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9 posts in this topic

...or how my first submission may be my last.

Currency Journal for August 3, 2012


Okay, I am new to currency, but not new to collecting in general. When I won the free grading from PMG, I didn't want to waste it with just any old note. I decided on a $2 FRN Millennium note in the original BEP packaging. I carefully judged it against the criteria that PMG has listed on their site. This note was sweet... glass smooth with no hint of handling, razor sharp corners, and centering that was nearly perfect; only the top and bottom margins were slightly off. Based on the criteria, I judged it to be 67 or 68. Just learned the results:


64 NET - Thinning


Now, I'm assuming that NET is the equivalent to Details grading in coins. I don't know what 'thinning' means, so I'll be investigating that. A quick search says something about paper loss, but I'm not sure. What I am sure about is that I am very diasppointed, and very skeptical on how a note that nice can be grade out NET, and 64 at that. Here is the grading scale directly from the PMG web site:



Superb Gem Unc

Margins or registration are off slightly to the naked eye. No significant handling.



Superb Gem Unc

Great color and eye appeal. A well-centered original note. May have very minor handling.



Gem Uncirculated

Above average original note held back from superb quality due to handling and / or margins and registration.



Gem Uncirculated

Strictly original note with great color and eye appeal. May have one or two minor distractions. Centering is above average.


64 EPQ

Choice Uncirculated

Original paper quality, but centering is off on one or two sides.



Choice Uncirculated

Note is well-centered and shows signs of alteration (for example, pressing or re-embossing, etc.). No folds in design.



I want to know how in the world that note got a 64. Totally unacceptable. I feel cheated... very, very cheated. I had been thinking about sending in more notes that I acquired from the BEP, but now... no way. Its like sending in a proof set, and getting it back in Details grade. WTF? The worst thing is that I'll never know what the graders were thinking, since there is no report, no explanation, nothing to tell me why. I do know one thing... they'll not get a penny of my money until I do know. I'm so angry, I'm thinking of selling every friggin' note and starting over with PCGS. I'll make that decision once I'm calmer, and can think about it with a clear head.


Ciao for now


See more journals by SPHansen

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Hello SPHanson,

I've had that same taste in my mouth several times.When sending in raw notes, even an advanced paper collector will get notes back with higher grades than he thought, and some with lower grades.I sent a PCGS 69PPQ to PMG

to only have it come back PMG66 EPQ.I also had several PCGS notes graded 68 PPQ, and they came back PMG67 EPQ.I had to make a big decision three years ago, a 1/3 of my collection were raw notes, a 1/3 were in PCGS holders, and a 1/3 were in PMG holders.I chose PMG, but there have been several times that I questioned my decision.I'm stuck, I have 235 PMG notes now, it would cost way to much to switch.You have some hard decisions to make.


Some collectors will say your notes are worth more in a PMG holder, I'm not so sure.Notes that I have dealt with that got the NET grade had been pressed, or cleaned.


What I have learned is, if you have a Registry problem or something that needs fixed/corrected, Email Moon at PMG she cares. (moon@pmgnotes.com )


Sometimes it's better to have 5 lions than 100 sheep.There's plenty of sheep collecting PMG notes, and not enough Lions.Welcome aboard Captain......


Don't get to discouraged.

Numismatic Regards,



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Hi Riccee,


Thanks for the kind words... I'm not discouraged, more disappointed than anything. It did prompt me to do some research, and the knowledge I gained is a great thing.


I decided to continue my collection with PCGS; not only are their grading services slightly less expensive, but the turn-around times are much better. Also, there are more notes available for purchase, especially in the series I want to collect. That one grading left such a sour taste that I'll not be tempting fate again with PMG. I'll not sell the notes I already have, as they are really some nice ones. Maybe in the future I'll have them crossed over...time will tell in that regard.


I can't imagine how a 69PPQ could come back so much lower. Makes me think politics and posturing have something to do with it. Whether that is truly the case, it doesn't matter. In the short time I have been collecting, I have not been impressed by the PMG graders... I've seen too many mistakes to make me feel comfortable trusting them with my notes. This last incident just gave me a hard shove off the fence.


I do want to mention that the customer service at PMG has been top notch... respectful, helpful, courteous... couldn't ask for better.



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I understand your frustration, and I can't believe that a note you got directly from the BEP would not grade cleanly.


I've crossed over a few notes from PCGS to PMG. Some have graded higher, some lower, and some the same. Before you give up on PMG, I would be tempted to send your BEP note to PCGS (after you cut it out of the PMG holder) to see what happens. If PCGS gives it the same deficiency (thinning), at least you will know that it was the BEP that gave you a raw deal.


If PCGS grades it cleanly, then I can understand your decision to switch. It seems that grading of uncirculated notes can be more art than science. Good luck with whatever you decide.

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Hello SPH,

The circumstances may be a little bit different but I know very,VERY well how you feel. I have to watch what I say because I believe I already have some folks at PMG POd at me for a message I sent them. I could give a few examples of disputes where I about hit the roof; it wasn't just me because others that have the qualifications as graders agreed with me. I've been told one of the graders does not handle criticism well.


If I was not building a couple registry sets I'd have never had the issues come up. No matter which TPG you use there will be disputes; it's something we have to learn to live with because there is not a dang thing we can do about it if we want to continue collecting graded notes, and they know this.


It's a hassel and cost you more money for grading but I'd do as was suggested above, cut the note out and send it across the street. Thinning is a new term to me, I wonder what they mean by that.

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Hi Weg,


Thanks for the words... I got the note back, and there is some sort of stain along the bottom edge now. It's like something oily touched it. I know it wasn't there went the note went in, as I examined every inch of it for defects. This is blatantly obvious, and now the note is ruined. I doubt that any other TPG will give it anything better. Seeing what happened to that note just reinforced my decision to go 'across the street'.


As I regularly send in coins for grading, I understand the dynamics. I have been both pleasantly and unpleasantly surprised in this regard, but never felt like I did this time. As to one of the graders not taking criticism well, that just tells me this person possesses either an over-inflated ego, or is grossly insecure; neither is a trait I want in someone grading my notes. Either way, they will never get the chance to ruin another note of mine.


Thinning, I have found out, is when paper is removed from the note in some manner, like when you take tape off of paper, some of the material stays with the tape. That's what I've read. How it applies to this note is still a mystery to me.




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The oily substance is quite common with the $2 Millennium notes, I myself have only found one from that series w/o the oil stain and it is in my registry. The note was sent in and came back a 66 EPQ. Not saying this is how yours ended up that way but if you Google the issue, it says that the oil must have been on the cutting blade at the BEP.


When looking at the 1995 series, this is one of the first things I look for. The issue with my note is the right margin is not completely straight, but is stain free across the bottom.

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Scott, Sorry to hear about your grade on that free submission. At least it was a free lesson and it seems a few of us have learned a little just reading through this journal. A great bit of information packed in this one!!!

I had a offer on over $1000 of notes in a collection last week. Learning a little before the meeting will give me the upper hand.====Thanks Guys!!

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