About CAC Grading
Why is CAC different than other grading services?
CAC does not grade coins. CAC verifies that the grade a coin has been given is accurate and the coin is solid for the grade.
The founder, John Albanese, is one of the most respected people in the coin business. He started or owned part of both PCGS and NGC. Mr. Albanese grew tired of over-grading that is rampant in today's market and decided to do something about it. CAC was a way he could provide a service to ensure collectors and investors that the coin they are purchasing is solid for the grade.
Coin buyers, whether they are collectors, investors or otherwise, need to feel confident that the grade on the holder reflects the grade of the coin in it. Most coin buyers cannot be expected to be able to grade coins. They need to be able to rely on the grading service. Due to the proliferation of massive over-grading throughout the years, many coins are not accurately graded.
CAC looks at the coin's grade and if they agree that it is solid for the grade, they affix a green CAC sticker on the holder.
Traditional grading services need to continually grade coins in order to be profitable. Many coins are submitted over and over again in an attempt to obtain a higher grade for the owner. Resubmitting rarely happens at CAC. They hardly ever change their opinion of a coin.
Recently, PCGS has introduced Secure and + (plus) grading. NGC has also started + (plus) grading. We believe this is a result of CAC and the massive over-grading that has been prevalent for many years. However, many + coins do not receive a CAC sticker.
The PCGS Secure service is designed to take an image of the coin so that it can never be resubmitted for an upgrade. We believe that this service should be mandatory for ALL coins and not only coins that are submitted for their + grading.
We applaud PCGS and NGC for their efforts to improve the industry.
What makes CAC stand out from other services?
CAC offers a bid price that they will pay for ANY CAC coin. This guarantees that all CAC coins are 100% liquid. A dealer cannot tell a seller that the coin is not the grade on the holder. CAC does not need to see a coin it has previously stickered. They bid on every coin, sight unseen! It is unheard of and unprecedented for a grading service to stand behind their work in this manner.
What percentage of coins receives the CAC sticker?
CAC states that around 40% of coins they receive are approved. However, this figure must be examined. We believe the actual number of coins that are approved by CAC to be 15-20% or perhaps less.
Dealers, auction houses and others do not send all their coins to CAC. They know how stringent CAC is and therefore usually only submit their better coins for CAC approval. We estimate that submitters send at most 50% of their coins to CAC. So if dealer X has 100 coins and sends CAC 50, of which 40% are approved, the approval rate of their entire inventory is only 20%. If you were a dealer, auction house or a collector why wouldn't you want to have your better coins stickered by CAC? We believe most of the better coins that are for sale would NOT CAC. The CAC fees are much less than the increased value CAC approval adds to the coin. Why would coin owners and dealers not want to add value to their coins by adding the CAC sticker?
How come more dealers do not promote CAC coins?
This is a difficult question. Dealers are having a tough time coming to terms with CAC because a large percentage of their coins will not meet the CAC guidelines. Many dealers do not agree with CAC's opinion of coins they evaluate. Even if they are correct and CAC is far too strict, it does NOT matter to the collector or investor. It is in the buyer's best interest to own coins with the CAC sticker. Why not buy the best?
Heritage seems to be moving towards selling more CAC coins. Their January 2010 Platinum sale, (better coins) offered 20% CAC coins. The Boston ANA Signature Sale includes 14%. CAC population reports have been added to the coin data provided in their auction listings.
CAC continues to flourish and more buyers are demanding CAC coins. The price difference between CAC coins and non CAC coins is growing. Dealers are unable to find enough CAC coins to meet their demands at prices they want to pay. In the future, it is possible that many coins will need to be downgraded in order to be more saleable and become CAC approved. As time passes, buyers are becoming more knowledgeable and no longer buying many coins at the stated grade on the holder if the CAC sticker is not present. Many coins seem to languish on dealers' websites and in their showcases.
We do not understand why a coin buyer in most cases would not want the best coins available for the grade. Sure, there are many correctly grades coins that do not have the CAC sticker, but there are more than enough CAC coins, so why purchase anything else?
Do coin dealers like CAC?
For the most part no, but they have to deal with it and adapt. They respect CAC and what Mr. Albanese is doing for the coin market, but as CAC grows the coin business will change. For many years, dealers have been able to easily sell coins based on the grade of the leading grading services. More buyers are now demanding CAC coins. Unless dealers change their business methods, they will have many mediocre, hard to sell coins in their inventory. Most dealers will not readily admit that CAC coins are usually the first coins to sell.
Why purchase CAC Coins?
We CANNOT understand why someone who loves coins would not purchase mostly, if not ALL, CAC coins. Why would a buyer want ANY uncertainty as to what they are buying? Why not buy the best coins with the strictest grading? There are enough CAC coins to satisfy any budget. In over twenty-five years of buying and selling all kinds of collectibles, we can attest to the fact that it is far easier to sell the best of any item rather than an average or mediocre piece where the grade could be questioned.
Is CAC perfect?
Of course not, certain coins can be on the borderline and not receive CAC approval. Many dealers are upset that CAC will not approve their coins.
However, WHO CARES? A CAC collector or an investor does not care if certain coins were borderline and CAC chose not to approve them.
Is there a reason to purchase coins other than CAC?
Yes, occasionally a coin is beautiful but it did not CAC so we may still purchase it. If you are building a specific set and must have a certain coin you might buy a non CAC coin until you find one that has the CAC sticker. But, other than that WHY would you? CAC coins are the top for their grade.
"Buy The Best, Forget The Rest"