Numismatic Guaranty Corporation
June 2002  
1. Inside NCS
2. Fingerprints and Conservation
3. Before and After
4. NCS To Prescreen NGC Token Submissions
5. Demand for NCS Rising Dramatically
6. Service Updates & Reminders


July 5-6
The Clearwater Coin Show

Harborview Center
Clearwater, FL

July 26-28
Wespnex Coin & Currency Show

Westchester County Center
White Plains, NY

July 31-August 4
Worlds Fair Of Money

New York Marriott Marquis
New York, NY


Inside NCS

Even though two coins may appear to have the same problem, the procedure undertaken to produce the best results may be different for each coin depending on the underlying surfaces. Knowing this, the NCS Evaluation and Conservation Team not only identifies the problem, but also carefully analyzes the condition and originality of the surface underneath. The condition of the coin's surface will not only affect the outcome of the conservation procedure, but also the appearance and grade of the coin after its completion.

Our evaluators have authenticated and graded millions of coins as collectors, dealers, numismatic conservators and professional graders, and apply this knowledge and experience to consistently judge what coins need and may benefit from conservation. This puts us in an exclusive category and is one of the reasons we are the recognized authority in numismatic conservation.

Few people have the experience to do this consistently, which is why NCS relies on an Evaluation Team that consists of the most knowledgeable and experienced numismatists in the hobby today. Our Evaluation Team includes two NGC Grading Finalizers who act as consultants and bring decades of experience to the table. The NCS Team are the foremost experts in the minting process, grading, numismatic conservation and most importantly, assessing surface condition.

Having the experience to know what coins need and will benefit from conservation makes all the difference and is why NCS has grown rapidly and gained immediate recognition.

Fingerprints and Conservation
F. Michael Fazzari
Senior Conservator

There is a correct way to handle your coins for a reason. Our hands contain body oils, which can be acidic. There are also a variety of other elements that we have come in contact with that, when transferred to the coin by improper handling, can cause permanent damage to a coin's surface. It is amazing how many coins we see at NCS with fingerprints. They not only make the coin unsightly, but also may permanently etch its surface if left untreated. The best way to deal with fingerprints is to avoid putting them on your coins... but accidents do occur.

If caught when they are fresh, fingerprints can be removed from a coin's surface. When removing fingerprints from a coin, use the mildest treatment possible. This will keep the coin in its most natural state of preservation and reduce the chances of damaging the coin's original surfaces or natural color. There is a big difference between submerging a coin in a solution and rubbing its surface with an abrasive chemical. There is a possibility of leaving hairlines on its surface if some dislodged grit is pushed around with the chemicals.

As a fingerprint's residues mature, they will "set" on the coin. In these cases, a mild acidic dip may be needed to remove it. If caught in time, and done professionally, there will be no trace of the print remaining and the coin can be returned to its original appearance. It is also extremely important to properly neutralize the coin to lessen the chances of problems developing in the future. In spite of what you may have read before, a few submersions in a very mild acidic solution may have no visible effect on a coin's originality, if they are performed properly and neutralized immediately. However, do not attempt this on copper coins.

If fingerprint residues are allowed to remain on a coin, they may actually etch the surface. Once this has occurred, it is virtually impossible to remove it without abrasive cleaning or stronger acids, which will almost certainly damage the coin. The etched surface cannot be restored and will be dull and lifeless. In these cases, the cleaning can be easily detected.

When in doubt about the removal of any contaminant or foreign material from a coin, consult a professional. The damage that can result from improper cleaning is almost always irreversible.

Before and After

To view more Before and After photographs, visit our Gallery at

NCS To Prescreen NGC Token Submissions

Since November of 2001, NGC has been accepting Hard Times and Civil War tokens for authentication and grading. This new addition to the NGC line-up of material they will certify has proven to be a very popular service.

However, as submissions of tokens have increased, NGC has noted that an alarming number of tokens display surface contaminants such as oily residues, waxes and PVC from years of improper handling and storage that, in some cases, results in the token being ineligible for certification. To minimize the number of tokens that would otherwise be rejected for certification due to residues, NCS has been enlisted to prescreen all token submissions that are received.

As part of this agreement, NCS will prescreen all tokens submitted to NGC to determine if conservation treatment may be beneficial to the token's state of preservation and eligibility for grading. Should specimens be found in need of residue removal, NCS will contact the submitter and give them the option of having the token conserved at a discounted rate.

"We feel this token prescreen service will be very beneficial to persons who collect or deal in tokens. Anyone who collects this type of material knows how often they display various surface contaminants," says Brian Silliman of NCS. "By doing this, we are able to better serve collectors and dealers, but more importantly we are helping preserve this very important segment of our cultural and numismatic history."

Presently, NGC accepts Hard Times tokens as listed in the Rulau Reference and Civil War Store Cards and Patriotic tokens as listed in the Fuld References, but has plans to develop this tier to include more material in the future.

Collectors and dealers should submit their tokens to NGC under the token tier, and NGC will make sure the tokens are prescreened. No NCS paperwork is required. Only those specimens that will benefit from conservation will be selected, and no procedure will be undertaken without the consent of the submitter.

For information on the NGC token tier, contact NGC customer service at 1-800-NGC-COIN.


Demand for NCS Rising Dramatically

Over the last few months, the number of submissions to NCS has been continually increasing. Of these submissions, the number of coins that are suitable for conservation appears to also be increasing as dealers and collectors gain a better understanding of which coins are suitable for conservation and will benefit from NCS procedures.

"Submissions have been excellent. The increased demand for our services perfectly coincides with the completion of our new state-of-the-art facility in Sarasota, which has enabled us to handle the tremendous work load," says David Camire, NCS director of operations.

Response to the service has also been overwhelmingly positive. "While many people were initially skeptical about the nature of our business, many have now signed up and are submitting coins, after reading about the service and viewing our gallery of before and after pictures. Our results and commitment to the highest standards of professional numismatic conservation have earned their trust and confidence in our abilities," explains Camire. "In the last 18 months, we have been entrusted with tens of thousands of the finest coins in the hobby and for good reason."

Detailed information about NCS and its services, including a gallery of before and after pictures, can be found on its website at

Service Updates & Reminders

Expedite Service Option -- Effective immediately, any submission that is "expedited" will not be charged the extra fees if ALL of the coins submitted are deemed not suitable for conservation. The Expedite Service option is $50 per coin and applies to all coins on the invoice.

Submitting Certified Coins -- Any certified coin, regardless of which company certified it, can be submitted to NCS for evaluation. NCS will not remove certified coins from their holders unless our evaluation team feels the coin will at least maintain its minimum grade at an NCS-approved grading service after conservation is complete. We recommend selecting the Grade Protection Service Option when submitting certified coins.

Grade Protection -- The Grade Protection Service Option does not apply to raw coins. If selected, it applies to any certified coin(s) that is submitted as long as the coin(s) is submitted directly to an NCS- approved grading service after conservation. Numismatic Guaranty Corp. (NGC) is the only NCS-approved grading service at this time.


How do I ship my coins for conservation? Click here to find out.

Want to discuss your collection with fellow coin enthusiasts? Or do you have a question you need answered? Chat with other collectors in our online Discussion Forums.

NCS is the conservation service of choice of the ANA.

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