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Questions from our Mailbag

Hi Warren; 

I’ve been reading your Rare Coin Enthusiast and I wanted to check my coins for due diligence.  When I reviewed my PCGS MS-64 Peace Dollar set, the coins looked a little cloudier than I remember.  I want you to look at my set and give me your opinion.  Why do they look different than I remember?

R.H.

Thanks R.H.! 

I appreciated looking at your Peace Dollar set.  Most of the PCGS coins here are old green holder pieces.  What you are seeing is PVC residue on most of the coins.  Keep in mind that many coins were stored for years in soft polyvinyl flips before they were certified.  I’ve seen this on old and new certified coins from PCGS and NGC.  In all instances, these coins did not exhibit any trace of a residue when they were certified.  PVC will lie on the surface of the coin and take many years to build to a point of being seen.  At first, it will start out as a light grey haze and eventually turn green.  As the years go by, the green residue can actually eat into the surface layers of the coin metal and ruin the piece!  It must be removed or the set will be ruined! 

Thankfully both PCGS and NGC have a restoration service for removing PVC.  There is a charge for this service, but it is well worth it.  Also, you can’t blame the grading service for the PVC.  In most instances, PVC will take many years before it manifests itself.  I contacted PCGS for this customer and had the PVC removed for him. 

When it comes to coins and PVC, I have a couple of tips for you… 

Tip #1:  Review your coins at least once a year.  PVC, model putty and other surface contaminants may take years to manifest themselves, but once it is detected, deal with it right away!  If you are not comfortable with contacting the grading services, we will be happy to contact them on your behalf at no charge to you. 

Tip #2:  Have a knowledgeable professional look at the coins too!  In many instances the grading services will just dip off the PVC or other contaminant.  Now if your coins are toned, that’s a problem.  We will send a note to the services with recommendation of how they could remove the PVC without just dipping the coin. 

Thanks for the question and I’m very happy that we acted as a catalyst to review your collection.  These coins were very close to being ruined forever.  In another 2 years or so, the PVC would have eaten into the metal and could not be removed. 

Please keep those questions coming! 

Thanks,

Warren