BREAKING NEWS: Mark Salzberg, NGC and CCG Founder Announces His Retirement
Mark Salzberg, a renowned figure in the collectibles world for nearly four decades, is set to retire, leaving a lasting impact on the hobby for years to come. Throughout his career with the Certified Collectibles Group® (CCG®), Salzberg has made significant contributions that have shaped the collectibles industry.
Salzberg joined the Certified Collectibles Group in 1988 when it was known as NGC®, a startup specialising in coin grading. Immediately recognizing the potential of NGC's expert and impartial services, Salzberg understood that they would revolutionise the collecting landscape, transforming it from a niche hobby into a thriving industry. A decade later, third-party certification had become a game-changer for the collecting hobby.
Mark Salzberg, NGC and CCG Founder
Realising the scalability of their services to other collectible categories, Salzberg partnered with CCG CEO Steven Eichenbaum in the late 1990s to expand the company's offerings. Leveraging NGC's successful platform, they established CGC® as the world's first comic book grading service. CGC quickly rose to prominence in its field and remains the industry leader, having certified over 10 million pop culture collectibles. Simultaneously, CCG expanded its services to include paper money, stamps, trading cards, memorabilia, and more, establishing offices worldwide. As people from diverse backgrounds gained confidence in collectibles as an asset class, the industry experienced significant growth. Today, the CCG companies have certified more than 80 million collectibles.
Reflecting on the evolution of the business and industry, Salzberg remarks, "While the early 'Wild West' days were exhilarating, witnessing where we are now is incredibly rewarding. I am fully aware of how fortunate I am to have pursued something I am passionate about and turned it into my profession."
Steven Eichenbaum acknowledges the profound impact of Salzberg's vision, innovation, and dedication, stating, "Mark Salzberg's leadership has forever transformed the collectibles industry. He excels in cultivating meaningful relationships and bringing big ideas to fruition."
Max Spiegel, President of CCG, emphasises Salzberg's exceptional combination of collectibles expertise, business acumen, and visionary thinking. He remarks on the significant impact Salzberg has had on his own career, admiring how Salzberg identifies underserved market areas and passionately develops best-in-class solutions.
Salzberg's strong leadership extends to his mentorship of emerging numismatists. He has guided numerous graders at the Certified Collectibles Group, taught classes at the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Summer Seminar, and published educational pieces for numismatic journals.
Mark Salzberg entered the world of coins aged just seven years old!
Rick Montgomery, NGC President and Finalizer, attests to the impact of Salzberg's leadership, recounting his enjoyment of working alongside him in the grading room. Montgomery appreciates not only Salzberg's expertise in assessing remarkable coins but also the mutual respect they share. The NGC Grading Team, established over the past 20 years, benefits greatly from this shared passion, culture, and commitment to numismatics.
Having spent the majority of his 35-year tenure with CCG in the coin grading room, Salzberg has evaluated the world's most prestigious coins. He is widely recognized for his central role in standardising and promoting the use of highly precise grading scales, a crucial aspect of the collectibles industry's development.
As an ANA Life Member, Salzberg was honoured with the ANA's Numismatist of the Year award in 2006 and the Presidential Award in 1998. He is also a member of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG). Education holds a special place in Salzberg's heart, and he played a key role in creating the US Mint's H.I.P. Pocket Change Program, which aims to educate and foster youth interest in collecting. Salzberg's fascination with coins began at the age of 7, and by 11, he was already working in a coin shop.
Salzberg has also generously given back to the hobby through significant financial support. Under his leadership, NGC has contributed millions of dollars to the ANA and the PNG. Additionally, he sponsored the Smithsonian Institution's Legendary Coins and Currency exhibit, facilitating the preservation and conservation of some of the nation's most cherished artifacts.
Expressing pride in his father's career and legacy, Andy Salzberg, CCG Executive Vice President, acknowledges the impact Mark Salzberg has had on over 40 world-class graders he mentored throughout the years. Andy Salzberg highlights Mark's reputation as one of the best graders worldwide and his exceptional ability to assemble the best grading team. While Mark will be missed, Andy is confident in the company's preparedness and looks forward to learning from his father's business acumen.
Since CCG's acquisition by Blackstone in mid-2021, Salzberg has gradually reduced his involvement in day-to-day operations while maintaining a position on the CCG Board of Directors. With his official retirement approaching at the end of June, Salzberg will step down from the board, confident in its current direction and the capabilities of the CCG executive team.
Salzberg finds his transition to retirement unexpectedly exciting and natural. Supported by his partner and sounding board, Donna, throughout their four-decade journey, they now anticipate more flexibility to travel and spend time with family. Salzberg has also been working on a mobile game with a strong collectibles component, assembling a world-class team to bring it to market.
He is humbled and delighted to see what the next generation has in store for the world of collectibles.
Salzberg concludes by expressing his gratitude to everyone at CCG, recognizing that his career, the growth of the company, and all the achievements would not have been possible without the incredible people he worked alongside. Together, they built a business that fills everyone with extraordinary pride while transforming the global landscape of collecting.