Coins of the ancient Greek and Roman world sometimes are expensive.
For example, in recent years two Greek silver coins were sold at auction by the firm Numismatica Ars Classica for more than $2.5 million each, and it is no longer unusual for extraordinary ancient coins to command six figures.
However, not all Greek and Roman coins are in the price stratosphere. In fact, the great majority of all ancient coins known today have collector values of less than $100 each. Such a friendly price-point allows collectors of all means to participate in our hobby, and to study the relics of bygone civilizations.
With this in mind, NGC has introduced an Economy tier for ancient coins. From its inception on January 1, 2015, this tier has proven popular, and the most affordable ancient coins are now being submitted in ever-great numbers. As awareness of this streamlined service becomes more widely known, we expect this trend to continue.
Before this tier was introduced, the only way to submit ancients to NGC at an especially low price point was on the Bulk tier, which has a 50-coin minimum. Though the Bulk tier is still in place, and remains popular, it has been supplemented with the Economy tier for those who do not intend to submit 50 or more coins.
The grading fee for the Economy tier is $25/coin, compared to $40/coin for ancients submitted on the Standard tier. The price differential is especially important for ancients of modest value. If 50 or more ancients of a similar type are submitted, of course, collectors can still take advantage of our Bulk tier, which is even more affordable at just $20/coin.
With all of this in mind, let’s look at the differences between the Standard and Economy/Bulk tiers:
- Grading. Economy or Bulk coins are “net graded”, meaning they receive a single grade that takes into account not only wear, but all other aspects of their appearance. Coins sent in on the Standard tier are graded for wear, but also receive separate evaluations for the quality of their strike and surface.
- Identification. Economy and Bulk coins receive a basic identification, which includes the issuing authority, a date range, and the denomination. Standard submissions are provided with that same, basic information, but also are provided with additional information, which typically includes a description of the designs. When applicable, it also includes a mint and/or a precise date.
- Weight. The weight of any coin submitted on the Standard tier (or higher) is recorded and included on the tag; the weights of Economy tier coins are not recorded.
- Value limit. The maximum value per coin for the Economy tier is $300, compared to $3,000 for the Standard tier. Any coins submitted on the Economy tier with values clearly in excess of $300 will be moved automatically to Standard (or a higher tier if the value exceeds $3,000), and thus will receive full evaluations.
We should note that even if ancient coins have collector values of less than $300, not all ancients are eligible for the Economy tier. If they are of especially challenging or esoteric types requiring more than the usual level of research, and/or they are of such thickness that they require double-thick holders, they may be moved to a tier of Standard or higher.
In addition to the parameters just described for the Economy tier, we may add that coins submitted on the Bulk tier must be of a similar type to qualify. A group of 50+ coins with greatly varying types may be deemed ineligible for Bulk. However, in these cases we’ll do our best to segregate those coins between the Standard and Economy tiers in a way that allows the group to be processed at the least possible expense for the submitter.