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“Precise grading takes flight with WINGS”

Precise grading takes flight with WINGS

Larry Michelson and Lance Tchor say collectors like
knowing if their coin is premium quality.

By: Canadian Coin News
August 12, 2014

In the world of coin collecting, not all coins are equal, even if they carry the same official grade designation.

That was the logic behind WINGS™, a firm which reviews Canadian coins, placing its gold sticker on those that are of premium quality.

“We saw that within a grade there are distinctions, but that most people are not able to tell, especially in Uncirculated grades, so they end up buying the holder, not the coin inside,” company co-president Larry Michelson explained. “Because most dealers don’t know either, it is possible to find a premium grade coin at regular prices.

“Assuming the coin is correctly graded you would rather have a premium coin than an average one.”

Michelson said the difference is much more than just eye-appeal. Within a single grade there are coins that barely qualify, typical coins for that grade, and some that are better.

“It’s like getting marks on a test in school,” he said. “If you get 88 per cent and I get 81 per cent, one is an A+ and one is an A-, but they are both considered an A. The 88 per cent is much better.”

That advantage pays off when the time comes to sell the coins.

The firm tracks coins which have been given the firm’s gold sticker, and Michelson said at auctions those coins not only have 100 per cent sell through, but on average sell at a higher percentage above estimate than on non-stickered coins.

WINGS™, which is an acronym based on World Identification Numismatic Grading Service, was formed in 2008. It was founded by Lance Tchor, who had been a coin dealer since 1977, and saw a need for his service. The firm does not grade United States coins, specializing in world coins, including Canadian.

Certified coins are submitted to the firm for review. It is not enough for the coin to simply meet the grade beyond doubt, it has to meet a premium quality standard to get the gold sticker.

“We’ve been grading Canadian coins all along,” Michelson said. “What has changed is that now we accept coins from the Canadian firm of ICCS. Prior to that the only certification services the firm dealt with were PCGS, NGC, ICG, and ANACS.

“Off the top of my head we’ve literally looked at hundreds of Canadian coins,” he said, “possibly thousands.”

Coins come to the firm several ways.

Michelson said that collectors can submit the coins directly, after downloading a submission form at wingscoins.com. No membership is required, just payment of the submission fee.

Coins can also be submitted through authorized dealers. Michelson said at this time there are no authorized dealers in Canada, but the firm is looking for Canadian dealers.

The final way is by submitting the coins in person at one of the shows where WINGS™ has a table.

“In most cases we can get them back to them at the same show and save them the shipping fees,” he said.

The fee is $12.50 for items valued up to $9,999, and $25 for items with a declared value of $10,000 or more.

Recently, the firm was commissioned to review the world famous Richard Lissner Collection of world coins.

Michelson said the firm reviewed the entire collection. An estimate of the significance of the WINGS™ sticker is that only about one in every five coins met the standard.

The collection consisted of more than 2,900 coins.

The sale, being conducted by Classical Numismatic Group and St. James Auctions, in association with M. Louis Teller.

Lissner assembled his truly remarkable collection over the last 40 years, the firms said.

His focus was on coins of exceptional quality, rarity and pedigree.

Over 2,900 coins have been consolidated into approximately 2,200 lots.

On Aug. 1, gold, silver and bronze coins of the world (excluding the New World) were to be auctioned. On Aug. 2 gold, silver and bronze coins from the New World were to go on the block Aug. 1-2, at the Chicago Marriot-O’Hare, just prior to the American Numismatic Association show.

If you have any comments or questions, please leave a comment below or send us an email: info@wingscoins.com.

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