your U.S. and World coins to Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ corporate office in Irvine, California and get FREE PCGS grading when you consign your coins to the August ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction.
• SBG will submit qualifying coins to PCGS for expedited grading – 24 to 48-hour turnaround.
• Raw coins and coins submitted for regrading are all welcome.
• Consign any of your newly PCGS-graded coins to the August ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction and SBG will subsidize the grading fees – a potential saving of hundreds of dollars!
• Coins will be pre-screened by SBG numismatic experts to determine grading worthiness.
The event will take place at the Spectrum Group International Inc. corporate headquarters in Irvine, California from May 16-18, 2012. You can enjoy touring the new Spectrum Group office or take an insider’s tour of PCGS’ grading facility while you are here. For more details, click here.
If you can’t make it to Irvine, bring your materials to Stack’s Bowers Galleries at:

The Stack’s Bowers New York Gallery, 123 W. 57th St., New York, NY ● May 2-16
Tables 607 and 706 at the ANA National Money Show in Denver ● May 9-12

SBG will bring your coins to Irvine for PCGS to have them graded for the event, then you can consign them to the ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction in August or SBG will return them to you, per your preference. >>




So I went to Stacks Bowers’ offices first

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I met with Scott Reiter so he could write up my consignments.
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Then Scott took me on a tour of their offices. Here is their beautiful new building

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These are their affiliates that are also housed in the same building
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Something in particular caught my eye – they have WINE auctions too (sadly, I didn't see any actual bottles of wine)!
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This is the main lobby with a security guard who checks you in
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This is a secondary lobby, also with a security guard
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Then I was introduced to two of Stacks’ amazing catalogers:

Jim Matthews
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Frank Van Valen
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In this room is someone you may recognize from some of my show reports - Corbin, a PCGS grader working on consignment coins, and a very nice Stack’s staffer Sarah Jackels assisting him.
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Then it was off to PCGS for my private tour!

I first met with Don Willis who showed me around the corporate office
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This is part of their customer service area
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This is John Nelson, PCGS’s webmaster!
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Mike Sherman, PCGS’s VP
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Kristen in Marketing
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Catherine in Graphic Design
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Don Willis in his office
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Then Steve Mayer, PCGS’s Chief Operating Officer, took over my tour and brought me down to the security area, receiving area, and grading rooms. As you can imagine, the security room has camera views EVERYWHERE – from the parking lot, to the customer “red phone” entry door to the dealer lobby (no more stealing pens and rubberbands!) and of course everywhere in between!

This is the room where all the coins are held except during the time they are being processed. The room is surrounded by 6-inch thick concrete and steel walls, including the ceiling.
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This is one of the desks where the mail is opened – note the video cameras that record all packages as they are opened.
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These are small white boxes that hold coins from each submission – they have already been separated from the submission form. The step before this is where the information from a submission form is inputted in the computer and the coins are then separated from the form and placed in their own white box with stickered labels on the box and each coin identifying the submission form number – it does NOT contain any customer information so the graders do not know who submitted the coin(s). All submissions and coins are labeled, verified, and doublechecked along each step of the way
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This is the main grading room
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And here are several graders – that’s senior grader Charley Brown in the back by the wall
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This is the bulk grading room
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This guy is placing the coin in the clear round gasket, then places the coin and gasket between the top and bottom pieces of the slab, as well as the label
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Then these guys put the slab and coin on this press and seal the slab together. These guys are lightening fast and you can tell these guys have been doing this for quite a while!
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They have the same process for baseball cards
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A sealed blank slab
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This is where the coins are verified and reunited with the submission forms
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This is the shipping room. PCGS uses USPS Overnight Express to ship coins to customers unless the customer has their own FedEx account. This is the FedEx side
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This is only a half day’s pile of coins ready to be shipped – they usually ship out twice this much in one day
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I didn’t take any photos but I was also showed the Secure Plus room where they take the digital images of coins submitted for Secure Plus grading. (I was told that most all foreign coins are now digitally imaged.) The person working in this room had two small machines about the size of an old Browning camera along with two computer screens, and while one coin was being processed, the guy would work on the other machine/computer so he could process coins twice as fast. He was very adept in what he was doing!

