How does one price + or ★ coins with a CAC sticker?

Many collectors wonder whether a coin with a + (plus) or ★ (star) designation and a CAC sticker merit additional premium over just a coin with the CAC sticker.

by John Feigenbaum | Published on January 14, 2020

Q: How does one price + or ★ coins with a CAC sticker. Is there a reason that the grey sheet doesn’t address this?

From the research I’ve done, it sounds as if many people say, search the auction records. Personally, I’d like to see the info in I’m sure space for publication is a real concern, but something on your website would be cool. 

Yes, I’m lazy and really don’t want to spend hours searching records. I’m sure the issue is complicated and maybe accuracy and precision make this an impossible task.

A: This actually a great question, and certainly we don't consider you lazy for not wanting to spend the hours on research. That's our job here at CDN. The answer, however, is a bit more complicated.  We purposely do not price + or -designated coins here at CDN for several reasons, primarily because we feel that there are already enough (too many?) price points for every coin. I mean MS61, 62, 63, 64, etc is an incredible amount of pricing specificity, and we now offer CAC-specific prices in each of these grades. 

We also feel that + and  designations often appeal differently to different buyers and relate to a coin's specific eye appeal. Some  coins have amazing color and may trade at 100%, or higher, premium simply because of the eye appeal. When PCGS first rolled out the plus coin designation, PCGS founder, David Hall, envisioned that their values would hover between 20-80% of the spread between the grades. Time has not borne this out. In fact we see many + coins sell at the same value as non-plus, and so on.

I still haven't answered your original question though, which specifically asks about + (or ) and CAC. There currently does seem to be added premium for such coins, but we don't necessarily endorse this because CAC does not consider the + designation when evaluating a coin. This is VERY IMPORTANT. In other words, CAC IGNORES the designation of + or  and simply decides if the coin is approved for the base grade. The + or  is superfluous to the designation so it's all the same to them. Some collectors and dealers see the combination of both a + and CAC sticker as double affirmation but one could also argue that every + or ★ coin should be worthy of a sticker, and this is also not always the case. 

In summary I would caution buyers to evaluate a CAC coin on its relative market values to other CAC coins and not go crazy when a coin features both a +★, and CAC sticker. If you have more specific questions we encourage you to work with a dealer with market expertise and build a relationship with someone you trust who can guide you through this challenging market. 

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Author: John Feigenbaum

John Feigenbaum image The President, CEO and managing partner at CDN Publishing, John Feigenbaum, has been a professional numismatist since 1979. Formerly president of David Lawrence Rare Coins, John has taken on Publishing and executive responsibilities for CDN Publishing. John has written for numerous trade publications and published "The Complete Guide to Washington Quarters" in 1991. In 2014, John received the PNG Abe Kosoff Founders Award for "his steadfast dedication to the entire numismatic community".