Collectors Universe acquires American Gemological Laboratories

American Gemological Laboratories announced Monday that it was acquired by Collectors Universe, Inc. The acquisition price was $3.5 million in cash, with contingent payments of up to an aggregate of an additional $3.5 million over the next five years based on the performance of AGL.

AGL, an international forensic colored gemstone certification and grading laboratory, is one of the leading third party labs for colored gemstones, including colored gemstones that are sold at auction through Sotheby’s and Christies and by jewelry retailers such as Cartier and Fred Leighton.

In November 2005, Collectors Universe acquired Gem Certification & Assurance Lab and in December 2005 acquired all the assets of Gemprint. So the Newport Beach, Calif.-based company now owns a diamond lab and a colored stone lab.

AGL was founded by C.R. “Cap” Beesely, who is a Graduate Gemologist of the Gemological Institute of America and a recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in gemology from the Accredited Gemologists Association, given annually to the individual who has made significant contributions to the field. Beesley, president of AGL since its founding in 1977, will retain the position even though the lab will be operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Collectors Universe.

“I am very excited to join Collectors Universe and to have AGL become a Collectors Universe company and its continued expansion into the jewelry business,” Beesley said. “Throughout my career, I have always been an advocate of improved consumer information and disclosure and have had success influencing the markets with our third party certification. Now with the substantial resources, both financial and technological, and the reputation for integrity of Collectors Universe and its divisions, I am confident that together we will bring the benefits of third party certification to many more thousands of retail transactions each year.”

Chief executive officer of Collectors Universe, Michael Haynes commented, “The acquisition of AGL represents a further step in the implementation of our strategic plan to provide superior authentication and grading services in the diamond and colored gemstone markets. AGL is one the most highly regarded companies in the colored gemstone market and we are also pleased to have secured Cap Beesley’s unmatched experience and knowledge as president of AGL. With AGL joining our diamond lab Gem Certification & Assurance Lab, we are continuing our ‘best of breed’ philosophy in our operations and leadership.”

AGL has one of the largest colored gemstone reference collections, with over 5,000 stones from various countries and specimens demonstrating the various enhancements and treatments, which is critical to the ability to accurately evaluate the nature and quality of colored gemstone enhancements and to determine the country of origin. Collectors Universe celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006, and through it operating divisions, certified more than 3 million items in the last year value at almost $3 billion.