I really enjoyed my tour and very much appreciate Don and Steve taking the time to personally walk me through their facility. The tour was so interesting and very helpful in giving me a much better understanding of PCGS’s grading process. THANK YOU Don and Steve!!!!


My next stop was the office of Ian Russell’s GreatCollections.com (also in Irvine). Since Stacks Bowers’ generally had a $1,000 minimum coin value they would accept for the Philly ANA auction, I also had some coins below that minimum so I decided to take them to Ian. Yes, I know I could have simply give them to Teletrade since they were right there in the same building as Stacks Bowers, but I really like to give smaller companies as much of my business as I can, since I am sort of in the same boat! Not to mention that Ian and his wife Raeleen are two of the hardest working people I know!

image


So that’s it – Hope you all enjoyed this little tour as much as I did!!!
Charmy Harker - The Penny Lady®
President of Women in Numismatics

ThePennyLady.com
imageimageimage
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Comments

  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 27,772 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Bravo... What a cool thread post! image image
    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
  • Great report and fantastic photos!!
    http://www.nerarities.com...New England Rarities...Dealer In Colonial Coinage and Americana
  • LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 12,832 ✭✭✭


    << <i>So that’s it – Hope you all enjoyed this little tour as much as I did!!! >>



    tyvm

    very surprised you were permitted with the camera like that

    thanks for sharing, it was almost like i was in the tour group with the images you took!
    .
    John {3:16} For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
    that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    {3:17} For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
    by how gentle degrees does God prepare us for His will. - download
    Jrm 29:11-13, Hb 11:6, Rv 3:20
  • TURBOTURBO Posts: 460
    Just love that you take the time to make such fantastic reports for us all!! image
  • alohagaryalohagary Posts: 1,811 ✭✭✭
    awesome photos
    thanks
    gary
  • Dennis88Dennis88 Posts: 5,837 ✭✭✭
    Very cool. I have yet to get past the security guardimage
  • SpoolySpooly Posts: 2,307 ✭✭
    Very nice!
    Si vis pacem, para bellum

    In God We Trust.... all others pay in Gold and Silver!
  • tjc2120tjc2120 Posts: 724
    Cool and thanks!

    I should have known, just like any other place where you go everyday to get it done.
    "spot on my UHR, nevermind, I wiped it off"
  • lkeigwinlkeigwin Posts: 14,731 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Wonderful! I'll jealous.

    Thanks for the report and photos.
    Lance.
  • EagleEyeEagleEye Posts: 7,484 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great post! Looks like Spectrum's new office is much more spacious. It is amazing the handling involved in the whole grading process.
    Rick Snow, Eagle Eye Rare Coins, Inc.Check out my new web site:
  • michiganboymichiganboy Posts: 1,256 ✭✭
    Thanks for the tour report, to bad I didn't see my coins in there.
    Positive BST transactions:michaeldixon,nibanny,
    type2,CCHunter.
  • SonorandesertratSonorandesertrat Posts: 4,643 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Cool post!
    Member: EAC, NBS, C4, ANA

    RMR: 'Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich denn aus der Engel Ordnungen?'

    CJ: 'No one!' [Ain't no angels in the coin biz]
  • messydeskmessydesk Posts: 15,226 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>very surprised you were permitted with the camera like that >>


    Me, too. Thanks for posting them!
  • AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 19,824 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Excellent and deserves a big image


    bobimage
    BST deals: Dozens of buys/sells. Will provide a list upon request.
    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), [email protected]
  • MoldnutMoldnut Posts: 2,953 ✭✭✭
    Great post but the bulk grading room looks like a snack shop. Redvines, water bottles and what looks like an energy drink sitting around.
    Derek

