Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Up Yours, PCGS

If you didn't already know, Tony is a hard-core numismatic. His coin obsession started when he was about 8 or 9, after reading an article about a 1972 doubled-die penny in Boy's Life magazine.

This is a 1972 doubled-die:

(notice the slight double impression on "Liberty"?)

The article said that some of these messed-up 1972 double-die pennies were accidentally released into circulation, and if you happened to find one, a coin collector would gladly take it off your hands for at least few hundred dollars.

Tony was determined to find one, and long story short, he eventually did. It was a crazy-lucky find, like winning the lottery. A coin magazine (yes, they have those) even published his story.

So, that's how he got hooked. And after almost 26 years of obsessing over coins, he has this wealth of "valuable" coin knowledge. He knows every US coin ever minted, what years they were minted, how much each date is worth at what grades... and that's the other thing: although his specialties are buffalo nickles and wheat pennies, he can grade any US coin at a glance, and tell you what it's worth.

You know what this means? He could work for Antiques Roadshow you gize. Do you have an old silver dollar that your grandpa left to you when he passed away? Tony can tell you exactly what it's worth ("a few dollars, if you're lucky").

Now, the leading US coin grading company is called PCGS. If a person thinks they have a valuable coin, they'll send it off to PCGS to be offically graded and recorded. Once PCGS grades the coin, they seal it in a plastic holder, give it a serial #, and its value is no longer arguable. The coin can be auctioned off, and the buyer can rest assured that the grade of the coin is fixed and they paid a fair price for it.

Why am I telling you this? Because Tony likes to search for PCGS graded coins on eBay, find ones that he thinks were graded too low, buy the coin at the current price, crack open the sealed plastic PCGS case, and send it back to PCGS to be "officially" graded. He's never been wrong, they always come back at a higher grade. Then he resales them on eBay at the higher price, and we're living on easy street, you gize. Eazzzzzzzz E street.

15 comments:

Memzy said...

I think this is in my top 10 fave posts of yours. And I can't even say for sure why. It's prolly cuz I heart Anthony and think he's so cool tho. Shed, btw, lurved hearing about it when we visited.

Shed: "Man, Tony knows his coins. It was way cool hearing him tell me all about it."

Me: "When did this happen? Oh wait...was it when I was getting ready in the bathroom while texting Jespy downstairs?"

Katie said...

So why the "up yours"? You are profiting from their under-qualified employees. I wonder how much they pay. I bet that is a job you could do from anywhere, even Idaho.

Every time our jar-o-money gets full, Tom says we should invite you over and just happen to mention it, and see if Tony offers to go though them looking for our double dye penny. He is handy to have around.

ManicMandee said...

Totally picturing Ms Hannigan singing "Easy Street" with that twisted crook guy.

I had no idea that Anthony's coin thing went this far. Wowzers!

Hot Pants said...

I feel super smart after reading this post. I might even go buy a book at the regular book store to learn more about it.

Cristin said...

Wow, I feel smarter already.

Emily said...

Wow,that's hard core.

Jenny ESP said...

Check your pocket change you gize.

And Katie, Katie, Katie--PCGS doesn't have Taco-Bell-like employees, as you are imagining. It's just a small a group (seven old gize) of reputable, highly qualified coin graders. So it's not as if Tony could go fill out an application and start working for them.

Landee said...

This is not a one-up, this is a same-up...Gty can do the same thing with baseball/sports of any kind card. There is also a place to send them off, get them graded & get them in a fancy coded case. So yeah, I feel ya on their "valuable" knowledge. You'd be surprised at how many people think their cards are worth money when really they'd be better off wiping their bummys with it.

PS I have a couple "valuable" coins my homosexual friend from DC sent me a while ago (Righty). I need to find them and have them appraised by the omniscient Tony.

Vegas Family said...

Tony is a real smarty pants. I am very impressed.
I remember many stories by you of how he made big bucks with his pocket change.

Jenny ESP said...

Memzy--I had no idea Anthony cornered Shed that way. ::blushing:: You're right, it must have been during our close-proximity texting-fest.

L--this is not a one-up, this is a "twinerz", but Tony collects sports cards too. He has boxes and boxes of them. He'll srsly take the time to sell a card on eBay for about a dollar profit (which is HUGE in terms of sports cards), and then save that dollar in this lil envelope of other dollars in his lil closet safe.

Why did your friend send you his "valuable" coins, I wonder? Usually people (of all sexual orientation) keep their "valuable" coins.

Landee said...

Gty makes mucho dinero from his cards... and that is the only reason why I don't burn them all. I should dedicate an entire post to this cuz srsly, ob-sessed.

And Righty sent me the coins because he too is a numismatic (you may wanna recheck Tony's sexual orientation) and on "the dark side blog" we used to call Gty, GtyCent... then my sister started calling him GtyWheatPenny.... then GtyHayPenny and so on and so forth. Righty tried and tried to find an amazing wheat penny for Gty but couldn't find one so he sent us these "valuable coins" instead. And he could totally afford it cuz he makes six figures at the tender age of mid-20s... if you don't believe me, just ask him. Love you Righty! (just in case he reads this).

Memzy said...

^All true dats.

eekareek said...

I love Tony's coin obsession. BTW, this is not a one up (well maybe a little) but Morgan has this wicked post card collection. He can just tell by looking at a PC (that is what we call it) what it is worth. I don't want to brag but it would probably buy us a cheese roll up from Taco Bell if we ever sold it. We won't though. It is our retirement.

Markie23 said...

I have a collection of boogers under my headboard. Any offers?

Annie said...

I too have to say this is one of my most favorite posts. Thanks. Tony, can you tell me how much those wheat pennies are that I've been hanging on too?????