Thank you all for your comments, I understand where you are all coming from. PCGS
has made it clear that the guarantee does not apply to me as I own the coin, so the guarantee will only apply if I sell the coin as MS64 and the subsequent owner makes a claim against PCGS
guarantee. Not that I can now sell it anyway as they have cancelled the certificate.
Putting the value of the coin and the fair compensation aside. The reason I sent the coin to be graded and encapsulated is because I wanted to ensure it was protected and preserved. I never intended to sell the coin. This was one of the lowest value coins I sent in that batch, my first batch, I genuinely liked the coin. I thought I did everything right, I thought that going through an authorised PCGS
dealer was the safest option as I would be guided by their expertise. I paid extra for the fact that I used the services of an authorised PCGS
My coins were sent off, and I could not wait to get them back. As the two months mark approached I regularly checked PCGS
population report to see if the coins had been graded. I was so excited when I did the search and realised that newly high graded coins were entered in the population report, and then I saw the pictures of my coins on the PCGS
website. I was ecstatic and could hardly wait to get the coins back. I was already going through my coins and pulling out the ones I intended to send off for grading in the next batch.
A few days later I received a call from the PCGS
authorised dealer advising that my coins have been received and I can pick them up. I went to the dealer's office ASAP, a significant drive from my house, I quickly checked they were all there and went home so I can have a proper look at them.
I arrived home, still exited to have the coins back in my hands, and started looking through them, when I saw the mutilated Travancore 1/2 Rupee in the PCGS
capsule. I called the dealer straight away and asked if they looked at the coins properly when they received them, he said he didn't. I told him my coin was damaged and described the damage to him, he responded by saying that he is not aware of something like this happening before. He did not appear interested so I obtained the submission number from him and contacted PCGS
. That was on 2 October.
I am mad with the dealer because he did not protect my interest, even though I paid him to do so. I can say that I will never trust or use his services again.
I am absolutely devastated that my coin has been damaged by PCGS
, I can never get another one like it, that's why most of my anger is currently aimed at PCGS
. For most of its life the coin was stored in an envelope among other coins, it survived without being badly scratched, rubbed or damaged until I sent it to PCGS
to have it graded and encapsulated.
All that being said, I am extremely disappointed with the conduct from the PCGS
operations manager. My devastation aside, and the fact that I entrusted professionals to handle my coins safely, I can understand that sometimes sh*t happens. Throughout all this back and forth with PCGS
's customer service and operations manager since 2 October, they have been so cagey. All they seemed interested in was to get the coin back in their possession. They told me that "if PCGS
did in fact damage your coin we typically buy the coin back from you". I asked them what they would consider a fair settlement for the damage to my coin (of course with the understanding that they still need to view the coin to see what damage has occurred). They kept avoiding it and would not answer me.
I got so frustrated with the whole thing and phoned the operations manager who finally said that the declared value of the coin on submission was $15 therefore that's all they would offer. As insulting as that was, my issue is with the fact that I feel they were trying to deceive me. If in fact that is their policy and all they were going to offer me in the end anyway was only the $15 (being the declared value on the submission), then why were they not upfront about it from the start, why did they continue to avoid telling me this and kept trying to convince me to just send them the coin.
My theory is that should I have sent the coin back to PCGS
, I probably would have never seen the coin again, or if I did it would have been removed from the PCGS
capsule. They probably would have reimbursed the cost of grading and paid the $15.
Note that the dealer asked PCGS
"can you explain please what the PCGS
policy is regarding replacement (re the declared value), and if the coin can be returned to the buyer for any reason once PCGS
has had the opportunity to examine it." PCGS
sent the terms and conditions but failed to answer the enquiry regarding the coin being returned to me. I am glad that I did not trust them and did not just send it back. I would much rather keep it as a reminder and a lesson learnt.
The more important question now is where to from here? I had so many more coins which I was intending to send to PCGS
for grading. I do not have the confidence to do that anymore, especially with the coins that I really like and intend to keep. I do not trust PCGS
to be open and honest. If they came to me and explained the situation and were reasonable about it, it would be different. In my eyes they have now lost all integrity.
I feel I was lucky in a way that I received the damaged coin in an encapsulated, tamper proof PCGS
case, and that fact that PCGS
took and posted a photo of my coin on their website showing it was not damaged when they received/graded it.
Now having been though the experience of dealing with PCGS
customer service and the operations manager I wonder ... What would have happened if PCGS
realized that they damaged my coin and did not place the photo of my undamaged coin on their site, but instead just returned the coin bagged, ungraded due to damage that they could have claimed was there when they received it. What then? It would have been my word against theirs? No one would have believed me. PCGS
damaging the coin and claiming they received it damaged would have been an immoral thing of PCGS
to do, and most people (including me) would not expect that from a "reputable" company like PCGS
. Well, now that I have been though this recent experience, I am not so sure.