    EAC 6024
  • icsoccericsoccer Posts: 1,324 ✭✭✭
    image
    Successful BST transactions to date: Coindeuce, Cohodk, dantheman984, STONE, LeeG, jy8s, jkal, SeaEagleCoins, Hyperion, silverman68,Meltdown,RichieURich,savoyspecial,Barndog
  • mkman123mkman123 Posts: 6,621 ✭✭✭✭
    awesome! Please do a personal tour of NGC too
    Successful Buying and Selling transactions with:

    Many members on this forum that now it cannot fit in my signature. Please ask for entire list.
  • ThePennyLadyThePennyLady Posts: 4,084 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>very surprised you were permitted with the camera like that >>



    When I first arrived, I did have to leave my purse with the security guys. And of course, before the tour I asked if it would be ok to take photos, and then I also asked permission from Don and Steve before each picture that I took. There were certain more sensitive areas where I knew they wouldn't want me to take photos so I didn't even ask, like the security office and the Secure Plus area. Other than that, whenever I asked if I could take a picture, they said it was ok - they truly were great hosts, very nice, kind, easy going, and didn't mind answering any questions I had.
    Charmy Harker - The Penny Lady®
    President of Women in Numismatics

    ThePennyLady.com
    imageimageimage
  • mozinmozin Posts: 8,756 ✭✭✭
    I'm an old guy, but I expect many of the younger fellows will want to know who the young lady is early on in the photo progression, the lady peering through the transparent wall looking directly at the camera. I must say, she is captivating.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the camera shots, but nothing is perfect. What I truly missed were many more shots of the actual grading room in action. I had little interest in the bulk submission room, I wanted to see the regular graders in action, the ones grading my coins.

    Thanks Charmy. How you managed such a tour, I do not know. You done good!
    I collect Capped Bust series by variety in PCGS AU/MS grades.
  • LakesammmanLakesammman Posts: 15,199 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Very cool - thanks for the pics!!!
    "My friends who see my collection sometimes ask what something costs. I tell them and they are in awe at my stupidity." (Baccaruda, 12/03).
    I find it hard to believe that he (Trump) rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world. (Putin 1/17)
    Gone but not forgotten. IGWT, Speedy, Bear, BigE, HokieFore, John Burns, Russ
  • 123cents123cents Posts: 7,244 ✭✭✭
    Tour photos are great!
    image
  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 27,772 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>This guy is placing the coin in the clear round gasket, then places the coin and gasket between the top and bottom pieces of the slab, as well as the label
    image

    This is where the coins are verified and reunited with the submission forms
    image >>



    Questions...

    1.) Top Pic = Is there a reason that no gloves are worn when gasketing the coins image

    2.) Lower Pic = How do I get the Peaches and Herb tune out of my head image image image
    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
  • BochimanBochiman Posts: 24,310 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>This guy is placing the coin in the clear round gasket, then places the coin and gasket between the top and bottom pieces of the slab, as well as the label
    image

    This is where the coins are verified and reunited with the submission forms
    image >>



    Questions...

    1.) Top Pic = Is there a reason that no gloves are worn when gasketing the coins image

    2.) Lower Pic = How do I get the Peaches and Herb tune out of my head image image image >>



    #1 would be more for PCGSCustomerService or DonWillis
    #2 - well, that is a "SOLID" question image

    I've been told I tolerate fools poorly...that may explain things if I have a problem with you. Current ebay items - Nothing at the moment

  • michiganboymichiganboy Posts: 1,256 ✭✭
    The question about why gloves are not worn is answered somewhere in PCGS's FAQ page, but basically states gloves are not worn due prevent coins slipping and getting dropped.
    Positive BST transactions:michaeldixon,nibanny,
    type2,CCHunter.
  • ThePennyLadyThePennyLady Posts: 4,084 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Broadstruck:

    1) Regarding the gasket, other than placing the coin on the desk, the guy doesn't really touch the coin. He picks up the gasket (which would be awkward to do with gloves) and presses it over the coin, then places the gasket with the coin on the bottom part of the slab, then puts on the label and then the top slab over the coin.

