A Letter from Mark Salzberg

Posted on 1/6/2014

The Chairman of the Certified Collectibles Group thanks supporters and comments on last year's successes.

Dear Fellow Numismatists:

2013 was a monumental year for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), marked by magnificent collections, outstanding auction results, and rapid international expansion. I am truly humbled by the support we continue to receive from collectors and dealers around the world, and I am immensely proud of the accomplishments of NGC's impeccable team.

When NGC was founded 26 years ago, we employed three graders in a small office in Parsippany, New Jersey. With an uncompromising commitment to accuracy, consistency and integrity, we have grown to have 30 full-time graders and nine locations around the world. In August we opened an office in Munich, Germany and in November we celebrated our new grading center in Shanghai, China. In just a few weeks we will open an office in Hong Kong, China.

NGC now has locations in Sarasota, Florida; Zurich, Switzerland; Munich, Germany; Guangzhou and Shanghai, China; Hong Kong, China; Seoul, Korea; Singapore; and Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China. As our global expansion continues, we remain committed to the standards and ideals that have made NGC the world's largest third-party coin grading company for many years in a row.

Early next year NGC will reach a new milestone when it becomes the first service to have graded 30 million coins. We have been privileged to grade many of the world’s greatest numismatic treasures in the last 26 years, and in 2013 we certified selections from a truly legendary collection—a highlight of my career.

The Eric P. Newman Collection, assembled by the 102-year old researcher and writer over more than 90 years, is considered by many to be the last of the great old-time collections. This year NGC was chosen to certify the first three parts of the Newman Collection. The record-breaking sales of Part I and II, which achieved aggregate results of nearly $27.5 million, have dominated industry headlines over the past year.

After Newman Part II exceeded presale estimates by more than 50%, prominent numismatist John Albanese commented that the sale was “a game-changer for NGC and the rare coin market.” We are honored that Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society continues to entrust NGC to certify selections from this historic collection. In just a few days the highly anticipated third installment will be sold by Heritage Auctions in New York City.

The Bonhams sale of the Tacasyl Collection, which was entirely certified by NGC, also shattered records earlier this year when 27 US gold coins were sold for a total of nearly $10.8 million! These sales not only show strength of the US rare coin market, but also demonstrate the wide collector base for NGC-certified coins.

Impressive results for NGC-certified rarities over the past year have not been limited to US coins. On August 13, Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold the Thos. H. Law Collection of English Gold Coins, which included a number of rare and valuable NGC-certified pieces.

The 1831 William IV Gold Crown graded NGC PF 63 Ultra Cameo sold for an astonishing $305,500, and an NGC PF 62 example of the famous 1839 Una and the Lion Gold 5 Pounds sold for $105,750. Additional NGC-certified rarities from the Thos. H. Law Collection will be sold on January 11, 2014, in New York City.

On December 18 in Shanghai, Champion Auction sold two NGC PF 69 Ultra Cameo China 1992 Inventions and Discoveries one kilogram gold pieces for a combined total of more than $1.5 million!

Numismatic Conservation Services (NCS), an affiliate of NGC, expertly conserved the two Inventions and Discoveries coins prior to grading. Founded in 2001, NCS was the first professional coin conservation service and has now handled nearly 600,000 coins with a total value of $1 billion. NCS has an incredibly wide range of experience, having conserved million-dollar kilo-sized coins, numerous vintage rarities, countless modern coins and everything in between.

Another affiliate of NGC, Paper Money Guaranty (PMG), had an outstanding year that was capped by its certification of the extraordinary D. Brent Pogue Collection of US Paper Money. Pogue, who is also a prominent collector of US coins, carefully assembled a collection that includes many finest known examples, special serial numbers, “Star” notes and other extreme rarities under the guidance of dealer Larry Hanks.

Pogue called PMG the “gold standard,” a belief that is echoed by collectors and dealers around the world who prefer PMG-certified notes because of its expert and impartial grading, backed by the industry’s strongest guarantee of grade and authenticity. As a result, PMG-certified notes set record prices, including the world record price for any note, which was broken in June by a PMG VF 25 Series 1891 $1,000 Silver Certificate that sold for $2.6 million.

Earlier this year PMG became the first service to have graded more than 600,000 notes, a figure that includes more than 100,000 Chinese notes and more than 75,000 Korean notes. The world paper money market is quickly growing and our new offices will better meet the intense demand for PMG certification internationally.

The successes of the past year are poised to continue with two phenomenal NGC-certified rarities that will cross the auction block at this week’s FUN Show in Orlando, Florida. One is the Walter Perschke Brasher Doubloon, graded NGC MS 63, which is the finest of just seven surviving examples of the first gold coin struck in the United States. The last sale of a Brasher Doubloon occurred in November 2011 when an AU 50 specimen sold for nearly $7.4 million.

Another NGC-certified coin certain to make national news at the FUN Show is the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel graded NGC PF 64. The second finest of only five known and one of just three examples in private hands, this famed rarity was once the subject of an episode of Hawaii Five-0 and has an outstanding pedigree that includes such names as Eric P. Newman and King Farouk of Egypt. When it was last sold four years ago it realized a record price of $3,737,500.

As we expand, we remain focused on supporting the collector and dealer community that has been crucial to our success since 1987. NGC, NCS and PMG are major supporters of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), the Smithsonian Institution and a host of other organizations and museums. NGC and PMG are the official grading services of the ANA and PNG, and NCS is the official conservation service of those organizations.

NGC and PMG also offer a comprehensive suite of free, online educational resources to collectors and dealers. We have spent the past year enhancing NGC’s web research tools, including expanding our coin value guides, creating new NGC Registry Set categories, listing world coin auction results and adding fantastic images, detailed descriptions and more.

Our online NGC certification verification image database now includes photographs of more than 8 million NGC-certified coins. This year NGC also released more than a dozen foreign-language sites to better serve our international community, and in 2014 we will launch a Chinese language NGC Registry.

PMG has significantly expanded its PMG Notes Registry over the past year and now offers more than 1,100 set definitions from which to choose, including hundreds of sets for world paper money. In June, PMG launched a free World Paper Money Price Guide—the only online price guide for world notes. PMG also released Chinese and Korean versions of its website, which it will expand and enhance over the next year.

I am incredibly grateful for your support over the last 26 years and I look forward to many more great years ahead. Thank you all and have a happy and healthy New Year.

Best wishes,
Mark Salzberg Signature
Mark Salzberg

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