NGC Discontinues First Strike Designation
In the December issue of our newsletter, we reported that separate class-action lawsuits had been filed in Florida against two of the leading third party coin grading and authentication companies concerning their designations of certain coins as “First Strikes.” The suits allege the companies are violating unfair trade practices laws of their home states. One of the companies, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), has since announced that it will no longer label modern bullion coins, such as gold and silver American Eagles, as first strikes. It will instead offer an “Early Release” designation.
An advisory issued by the United States Mint during 2006 noted that approximately 50% of the projected sales numbers for its uncirculated bullion coins are struck before shipments begin and that the order in which the coins are packed or shipped is not an indication of the order in which they were struck.
NGC’s new designation is more consistent with what’s actually known about the striking and release of modern bullion coins. It remains to be seen whether coins designated “Early Release” as well as coins previously labeled “First Strike” will command any significant premium in the marketplace. The willingness of some buyers to pay more for “first strike” coins has been at least partially based on the assumption that they were struck early in the life of coin dies, before stress, wear and metal fatigue began to affect the dies in ways that may be visible on struck coins. We see no reason why coin prices should in any way be based on when they left the Mint.
(via Telesphere Newsletter)