Last February, the owners of David Lawrence Rare Coins bought the assets of PCI, the fledgling grading service from suburban Atlanta, Georgia in an absolute sale auction. DLRC then packed up the assets and moved the service to their location in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Rather than trying to rescue the PCI name, DLRC President John Feigenbaum later announced that the service would be rebranded as Dominion Grading Service (DGS) and begin accepting grading submissions in May. Feigenbaum said that DGS would work to earn the trust of collectors and add new innovations to their service.
As part of the announcement, Feigenbaum said that as submission are processed, two services will be available from the DGS web site. Both are now online. One was AuthentiVIEW.™ AuthentiVIEW is a free imaging service for all coins DGS grades valued at over $100. Coins imaged by AuthentiVIEW will be announced on the label and the image will be saved on the DGS website. DGS says that the purpose is to help those trading DGS slabs identify the coin that is supposed to be in the slab. It is DGS’s attempt to fight the counterfeiting of grading holders.
The other service is a Visual Population Report using the images from the AuthentiVIEW service and Net Grading of problem coins. The Visual Population Report is a standard table format that shows the population for each coin graded by DGS. Coins that have AuthentiVIEW images can be seen by clicking on the link in the table.
Imaging and the Visual Population Report are great ideas. The images are of varying sizes with nice clarity. It is an impressive service. The only complaint I have with the Visual Population Report is that there are too many popup windows. One windows opens when the link in the Visual Population Report is clicked and another for viewing larger images of the coins. I think they should eliminate the first popup window.
On May 21, 2008, as part of a press release, DGS announces that they will be adding a “D” to the serial number of the coins they grade that were submitted by DLRC. Feigenbaum explains, “In this manner collectors can judge for themselves whether we been careless in grading our own material.” I have no experience with purchasing DLRC coins graded by DGS so I cannot comment whether they have been careless or not. I have purchased other coins from DLRC in the past and see no reason why I wouldn’t buy from them in the future.
Last week, Feigenbaum wrote on his blog that DGS has graded 2,000 coins. It is quite an accomplishment in 2½ months for a company taking over a damaged brand and trying to break into a market with two dominant forces. While Feigenbaum wrote, “[w]e’re doing this the hard way… one collector coin at a time,” there was no indication as to how many of these coins were submitted by DLRC versus collectors and dealers.
I wrote, “DGS has a long way to go to reach the reputation of the recognized second-tier services. I wish them luck and look forward to see how the industry receives their service.” DGS appears to be on their way to contending in this market. Let’s see if they have the announcement at the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money® starting July 30 in Baltimore.