If you have been waiting for your coins that you’ve submitted to coin grading companies to be graded – let alone returned – a friendly reminder that patience is a virtue. Essentially all coin grading companies are running weeks if not months behind on submissions and those delays are likely not going to lighten up any time soon. NGC for example, is just now notifying customers who submitted coins at the beginning of May that their submissions have been opened. Not graded. Opened. It will be another 3-4 weeks before those coins are graded and returned.
Why did these delays happen? It comes down to two key items in my opinion. First, like many other organizations, coin grading services had to limit staff or completely shut down for several weeks during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. PCGS, for their part, was shut down completely not once but twice. During this time, however, delivery services like USPS, UPS, FedEx and others continued to work. That meant that collectors were able to submit coins for grading even if there was quite literally nobody there to do it.
The second factor was the influx of coins to be graded. Many collectors and new collectors purchased significant amounts of bullion coins throughout 2020. This was largely driven by economic uncertainty but that trend continues here into 2021. With these bullion coins in hand, many of them in Proof condition, people flocked to get the coins graded to maintain their appearance and to have them officially graded. The end result is that the companies quite literally have stacks of coins submitted to them still in their original shipping boxes from the submitters. The reality is, until they can get through their backlog, coin grading is going to be slow in 2021.
So what can you do? There are a couple of things. First, if you absolutely must submit coins for grading, it may be worth paying the premium for faster tiers of service. Second, if you don’t have to submit coins right now, don’t. Give it a few months and let this backlog get worked through by your favorite grading company. I, for one, have over a dozen coins I need to get graded. I have no intention of grading them until the end of the year at best.