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HomeNumismatic TermsPQ - What Does it Mean to Coin and Paper Money Collectors?

PQ – What Does it Mean to Coin and Paper Money Collectors?

PQ is an acronym for “Premium Quality”, meaning a coin that is strong for the grade (in other words, a coin with premium eye appeal). This term is often used to market coins and should not always be taken at face value by a buyer. A coin that is PQ will be aesthetically more pleasing than others in the same grade, or be technically superior than other coins in the same grade. The three major grading services–CAC, NGC, and PCGS–apply a “plus grade” to coins that their graders consider premium for the assigned grade. The CAC stickering service also applied Green and Gold stickers to NGC- and PCGS-graded coins to the convey the same point, though Gold stickers specifically denote that CAC considers a coin as PQ for the next higher grade than what is on the certified coin’s label.

1880/79-S Morgan dollar graded PCGS MS68 CAC PQ. From the Illinois Set. Marketed by Barry Stuppler. Image: Mint State Gold.
1880/79-S Morgan dollar graded PCGS MS68 CAC PQ. From the Illinois Set. Marketed by Barry Stuppler. Image: Mint State Gold.

1880/79-S Morgan dollar graded PCGS MS68 CAC PQ. From the Illinois Set. Marketed by Barry Stuppler. Image: Mint State Gold.

“PQ” may also refer to a holographic sticker applied to graded coins by dealer Barry Stuppler. Stuppler’s concept was fashioned after CAC (Certified Acceptance Corporation), but unlike CAC, it did not catch on widely.

Stuppler’s website, www.pqapproved.com, states the following eight criteria for the application of a PQ sticker:

  1. Great eye appeal
  2. Only PCGS- and NGC-certified coins
  3. Excellent strike
  4. Great mint luster
  5. No major copper or carbon spots
  6. Above average for the grade
  7. No major mint defects
  8. No toning except rainbow

A March 2024 review of that company’s published population data indicates that the PQ-approved sticker has been mainly applied to Saint-Gaudens double eagles and Morgan and Peace silver dollars, with other series having zero coins or very few coins certified.

1863 Tallahassee $1 Obsolete Banknote. State of Florida. PCGS Currency Very Fine 35 PPQ. Image: Stack’s Bowers.
1863 Tallahassee $1 Obsolete Banknote. State of Florida. PCGS Currency Very Fine 35 PPQ. Image: Stack’s Bowers.

PQ is also an acronym for “Paper Quality”. Paper money expert Jason W. Bradford invented the terms EPQ (“Exceptional Paper Quality”) and PPQ (“Premium Paper Quality”) while with PCGS Currency.
 

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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