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NumisMedia Monthly Article Archive

Our monthly articles detailing specific areas of numismatics for dealers, collectors, and investors of United States Rare Coins

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NumisMedia Monthly

June 2014

CAC Coins Realizing Higher Premiums

The CAC GREEN Label signifies that a coin has met Certified Acceptance Corporation's stringent grading standards.

The CAC GREEN Label signifies that a coin has met Certified Acceptance Corporation's stringent grading standards.

       CAC is not insurance, but it is assurance. It is a third opinion quality control that assures the buyer that this particular coin is well above average for the grade and, in many cases, very close to the next higher grade. In fact, the eye appeal of a CAC coin often makes it look better than some coins that grade technically higher. This is why you may see in some major auctions an MS65 CAC coin sell for more than an MS66.

       The chart below shows prices realized for similar coins in the same grades, the exception being that one from each comparison is a CAC stickered coin; these examples were selected from the April Central States Heritage Auction.


Date/DenominationGradePrice Realized
1909 S VDB Lincoln CentPCGS MS66 Red$9,400
1909 S VDB Lincoln CentPCGS MS66 Red CAC$19,975
1927 S Lincoln CentPCGS MS64 Red$1,293
1927 S Lincoln CentPCGS MS64 Red CAC$1,528
1895 Liberty NickelPCGS MS65$1,410
1895 Liberty NickelPCGS MS65 CAC$1,763
1913 TI Buffalo NickelPCGS MS67$764
1913 TI Buffalo NickelPCGS MS67 CAC$1,116
1914 S Buffalo NickelPCGS MS66$4,994
1914 S Buffalo NickelPCGS MS66 CAC$7,638
1857 Half DimePCGS MS66$940
1857 Half DimePCGS MS66 CAC$1,250
1878 CC Seated QuarterPCGS MS65$3,819
1878 CC Seated QuarterPCGS MS65 CAC$6,463
1936 Walking Liberty HalfPCGS MS67$823
1936 Walking Liberty HalfPCGS MS67 CAC$1,293
1937 S Walking Liberty HalfPCGS MS67$3,760
1937 S Walking Liberty HalfPCGS MS67 CAC$4,259
1886 O Morgan DollarPCGS MS63$3,290
1886 O Morgan DollarPCGS MS63 CAC$4,113
1888 Morgan DollarNGC MS66$470
1888 Morgan DollarNGC MS66 CAC$1,293
1888 O Morgan DollarPCGS MS66$1,645
1888 O Morgan DollarPCGS MS66 CAC$4,113
1892 Morgan DollarPCGS MS65$3,055
1892 Morgan DollarPCGS MS65 CAC$5,288
1908 $2.5 IndianPCGS MS65$1,998
1908 $2.5 IndianPCGS MS65 CAC$3,055
1908 $2.5 IndianPCGS MS66$8,519
1908 $2.5 IndianPCGS MS66 CAC$12,925
1914 S $5 IndianPCGS MS62$6,463
1914 S $5 IndianPCGS MS62 CAC$7,050
1857 S $20 GoldNGC MS65$10,575
1857 S $20 GoldNGC MS65 CAC$18,800
1874 S $20 GoldPCGS MS61$3,771
1874 S $20 Gold PCGS MS61 CAC$4,113
1895 $20 GoldNGC MS62$1,411
1895 $20 GoldNGC MS62 CAC$1,821
1907 D $20 GoldPCGS MS65$7,050
1907 D $20 GoldPCGS MS65 CAC$12,338
1911 D $20 Saint GaudensNGC MS66$2,585
1911 D $20 Saint GaudensNGC MS66 CAC$4,113


       For this comparison we tried to select coins that had matching characteristics; that is, evenly matched toned coins or brilliant with no toning. Unmatched coins could have compromised the data. It is also important to compare similar coins in the same auction; if you compare coins from one auction to the next, market conditions would not necessarily be consistent. Also bear in mind that just because one coin does not have the CAC sticker does not mean that it would not qualify if submitted. This is something the coin experts look for on a regular basis; coins that they are sure will make the CAC grade.

       In every example we selected, the CAC coin brought more than the same date without the CAC sticker. In some cases the difference was quite substantial. Take a look at the very first comparison. The 1909 S VDB Red in PCGS MS66 with the CAC sticker realized more than twice that of the non CAC coin. It also helps to know that the CAC population is 24 coins and there are only two graded higher with the CAC sticker. The population reports from PCGS and NGC combined show 220 MS66 coins and only 12 MS67's.

       In a recent Heritage Auction there were three lots of 1879 S MS68 Morgan Dollars; all were nice coins that brought from $3,055 to $4,113. Two of the coins were NGC certified and the highest priced coin was PCGS. The current FMV is $4,220. There was one other 1879 S MS68 that had the CAC approval on it and it realized $6,463.

       Another example from the same auction was the 1881 CC Morgan Dollar in MS66; two coins were sold, one PCGS coin brought $1,293 and the other one with the CAC sticker realized $1,763, a $480 bonus. The current FMV is $1,560 so our examples show the first coin selling at a discount and the second bringing a substantial premium.

       Not all CAC coins bring a premium. There are coins without the CAC sticker that may bring a slight discount, while the comparable CAC coin sells at the current FMV, most likely indicating a price adjustment downward. And then there are CAC and non-CAC coins that sell for about the same price. This usually occurs for coins where the regular populations are high and the CAC populations are also rather significant. For example, in the common date MS63 $20 Saint Gaudens, you may see three different lots sell for virtually the same price with one of the coins having the CAC sticker. Ultimately, CAC coins are the ones buyers would like to purchase, all things considered equal, but for the more common coins it is just a nominal benefit. You will find that the most significant premiums are achieved for coins that are rare by mintage, have low populations for the grade, and also have low CAC populations.


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