ANACS’ rich and noble history began in 1972. It was created by the American
Numismatic Association (ANA) with a mission to correct an urgent problem facing the coin hobby. The
ANA is a century-old, not-for-profit educational association for collectors of coins, tokens, medals
and paper money. The ANA, like the U.S. Olympic Association and the American Red Cross, is chartered
by the U.S. Congress.
In the early 1970s, the ANA board of governors recognized that something significant needed to be
done about the counterfeit and altered coins that were plaguing the coin community. Their solution was
ANACS, the American Numismatic Association Certification Service. ANACS began with a staff of two
experts with Washington D.C. as its home. Washington was chosen in order to utilize the Smithsonian’s
Numismatic Collection and to be near the Treasury Department, specifically the Secret Service.
This was a time when many people could never be quite certain if the coins they were purchasing,
or even selling, were genuine or counterfeit. Something had to be done to protect and uphold the
integrity of the coin industry, especially if it was to grow into the mainstream as a hobby and a
business. Little had been written on the subject and the science of counterfeit detection was
still in its infancy. ANACS certified its first coin as genuine on June 15, 1972. As the need for
the service grew and as the benefits were proven over and over, additional experts were added to
In 1976, ANACS was moved to Colorado Springs where ANA had its headquarters. Three years later,
ANACS began grading coins using the technical grading standards that the ANA had established
earlier with its book, “The Official American Numismatic Association Grading Standards for United
States Coins,” a monumental work that the ANACS staff helped create. Coins were given a grade for
each side of the coin, obverse then reverse (e.g., MS-65/63). The service took off. A few years
later ANACS was grading nearly 3,000 coins a month. (Today, that would be a good day at ANACS!) No
one had yet thought of encapsulating the coins in plastic holders. Instead, ANACS issued a photo
certificate showing both sides of the coin, the dual grades and pertinent comments about the coin.
In 1983, Kenneth E. Bressett was appointed Director of ANACS. Ken was, and still is, the long-time
editor of “The Red Book” and a frequent numismatic author and speaker. Ken hired and trained a team of
graders at ANACS, many of whom moved on to become some of the most famous names in coin collecting.
Many are still professionally grading coins today, others are leading, national coin dealers,
while still others are highly respected numismatic researchers and authors.
In 1989 ANACS discontinued issuing photo certificates and began encapsulating coins in tamper evident plastic
holders. A year later, the ANA board of governors sold ANACS to Amos Press, publishers of Coin World.
In December 2007, ANACS was acquired by Driving Force, LLC, of Colorado and on January 1, 2008 was
relocated to Englewood, Colorado, a Denver suburb.