Heritage Auctions app
The Heritage Auctions app with barcode scanner.

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Previously the Heritage app allowed users to scan the barcode labels given out by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) when grading coins, then linking the item to auction results for comparable coins.  Now the app will also access data on coins graded by rival grading company Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).

Here ATG asks six key questions about the app’s development.


What is a ‘barcode scan’?

Many collectables, like coins and comic books, are authenticated by grading companies and encapsulated in tamper-proof, transparent plastic along with a barcode that identifies that item. As with other apps, Heritage Auctions’ app allows clients to quickly scan the barcode and find similar items online to assist in valuation, buying or selling.

How does it work?

The barcode scan function uses a smartphone’s camera to read various linear barcodes as printed on grading labels sealed inside encapsulated coins and comic books used by major collectable grading services.

This function serves historical data (grades, census) from these grading companies in addition to previous auction prices realised for similar items only sold through Heritage Auctions.

Which grading services are featured on the Heritage app?

This function so far accesses data from CGC Comics, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and now Professional Coin Grading Service.

What about scanning the physical coins directly?

That is a future quest for Heritage. Current photograph analysis technology is not detailed enough to identify the specific coin. Two coins that otherwise look identical could have vastly different comparables.

What other functions are in the app?

The app also allows collectors to photograph both raw and encapsulated coins and submit them to Heritage Auctions specialists to be appraised.

How is the Heritage app different to other coin apps available?

It is the combination of features that makes the Heritage app different. As well as using Heritage’s own database, the app also features extensive data from third-party grading services. Effectively it means numismatists can access data on 38.2m graded coins and check them against Heritage’s coins database of 2.2m auction results.