Can you name the third party grading services?
When I thought about this question I came up with NGC, PGCS, ICG, and ANACS. I did think about DGS, but they were shutdown last year. But recently, I received an email with an advertisement from another third party grading service that may not be on most people’s RADAR: SEGS.
SEGS started as Sovereign Entities Grading Service but seems to have dropped the full name. While not considered one of the top-tier grading services, SEGS was known as the service that would best attribute the variety of the coin in their holders.
In the past, I have said that competition is good in any market, including amongst the third-party grading services, but who is SEGS competing against? Right now, NCG and PCGS are at the top of the heap. The new ANACS seems to have sold its soul to the television hucksters while ICG showed promise a but lost ground in the shakeup caused by ANACS. Where does SEGS fit into this ecosystem?
SEGS boasts their consultants include Larry Briggs, Jeff Oxman, and Bill Fivaz—all well known numismatic experts in their areas. But is that enough? How is SEGS’ grading abilities compared to the other services? How does the market feel about their service?
Based on the 2006 survey conducted by the Professional Numismatic Guild (PNG) and Industry Council For Tangible Assets (ICTA), SEGS Was rated “Poor” along with the now defunct PCI. NCG and PCGS were rated “Superior” while ANACS and ICG were rated as “Good.” There seems to be little market movement that has changed the perception of those ratings.
Competition is good and should be welcome in any market. However, if SEGS is going to survive in this already tight market, they must figure out how to differentiate themselves from their competitors. All of these grading services have noted experts and consultants. They all provide attribution services and their prices range from the affordable to the premium. Just being better is not enough.
NOTE: This is the first post I created on my new iPad. As a touch typist, it will take some getting used to since there are no real keys to touch. Also, I need to download the app that allows me to type short codes I use on my Mac for better formatting of these posts. Otherwise, I think I can take the iPad on the road and still write blog posts—including reviews of coin-related iPad apps.