1936 Buffalo proof – sold for $99,000 !
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46 posts in this topic

On 3/8/2022 at 10:03 PM, FlyingAl said:

Woods, there will never be any Satin CAMs, due to the fact that the dies were never polished. They were exactly the same as the dies used for circulation strikes, the only difference was that the coins were struck at higher pressure on a medal press if memory serves right. As a result, they will never have the contrast needed for CAM. Roger is exactly right that the CAMs of this era were accidental, one could even go as far to say that they were not desired and the Mint didn't want to produce them because the collectors wanted fully brilliant coins, and a CAM didn't fit that description. I would imagine that the mint would have gotten some angry letters if the cameos weren't so rare.

However, there are some nice 1937 CAM Buffs, one is below, I got this form Michael Kittle's website, I couldn't find it on CU's forums but an internet search turned it up:

 

 

 

60191207slabo.jpg

60191207slabr.jpg

That is beautiful

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The 1936-41 proof coin book shows records for most new dies, and those are the only ones from which a "cameo" effect can arise.

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I have found the grading companies to be very inconsistent when it comes to giving Proof coins the "Cam" designation. For example, these two Proof coins don't have it. 

 

 

599030523_1939DimeCam2O.jpg.e015a4db94785046f8d420d8d7103499.jpg148253465_1939DimeCam2R.jpg.3067c11e04b59a22e2eaf05dd5c1b6ec.jpg

332615891_1883silverdollarO2.jpg.a1de5411db6dba46a6ea906a6bebf75e.jpg210445075_1883silverdollarR.jpg.aec4682cd861b8594d4ef1291e906ed7.jpg

 

But this one was given a CAM. The obverse might be CAM, but not the reverse.

238887871_1869DollarO.jpg.91611859d0eb702cab0bee50502373ee.jpg11457222_1869DollarR.jpg.d74bdfe6be8d3c8695cc116e8b528456.jpg

 

Edited by BillJones
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On 3/12/2022 at 1:17 PM, BillJones said:

I have found the grading companies to be very inconsistent when it comes to giving Proof coins the "Cam" designation. For example, these two Proof coins don't have it. 

 

 

599030523_1939DimeCam2O.jpg.e015a4db94785046f8d420d8d7103499.jpg148253465_1939DimeCam2R.jpg.3067c11e04b59a22e2eaf05dd5c1b6ec.jpg

332615891_1883silverdollarO2.jpg.a1de5411db6dba46a6ea906a6bebf75e.jpg210445075_1883silverdollarR.jpg.aec4682cd861b8594d4ef1291e906ed7.jpg

 

But this one was given a CAM. The obverse might be CAM, but not the reverse.

238887871_1869DollarO.jpg.91611859d0eb702cab0bee50502373ee.jpg11457222_1869DollarR.jpg.d74bdfe6be8d3c8695cc116e8b528456.jpg

 

Of those three coins, to me, the only one that looks deserving of the cameo designation is the Morgan Dollar.

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On 3/12/2022 at 2:32 PM, MarkFeld said:

Of those three coins, to me, the only one that looks deserving of the cameo designation is the Morgan Dollar.

Part of it is my photography. I bought the Mercury dime because the obverse is, at the least, a light CAM. I could have cited many more examples from my head, but I didn't buy the coins and therefore could not photograph them. Getting CAM on a Proof from the 1936 - 42 era is almost impossible, even if the coin shows it.

But, yes, I have no idea why the 1883 Proof dollar did not get a CAM.

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On 3/12/2022 at 2:40 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

It must be tough to see the cameo effect on a small denomination coin.

It is obvious on a dime. Look at just about any modern Proof. Anything smaller than that can be an issue, but then you are looking at half dimes, Silver Three Cent pieces and Gold dollars. This Type III gold dollar is a marked Proof CAM.

1377710785_1883GoldDollarAll.jpg.21fda568c6a485765a04ed5a8daf0c06.jpg

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The sadly frustrating part is that technology can eliminate all the guessing and squabbling.

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On 3/12/2022 at 3:58 PM, RWB said:

The sadly frustrating part is that technology can eliminate all the guessing and squabbling.

What do you mean -- you mean using like special lights/lasers to reflect off the coins ?

