Conventional numismatic wisdom believes PCGS Old Green Holders (OGH) are conservatively graded and should be submitted for possible upgrades. Personally, I find OGH unreliable for upgrades because dozens of coin books have recommended resubmissions for years now, and the best have been sent in; but, more to the point, the remaining “Rattlers” are inconsistent. Some are undergraded, to be sure; however, others are accurately graded, and many overgraded–yes, OGH coins can be overgraded by today’s PCGS standards. (Look for a post on that soon.)
However, when it comes to crossovers rather than resubmissions, I have had good fortune submitting to PCGS old small ANACS holders.
Just as Rattler coins vary in terms of consistency, when viewed in light of current-day standards (see PCGS Photograde™ Online), so do coins in old small ANACS holders. The difference is fewer coins in old small ANACS holders have been submitted for crossover, and spectacular finds are still available at discount prices–provided, once again, that you know how to grade.
I spend a lot of time online and at shows assessing which ANACS coins to purchase. The consistency is more unreliable than PCGS OGH coins, and overgraded examples are easy to dismiss. Undergraded ones are rare, but do occur. Correctly graded ones are relatively plentiful and can bring a nice premium in a PCGS holder if you are an investor or an inexpensive addition to your set if you participate in PCGS or NGC registries.
I purchased the 1890 Morgan graded MS64 in an ANACS holder, depicted above. This is a somewhat rare find, an undergraded ANACS coin according to PCGS standards. I felt the coin was gem, and in this case, cracked it open so that the PCGS grader would not be influenced by the holder. (Normally PCGS graders are not when crossing over coins; upgrades do happen but are rare occurrences.)
As you can see, the coin graded MS65, increasing in value from about $150 to $1900. (Click all photos to enlarge.)
After several months of cherry-picking small ANACS coins, I sent in two crossover submissions to PCGS. These three pricey coins–an 1893-S AG3, an 1895-O EF45, and an 1880-CC MS64–all crossed over.
A month later I sent in a second submission, which included four Morgans: 1901 AU55, 1880-O EF40 Hot Lips VAM-4, 1887/6 MS62 VAM-2, and 1883 Toned MS64. Again, all crossed over:
Typically, only about a third of coins in other slabs cross over to PCGS. That has less to do with the company’s high standards as the submitter’s grading eye. And that’s the lesson of this post.
To become an accurate grader, you need to view dozens if not thousands of coins until you can establish accuracy by testing your eye with a crossover submission. I like PCGS Photograde™ Online because you can study characteristics at length and relate them to the coins you own. The trick is to be conservative in your appraisals. For instance, even though there are exceptions, I will reject as a candidate for gem MS65 one small bag mark–even in the field, rather than on the cheek–on the obverse of an otherwise pristine Morgan dollar.
Learning to crossover coins is not about the holder, per se; it is about the coin and whether you can select ones that rate premium quality. Otherwise you will be buying PCGS and NGC coins at retail rather than discount prices. (Keep in mind NGC only considers PCGS coins for crossover, so you will have to crack open ANACS and other slabbed coins–risking damage because of NGC’s curious policy.)
Because of my budget, buying and sending in to PCGS crossover coins is the only way I know how to enhance my set registry at bargain prices.
Have you had luck with old small ANACS coins? If so, please tell us about that!