    2) Listen to "It's a Small World" just once and I think you will wish the "Reunited" song was back in your head.
    Charmy Harker - The Penny Lady®
    President of Women in Numismatics

    ThePennyLady.com
    imageimageimage
  • keyman64keyman64 Posts: 13,467 ✭✭✭✭
    COOL POST! image
    *SELLING EVERYTHING SOON* PCGS PROOF TONERS 1950-1964!

    "If it's not fun, it's not worth it." - KeyMan64
  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 27,772 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>Broadstruck:

    1) Regarding the gasket, other than placing the coin on the desk, the guy doesn't really touch the coin. He picks up the gasket (which would be awkward to do with gloves) and presses it over the coin, then places the gasket with the coin on the bottom part of the slab, then puts on the label and then the top slab over the coin. >>



    ThePennyLady, Thanks as now looking closer at the pic it is possible to see the gasket not the coin being touched image



    << <i>2) Listen to "It's a Small World" just once and I think you will wish the "Reunited" song was back in your head >>



    Yeah given that choice Peaches and Herb isn't all that bad! image image

    One last question... Where's all the Hawaiian Shirts image image
    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
  • MsMorrisineMsMorrisine Posts: 22,286 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I asked for a tour and DW told me to call TMZ! image
    Current maintainer of Stone's Master List of Favorite Websites // My BST transactions
  • MsMorrisineMsMorrisine Posts: 22,286 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>One last question... Where's all the Hawaiian Shirts image image >>




    no uniforms?!?!
    Current maintainer of Stone's Master List of Favorite Websites // My BST transactions
  • pmacpmac Posts: 3,186 ✭✭✭
    Charmy, you certainly are an ambasador for all of us (but I think that SB , PCGS and GC know this). Thanks for sharing in your tour.
    Paul
  • lasvegasteddylasvegasteddy Posts: 10,390 ✭✭✭
    you're sooo much more then the penny lady charmyness...you're like an icon
    a best selling book can be comprised of these threads you assemble with so much down to earth class

    as for this one
    you truly take us deep behind the scenes here
    i must admit
    pcgs appeared light in amount of staff for the amount of work/processing they achieve
    i'm impressed with the proficiency in that regard

    as to stacks
    i was hoping to see a grand vault that would of paralleled a banks finest or something
    about what i figured though except their diversity

    i also found lack of side arms a bit odd but i'm sure some hidden snipers got entrances covered fine and dandy

    excellent piece here charmy
    cookies fer yoo
    image
    everything in life is but merely on loan to us by our appreciation....lose your appreciation and see


  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 27,772 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>One last question... Where's all the Hawaiian Shirts image image >>




    no uniforms?!?! >>



    I was a YN when PCGS first started and dealers would mention "sonically sealed" in their sales pitch as you inspected the certified coin...

    They made it sound like it was done by astronauts, or at least in a dust free environment by workers in full hazmat gear image
    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
  • ThePennyLadyThePennyLady Posts: 4,084 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>you're sooo much more then the penny lady charmyness...you're like an icon
    a best selling book can be comprised of these threads you assemble with so much down to earth class

    as for this one
    you truly take us deep behind the scenes here
    i must admit
    pcgs appeared light in amount of staff for the amount of work/processing they achieve
    i'm impressed with the proficiency in that regard

    as to stacks
    i was hoping to see a grand vault that would of paralleled a banks finest or something
    about what i figured though except their diversity

    i also found lack of side arms a bit odd but i'm sure some hidden snipers got entrances covered fine and dandy

    excellent piece here charmy
    cookies fer yoo
    image >>



    Teddy, thank you. By the way, several people were away at lunch when I was there. Also, most of the photos I took only encompassed half the room so it is hard to judge the size of their facility from my photos. I was actually impressed with how large their offices are. Don said they had approximately 200 employees (including administrative, finance, etc.) in that building.
    Charmy Harker - The Penny Lady®
    President of Women in Numismatics

