NGC’s 30th Anniversary
The chairman of CCG reflects on the highlights of 2016 and looks ahead to 2017
Dear Fellow Numismatists:
I hope that the new year is off to a great start for all of you. For me, this year is particularly special because it marks NGC’s 30th anniversary.
It is amazing how much has changed since 1987, when Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) first began operations.
In 1987, we were excited to receive 1,000 coins in a week. Now, we grade millions of coins each year.
In 1987, we employed three coin graders. Now, we employ more than 30 full-time coin graders.
In 1987, we had a tiny office in New Jersey. Now, we have a 60,000-square-foot headquarters in Florida, a 15,000-square-foot office in China, offices in Hong Kong and Germany, and Official Submission Centers in five countries.
There is one thing that has not changed since 1987, however, and that is NGC’s steadfast commitment to accuracy, consistency and integrity. We owe our success to the trust that collectors and dealers have placed in our expert services and we firmly believe that our future relies on a continued adherence to these key principles. I am incredibly grateful for all of your support.
As we look forward to the year ahead, I wanted to share some of our highlights from 2016.
NGC and its affiliates, Numismatic Conservation Services (NCS) and Paper Money Guaranty (PMG), accelerated their rapid international expansion. In November, our companies opened a state-of-the-art office in Shanghai that quadrupled the size of our previous office–which we had opened only a year earlier! We strengthened our relationships with key partners in China and forged new ones with other companies. It is a very exciting time for our companies in China and we are humbled by the incredible reception our companies have received.
Our offices in Germany and Hong Kong have also enjoyed a busy year as more collectors and dealers internationally learn about the benefits of expert and impartial authentication and grading. We look forward to growing alongside the hobby around the world.
In the United States and elsewhere, we have launched innovative programs for modern coins, in order to attract new and more diverse collectors to the hobby. Among these are individually hand-signed labels from some of the most recognized names in—and out of—the hobby, such as Elizabeth Jones, the 11th US Mint Chief Engraver; John Mercanti, the 12th US Mint Chief Engraver; Edmund Moy, the 38th US Mint Director; and the Gov. Hon. Mike Castle, the “Coinage Congressman.” Take a look at all of our signature labels here.
Besides these individually hand-signed labels, NGC built upon the concept of officially licensed labels that it pioneered several years ago. These labels connect the hobby with major organizations and companies to increase interest in coin collecting, especially among new demographics. Our officially licensed Major League Baseball (MLB) Club labels and DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda labels were especially popular this year.
At the opposite end of the spectrum from modern coins, NGC Ancients had another fantastic year. NGC launched its NGC Ancients division in 2008 to attribute, grade and encapsulate these beautiful and historic coins. It has since revolutionized this segment of the hobby by making it far more accessible to new collectors. In fact, I have started to collect ancient coins as a result of NGC Ancients.
Coins graded by NGC Ancients continue to appear in greater frequency in auctions around the world, where they set exceptional prices. In August 2016, for example, a silver shekel graded by NGC Ancients sold for an impressive $211,500 USD. The growth of NGC Ancients has given us the privilege of examining many extraordinary rarities.
Our other departments also enjoyed grading some truly phenomenal submissions this year. The D. Moore Collection, a diverse set of rare and exceptional world coins, was graded at the end of the year and will be sold in just a few days by Heritage Auctions at the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC).
Earlier in the year NGC had the opportunity to grade nearly 300 extraordinary gold coins recovered from the shipwreck of the 1715 Plate Fleet. Valued at more than $1,000,000, this group contains such gems as an NGC MS 66 Peru 1711-LM 2 Escudo and a Peru 1712-LM 8 Escudo graded NGC MS 64. We posted an image gallery of all of these coins, which I encourage everyone to look at.
We also certified the most valuable English coin, a 1344 Edward III “Double Leopard” that we graded NGC MS 62. This unusual denomination was struck for only a few months in 1344 and just three examples are known.
For United States coins, the most noteworthy was undoubtedly the Rev. Dr. James Gore King McClure Collection, which was assembled between the 1860s and 1930s and kept intact until its sale by Heritage Auctions in June. It was truly amazing to see Civil War tokens that the collector pulled directly from circulation during the Civil War! The McClure collection also included an 1895-O Morgan Dollar graded NGC MS 65 that later sold for $258,500, as well as a 1921-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar graded NGC MS 66 that realized $188,000. We also posted an image gallery of the McClure Collection for anyone who would like to see it.
A close second to the McClure Collection was a cache of rare Early American regulated gold coins that we certified in February. These important pieces of history include five coins that bear the hallmark of the famed goldsmith Ephraim Brasher, best known for his Brasher Doubloons. The submitter of these coins thought they were unusual but was unaware of their rarity and value until they were attributed and graded by NGC.
Finds like these have kept coin grading fun for me for the last 30 years!
While this past year had many highlights, our 30th anniversary year looks even more exciting. As always, the year begins with the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Show and this year we will display an NGC-certified rarity insured for $8 million: an 1861-P Paquet Reverse $20 graded NGC MS 67. We are also excited to host John Mercanti and Edmund Moy at our booth to sign portraits for free for show attendees.
The following week, the NYINC will be dominated by NGC-certified ancient and world rarities, including an NGC-certified 1880 Japan Proof Set, a number of exceptional British rarities, the D. Moore Collection and hundreds of coins graded by NGC Ancients. I cannot wait to see the results.
Early this year, we will also release a new mobile app in English and Chinese to make NGC’s research information even more accessible to collectors and dealers. We are also working on a major project to enhance the NGC Registry, the popular online tool that allows collectors to display their coins and compete with others for the best sets. These investments in technologies, coupled with innovative certification programs, help to bring new people into the hobby and expand it around the world.
The last 30 years have been such a dynamic time for NGC and for the hobby, but I am even more excited about what the future holds. I look forward to growing along with the hobby and celebrating our next milestones, while staying true to our founding principles of accuracy, consistency and integrity.
Thank you very much for all of your support.