Defunct TPG Certs & Slabs
Updated: Aug 11, 2021
The following list of out of business TPG's is not a complete list of all that existed but a list of those considered more "legitimate" and/or better than most "basement" graders. That being said most collectors agree that grading standards were inconsistent at best and dishonest at worst depending on company. Collecting these is generally for the sake of collecting the holder, however with patience some can be found with accurately graded coins or at least with coins displaying nice eye appeal.
Founded in 1984 by Alan Hager, ACG was the first company to slab coins in a hard plastic capsule with an alpha-numeric grade. Originally using photoslabs, ACG switched to a smaller size slab without a photo around 1986. For some reason it was also available as a photo certificate, I've only seen them dated from 1986 & 1987 and are the most scarce type. However there are generations of slabs that are more scarce. There are dozens of generations of holders both the photo type slab and the small slab. I've not found a complete list of generations anywhere. Grading accuracy was better in the early years and fell off as time went on. Buy the coin or the holder, don't buy the grade. Accugrade is no longer in business.
Blanchard Company is a bullion and coin company. From about 1986 through 1989 they jumped into the slabbing business. They licensed from ACG the use of their slab design. There are a couple of different rear label styles. These slabs aren't seen very often. Generally grading was reasonably accurate.
Compugrade was formed in 1991. They planned to grade coins by computer but quickly went under within a few months. My understanding is that no coins were actually graded by a computer as the system didn't work. Instead the few that were actually slabbed were graded by humans. This is likely why the company went out of business so quickly. These slabs are hard to find and carry a high premium.
DGS (Dominion Grading Service) Well known coin dealer David Lawrence Rare Coins (DLRC) bought out PCI's equipment in 2008. Dominion Grading Company (DGS) opened in April 2008 accepting submissions as well as grading their own coins. Grading generally considered reasonably accurate. In August 2010 due to lack of demand DLRC closed DGS and sold it to a new owner who re-opened under the PCI name.
Started in Woburn MA by Q David Bowers and Lee Bellisario in 1987. The company and equipment was sold to PCI in 1991 after they closed that year. Grading generally considered reasonably accurate. Of course like all other services over-grading happened, however I've seen numerous examples that were obviously under-graded as well. Hallmark slabs are becoming scarce and command a moderate premium.
MCCS (Millennium Coin Certification Services)
MCCS was a legitimate service that was around for about two years or so. It started in business about 2004. They used two different slab varieties with the major difference being that the first type did not have the company logo in color, and the companies name was spelled wrong. Millenium. They appear to have been reasonably accurately graded in lower grades but I would not purchase high grade examples unless you are confident in your grading skills. These holders fit in regular slab boxes like PCGS or NGC. These slabs are scarce and generally carry a modest premium.
NCI (Numismatic Certification Institute)
Started by Heritage Rare Coin Galleries, now Heritage Auctions around 1985. Originally issued just as a photo certificate, later the coin could be slabbed in a case alongside the photo cert, starting around 1987. NCI continued in business until at least 1988.
This short lived slab started around 2001. It has been suggested that they leased the holder from Accugrade but I have no evidence of this. Their grading seems to range from accurate to conservative. These are quite scarce and usually command a moderate to high premium.
Started in 1986 by Chattanooga Coin Company. First holder used was a photo slab, it was used until 1991 with a resulting 4 generations of the photo slab. In 1991 PCI purchased the equipment and slab from Hallmark grading after the closed. The "new" slab was used for the next 20+ years and through many different owners. Over the years the grading standards declined with some later generations being criminally overgraded. It appears PCI is was out of business again around 2019/2020 but reappeared in about mid 2021 with a crude looking label modeled after the previous generation. I believe it is now owned by Centles and as before coins are overgraded.
CLICK HERE to view all PCI generations.