    ThePennyLady.com
    imageimageimage
  • lasvegasteddylasvegasteddy Posts: 10,390 ✭✭✭
    "Don said they had approximately 200 employees (including administrative, finance, etc.) in that building."
    wow
    that's a larger then figured staff then counting those roof top snipers...image
    everything in life is but merely on loan to us by our appreciation....lose your appreciation and see


  • I would have less concern with the no gloves philosphy if not for the tub of Red Vines candy also in the grading room.
    image
  • BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 27,772 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>I would have less concern with the no gloves philosphy if not for the tub of Red Vines candy also in the grading room. >>



    Peacemonkey, Guess your parents didn't teach you that money was dirty and to wash your hands before touching food image image
    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
  • AuroraBorealisAuroraBorealis Posts: 3,465 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Wow Charmy what a treat! That incite into Stacks/Bowers and especially PCGS is fabulous... Thank you so much for another great thread...

    AB image
  • bestclser1bestclser1 Posts: 5,699 ✭✭✭
    Charmy,great report!image
    Great coins are not cheap,and cheap coins are not great!
  • 1tommy1tommy Posts: 2,588 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Great post but the bulk grading room looks like a snack shop. Redvines, water bottles and what looks like an energy drink sitting around. >>

    Well first thanks for the pictures and the post, This did answer my question about the 25th anniversary sets being graded in the bulk room and all the questions that arose during that grading period and the pop reports....hmmm interesting. Enjoy image
    https://youtu.be/fHQeYmJuN9M
    King of Radio Contest Video.......

    https://youtu.be/UayFm2yCHV8
    Long Version of Radio Contest


    Link to My Registry Set.

    https://pcgs.com/setregistry/quarters/washington-quarters-specialty-sets/washington-quarters-complete-variety-set-circulation-strikes-1932-1964/publishedset/78469

    Varieties Are The Spice Of LIFE and Thanks to Those who teach us what to search For.
  • gonzergonzer Posts: 2,227 ✭✭✭
    Thanks Charmy! A super-interesting peek-behind-the-scenes tour.
  • LongacreLongacre Posts: 16,700 ✭✭✭
    Excessively cool post. The Corporate Suits have nice offices.
    Always took candy from strangers
    Didn't wanna get me no trade
    Never want to be like papa
    Working for the boss every night and day
    --"Happy", by the Rolling Stones (1972)
  • etexmikeetexmike Posts: 6,929 ✭✭✭
    Fantastic job. Thanks so much for the thread. image


    Mike
  • First time I can recall anyone posting a look inside the PCGS offices - very interesting Charmy.
  • goldengolden Posts: 5,078 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Super report!
  • TURBOTURBO Posts: 460
    What do you have in store for us next!? image Can't wait!
  • CasmanCasman Posts: 3,960
    Awesome report and a great inside look at how things are done. BTW, I did nominate you in that thread about hereos!!image
  • mrearlygoldmrearlygold Posts: 17,824 ✭✭✭
    Great thread and thanks for the pics!
  • StaircoinsStaircoins Posts: 2,367 ✭✭✭
    Terrific report, Charmy.

    Thanks! image
  • shorecollshorecoll Posts: 4,612 ✭✭✭✭
    If the SAE problems were red spots instead of white...it would be solved. People telling jokes in the bulk grading room while people are eating RedVines=inadvertent red spray...maybe it's an interaction between solvents and candy...Hmmm!!!

    P.S...tell them it's Red, Red WINE...not Red, Red Vine...sheesh!!!
    ANA-LM, NBS, EAC
  • astroratastrorat Posts: 7,783 ✭✭✭✭
    Glad to see my name is still on the Authorized Personnel list for the PCGS Vault.

    Great thread, Charmy. Did you spend time chatting with Charley? He's a heckuva nice guy.

    Lane
    Numismatist Ordinaire
    See http://www.doubledimes.com for a free online reference for US twenty-cent pieces
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