What’s In A Picture?

Posted on August 23, 2010 by

A Condition Census is a listing of the top examples known (usually five or ten)  of a particular coin.  The best way to create an accurate Condition  Census is to place the coins side by side, make  physical comparison, and rank them by condition.  However, in real life, this is usually impossible because the best coins are scattered among collections in different parts of the country, or they may be held by institutions that are reluctant to release them, or the whereabouts of some of the coins are simply not known.  So, in real life, the next best way to create a condition census is to create a visual library of the best coins by gathering high-quality images of as many of the best coins as possible.

Current technology makes it very easy to take an image, put it in the proper format, and transmit it electronically via the Internet or email.  Issues still exist with different “looks” created by inconsistent lighting and imaging techniques but it is still much easier to identify the same coin in different photographs today than it was years ago using dot-matrix images in auction catalogues.  It is also much easier to differentiate coins, which can be just as important as matching them.

PCGS CoinFacts is developing a Condition Census for all U.S. coins, using a combination of PCGS True-View images, PCGS grades, a visual examination of raw or non-PCGS graded coins through the lens of PCGS grading, and the help of leading experts.  For many U.S. coins, we already have the Condition Census listing in place…now it’s a matter of gathering the images.  At shows and in-house, PCGS is imaging as many important, Condition Census-quality coins as possible.  Most of the numismatic auction houses are participating, as well.  Experts and specialists are helping us round up images or putting us in touch with collectors who possess important coins.

In our opinion, the PCGS CoinFacts Condition Census adds value by identifying coins of special importance…those that are the finest of their kind.  The U.S. coin market is driven by quality, and collectors and dealers have shown their willingness to pay significant premiums for the best coins.

For a limited time, PCGS is offering the following deals to entice you to send your coins in for imaging:

Submit your coin for grading through PCGS Secure Plus™ at the standard fee, and; if it is a Condition Census candidate, we will take a TrueView™ photograph at no additional charge (a $20 savings). Your coin will then take its place of recognition as a member of the PCGS CoinFacts Condition Census. The TrueView photograph will of course be available to you as well.


Submit your coin simply for photographing and, if it is a Condition Census candidate, we will take a TrueView photo and reholder your coin in a PCGS Secure Plus holder for only $20 (a $20 savings).  Your coin will then take its place of recognition as a member of the PCGS CoinFacts Condition Census. The TrueView photograph will of course also be available to you.

Plus, if you have a Condition Census coin photographed under this special offer we will give you – at no additional charge – a one-month subscription to PCGS CoinFacts!  Or if you’re already a PCGS CoinFacts subscriber we will extend your subscription one month for free!  (Limit one free month subscription per person.)

To take advantage of this offer, simply complete your submission form as usual and write “Condition Census Offer” in the “Other” box at the top of the submission form.  If you have any questions call PCGS Customer Service at 800-447-8848.

What’s in a picture?  Something that can’t be transmitted in words, even a thousand of them.  If you own a Condition Census candidate, contact us so that your coin can be included in the PCGS CoinFacts Condition Census.

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Comments (1)


  1. David in tampa says:

    I have these rolls of 1895 Morgon dollars that appeared to be from the mint From the story of my great grandfather who was with the rail road and picked them up for the mint for my grandomothers birth and Have maybe been opened once or twice and want to get them graded but do not want to mail them off They say PCGS is the best grading but I am not sure. Is there a local person I can meet with with your grading company here in Tampa for these rolls

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