pictures of two extremely rare 1793 Chain Cents. It is estimated that only
a few dozen Chain Cents are known in VF grade. Each of the above examples
are both graded VF 20 by ACCGS and PCGS, with ACCGS noting that both the
front and the back of the coin grade the same, VF 20/VF 20. This is
important, as often these coins were softly struck on either one side or
the other. PCGS averages the grade of both sides into one single grade,
which in my opinion, is not only highly subjective, but also poor
Question: Who do you think is the more accurate grading service in
the case of the above two examples?
Answer: In my thirty years of experience in buying 1793 Chain Cents
of all types and grades, I have to say that the ACCGS VF20/20 is right on
the money with their grading of these important coins. In my opinion, the
PCGS coin above is no more than Fine on BOTH sides, and after sending two
of the ACCGS graders a picture of the coin, with the PCGS grade covered,
they both agreed. With over a $5,000 value difference between Fines and
VFs the person buying the PCGS example above might be making a very costly
mistake. Additionally, PCGS not only charged more and took longer than
ACCGS to grade the above coin, but they didn't even attribute the coin.
The ACCGS coin holder denotes their example as a Sheldon-4, an even more
rare variety with periods after "Liberty" and the date.
Attribution as well as grading the coins on both sides is very important
for all early coins, as the difference between one Sheldon variety and
another can also be several thousand dollars per coin. So truly we all
need both 20/20 Vision and 20/20 Experience to grade a valuable coin VF
20/20 when price difference can be so profound.