The Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) team has gained three new members bringing a wide range of numismatic knowledge and business acumen. Well-known banknote and counterfeit expert Bruce Thornton has joined as the Director of Banknote Grading; numismatic educator and vintage coin grader Steve Feltner began a role as Director of Numismatic Education and Outreach; and Michael Oviedo, business development expert, has taken on the role of Director of International Business.
As the Director of Banknote Grading, Thornton’s initial focus will be building PCGS’ existing banknote business in the China and Asia markets.
Thornton is a professional banknote expert with more than 20 years of experience working in the industry. His passion for banknotes began early in his life while working at his father’s business where he gained exposure to banknote dealing and collecting. He is now one of the world’s foremost experts in grading and authentication of banknotes and is particularly recognized for his knowledge and expertise in counterfeits.
“I sold my first banknote years ago at the young age of 12 to a popular banknote and coin dealer from China/Asia. I had a different childhood than most, and I could look notes up in the Pick catalog before I could tie my shoes,” reflected Thornton. After obtaining a degree in International Politics in the mid-1990s, Thornton began working in the banknote industry full time, traveling to shows and shops around the world.
Thornton worked for nearly 10 years as a Grader/Senior Finalizer while participating in the collecting community in China and Asia to establish the market acceptance of certified banknotes throughout the world. He is also an educator, sharing knowledge through lectures and seminars worldwide and has taught classes on banknote grading at the ANA Summer Seminar. Thornton is a member of PCDA (Professional Currency Dealers Association), IBNS, ANA, FUN, and ICTA. He has served on numerous boards and was a Governor of the PCDA.
Through his travels pursuing, examining, and buying paper money, Thornton gained unparalleled expertise in a variety of numismatic areas.
“PCGS and Collectors Universe as a whole are in a class by themselves, and I’m excited about becoming a part of the team and welcome this unique opportunity,” said Thornton.
Outside of banknotes, Thornton spends his free time traveling and collecting rare books particularly first edition books by Ernest Hemingway and Jack Kerouac.
In his role as Director of Numismatic Education and Outreach, Steve Feltner hopes to inspire collectors young and old. He began collecting at the age of 8 and was immediately hooked on the history and number of amazing designs.
“My young mind was captivated, and I was insatiable in my quest for knowledge,” he reflected.
At the age of 13 he became heavily involved with the American Numismatic Association and began attending their Summer Seminars. It was the ANA and their programs that were the catalyst to his future career paths. He has been to Summer Seminar nearly 20 years, and just finished his eighth consecutive year as a grading course instructor.
At the age of 25, he was asked to test grade at PCGS for an opening in the vintage room and accepted a full-time position.
“I was a vintage grader for a bit over three years and learned a great deal sitting next to some of the sharpest graders and numismatic minds of our generation,” Feltner recounted.
He later moved to Sacramento and helped found a successful coin company that he built over four years.
“I could not be more excited about this role with PCGS as I feel it is a perfect fit for my desire to educate while continuing to learn from those around me. My goal is to be an open and available resource to share the love of this amazing hobby. I believe that the future of numismatics is bright, so long as we all work together to make positive adaptations to an ever-changing market,” said Feltner.
Michael Oviedo has joined PCGS as the Director of International Business and will be operating from the PCGS Asia office in Shanghai, China. Oviedo obtained both an MA in Philosophy from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. His rigorous study of the Chinese language allowed him to pass the HSK6, the highest level of proficiency on China’s national language exam. After completing his education, he began working as an investment director for Related Companies, one of the largest real estate developers in the U.S. and the largest in New York. Oviedo was based in the company’s Shanghai office where he managed new business development and market research for the China Market.
Oviedo eventually returned to the U.S. to work for his family’s non-profit organization – HKA Projects for Sustainability – organizing the Managing Sustainability in Dentistry conference in Reykjavik, Iceland. It was the first of its kind in dentistry and has since led to the American College of Dentists. Its publication – Journal of the American College of Dentists – is a leading academic journal for the dental profession.
“I come from a family of collectors, so joining CU is an amazing opportunity, especially since this role combines both my passion for collectibles and experience in Asia,” said Oviedo. “My goal is to continue market growth by utilizing the talents of the existing team and building on the successes of our global offices.”
Oviedo’s father built the Dr. George F Oviedo Collection, of which several coins ended up in leading collections such as the D. Brent Pogue Collection.
“PCGS is dedicated to cultivating a culture of knowledge and experience to bring the best possible service to the coin collecting industry. While PCGS already has the best grading and support staff in numismatics, these new key hires ensure our commitment to continuously improve and expand the overall quality and breadth of our services,” said PCGS President Brett Charville.
* * *
For information about PCGS products and services, including how to submit your coins for authentication and grading, visit www.PCGS.com or call PCGS Customer Service at (800) 447-8848.