Review – NGC Photo Vision Service

Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC) is no mystery to collectors. The Sarasota, Florida company has been offering its grading services for over 35 years to the Numismatic community and can grade virtually any coin, big or small, in the world. In addition to its grading service, the company offers a wide range of add-on services like special labels and designations, scratch resistant holders, and imaging services. One of those imaging services is Photo Vision. You can read more about the service here but, in a nutshell, the service provides you three high-resolution images of your coins that you’ve submitted for grading. For many of us, having the proper set up to do good photos of coins is difficult or cost prohibitive. While the Photo Vision service does add additional cost to your grading from NGC, for many it may well be worth the additional cost. For me, it certainly is worth it.

Adding Photo Vision to Your NGC Submission

If you are new to submitting coins to NGC for grading, first you need to know that the Photo Vision service is completely optional. When you get your coins graded by the company, they will provide you a free image of your coin in its holder with its label and registration number. Here is an example of the standard image the NGC provides of my Christa McAuliffe commemorative.

Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Default Image
Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Default Image from NGC

If you decide you want to have the Photo Vision service added to your submission, you will need to select it on the order form. You will see it under the Imaging Services section.

Photo Vision Option Selection
Photo Vision Option Selection

Keep in mind that once you select this option, or any imaging service, it is applied to all the coins on that submission. So if you submit six coins, it will be an additional $48 on top of the regular grading fees. From here, you would fill out the submission form as you normally do and submit it in your normal way. If you don’t submit to NGC directly, be sure to tell your local coin shop or dealer who you do submit through that you want to add the service.

The NGC Photo Vision Images

Prior to the actual grading of your coins, NGC’s Imaging Department will take photos of your coins. In all, three images of your coins will be provided to you as part of the service, all three in high resolution JPG format: The Obverse, Reverse, and a side-by-side image of the Obverse and Reverse with the coin’s registration number. You can see an example of one of my recently submitted coins below of each image.

NGC Photo Vision High Resolution Obverse Image
NGC Photo Vision High Resolution Obverse Image
NGC Photo Vision High Resolution Reverse Image
NGC Photo Vision High Resolution Reverse Image
NGC Photo Vision Dual Image
NGC Photo Vision Dual Image

As you can see, the quality of these images are impressive and, in my case, are certainly better than any image I could take myself.

When the images are complete, you will receive an email from Imaging Department letting you know that your images are ready. You will be sent a link to download all of the images to your computer and you have 30 days to do so. After 30 days, the link will no longer work and you won’t have access to the images. Additionally, once the images are complete, your coins will then be sent to the Grading Department for actual grading. Note that the Imaging Department cannot give you any details on your coins such as when they will be graded, timelines, etc.

Expect Additional Time for Grading

If you decide to use the Photo Vision service, keep in mind that it will likely add a week or two to the overall turn around time for your coins to be graded. This, of course, can vary depending on how busy the NGC Imaging and Grading departments happen to be when you submit your coins for grading. In my case, one submission had about an extra week of time added for the imaging service while a second submission took an extra two weeks. Your milage will vary but keep that in mind if you are any sort of deadline to get your coins back.

Well Worth The Cost For Most Collectors

For many collectors, getting good, high quality and resolution images of their coins is challenging. Most don’t have the equipment to do it effectively. That’s where a service like NGC’s Photo Vision really can be a benefit, particularly for those high value coins sent in for grading. In those cases, I highly recommend using the service.

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