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Although I appreciate the efforts by the TPGs, I also have found inconsistency in what is Cameo or not & also those designated as currency/uncirculated PL and Ultra and Deep cameo. Let us not go there with mattes and their grading...

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The grading companies are especially tough with these when designating CAM. If there's any weakness, it's not a CAM, and many of these proofs have to be more CAM than other eras as a result. A coin that might be a high level cameo or borderline UCAM for one proof era doesn't end up in a CAM holder for this era. 

With that note, Bill's dime is in my mind no doubt a cameo. It has no frost weakness to my eyes, has deep liquid mirrors, and great eye appeal. The only problem is that the dimes are number two in number of cameos because of the year 1939. It was likely that one collector got a run of the cameos and saved them to where they are in collector hands today. It is probable that the coin was not designated because it is not quite as deep in its frost as the other designated CAMs. Either way, it may get the destination upon resubmission. It should in my eyes anyways. 

That is my main beef with the TPGs for this era. If the gold dollar Bill posted had the frost and mirrors like his dime did, it would likely be an Ultra Cameo candidate. So why doesn't his dime get the designation? I hate to say it, but I wonder if the TPGs don't really understand that the proofs of this era won't be as deep in CAM as other eras and that very few die pairings would ever strike CAMs. Only new dies, and when they had just come out of die hubbing and cleanup without excess polishing to the devices, could produce cameos. It is critical that the satin surface created by the hubbing process was not removed, because there was no extra step to add a frosted surface to the dies. It is likely that the mint actually polished the recessed areas of the die too, just like is seen in the Brilliant proof Buffalos and how they have a weaker coat detail by far than the Satin coins. Of course, that is not the only reason. So since the mint wanted the entire coin to be brilliant when it was struck, especially in 1936, one can tell with a high degree of certainty that these cameo proofs are unintentional. Think of the other proof eras and you will realize that the Mint never took steps to remove the frost of the dies, except for the fields. In the earlier eras, the flat fields made this easy. In the later eras, the mint added an acid dip to make it possible to retain the frost with excess polishing, but tried not to over polished the dies. Even later, the laser frosting was adopted. 

So is that why this era has, by far, the least CAMs in relation to coins struck? Yes. It is the only time in mint history where proofs were sold to collectors where the mint at times polished the whole die, and intentionally at times. They likely did this because that is what collectors wanted at a time when they had not idea that CAMs existed, or didn't recognize them. It is my opinion that if the collectors weren't in such an uproar over the "dull" proofs in 1936, and the mint did not polish the dies excessively, we may have either fully Satin proof sets or many more cameo coins. The cameos are more likely, assuming the mint learned form its failure in 1916. 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/12/2022 at 6:05 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

What do you mean -- you mean using like special lights/lasers to reflect off the coins ?

I've explained before -- aim a small laser beam at several spots on the obverse and reverse; measure the coincident reflection contrast (i.e. correlation between beam and reflection); record results. The set-up and calibration is simple --- begin with the highest quality proof, then PL, then lower-PL all according to the TPG's visual opinions. These become the standards for each category of reluctance with appropriate +/- range. Once calibrated the system will evaluate results for each new submission and assign a category of the coin. This is independent of bias and opinion -- except that the original calibration is a representation of opinion.

Measurements could be made through plastic slabs, although it would require calibration for each type of plastic and the angle of coin to laser beam.

Results will be consistent, repeatable, and objective within system calibration.

Edited by RWB
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Roger, I get what you are saying, but since the different time periods of proofs had different processes to create the dies, and therefore slightly different surfaces on the finished coins, would this affect the result? You mention in your book of 1936-42 proofs areas of brilliance on the cameos, which was apparent in the pictures. However, with Bill's proof Morgan, there are not the same degree of brilliant areas. Are you suggesting that the TPGs take readings for each era of proofs and then apply the standard?

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Polishing was done the same way and the dies always began as ordinary items. A TPG could establish ranges for authentic Master and proof coins based on date if they wished. But I doubt it would make much difference. There are superbly reflective Master coins from the 1830s, and there are dull proofs from the 1890s. It wouldn't matter for PL since they originated incidental to die repair, not intentional mirror-like polishing.

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