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What are PCGS Gold Shield and True View?

PCGS offers a number of different services besides basic grading and encapsulation. One of their most popular services is their photography service, run by professional photographer Phil Arnold.

Phil and his team are responsible for the highly-acclaimed True View images (previously called Secure Plus images). These are the large, high-resolution images you receive when you send your vintage, non-United States coins to PCGS headquarters in California. They are also available if you send your coins to PCGS Hong Kong or PCGS Paris, but are an add-on to the standard service. In addition to being able to view beautiful photographs of your coins on the PCGS website, submitters to PCGS also receive very high-resolution images that are high-quality enough to print onto posters and banners. These images are larger and higher-resolution than what is available on the PCGS certificate lookup page, and can sometimes be up to 30MB in size (which is good if you want to print them out).

1890M half sovereign
This is a PCGS True View image.

If you send your coins to PCGS Hong Kong or PCGS Paris, you will also receive PCGS images, but these will be the smaller, lower-quality, so-called “jig” images, which are performed by a mechanical rig set up to photograph coins at high speed. Much of the process is automated, and the camera settings are not optimised to a the particular coin. If you’d like to grade your coins as cheaply as possible, the jig image is ideal option for lower-value, more generic coins. However, most collectors opt for the True View images, which make the coin easier to sell and more enjoyable to own.

1890M 1/2 sovereign proof
This is a lower-resolution "jig" image. This is not a True View image.

A final note on the Gold Shield service: Many collectors request the Gold Shield on their PCGS-graded coins, assuming that they will receive True View images automatically. However, the Gold Shield refers to the way the coin is automatically fingerprinted and identified by PCGS’s computers, rather than whether photographs are available. Typically, a coin in a Gold Shield holder will have either a True View image or the lower-quality jig image, so remember, if you want the True View image, always ask “Does it come with True View?”

PCGS Gold shieldNot all Gold Shield coins have True View, but all True View have the PCGS Gold Shield.

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