Is it possible to say that there will never be a CAM 1936-42 Washington Quarter?
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With all of the technology and information that we have now, it it possible to say that there will never be a cameo 1936-42 Washington Quarter? I think we might be able to, and here's why, but first we have to define a cameo. Here is my personal definition that I use : a coin struck by dies that have not had the frosted texture of hubbing and die cleanup removed while having and maintaining deeply polished and mirrored fields. There are other definitions, but for this era this definition seems to ring true in my opinion.

1. CoinFacts and online auction databases. We can see literally thousands of coins that were struck during this time period, and quickly and easily find the very best of these coins. We can tell which coins have the most cameo contrast and what die pair they were struck from based on tells like die polish and die scratches, and in many cases, recutting.

2. Die tables. We also are armed with the information of how many dies the Philadelphia Mint used. We can therefore match the coins to dies until we can, with certainty, say that the most contrasted coins did not stack up to meet the definition of cameo, and therefore there cannot be any for this year because we have run out of possible die combinations. This is also simpler than one might think, because only NEW die pairs, both obverse and reverse, can meet the definition of a cameo. It makes it easy to rule out a few die pairs right from the get go.

Both of these factors seem to make it possible to tell in today's time with the technology able to us, that we can theoretically rule out any cameo quarters for this era. I just went through GC's entire database of 1942 proof quarters and found one with a claim to cameo, but it still did not meet the definition of a CAM, based on mirrored wings in areas of the reverse. This was out of hundreds, maybe thousands, of coins. So that is one die pair down, out of 4 new die pairs according to RWB's die tables in his book. That of course, leaves out the possibility that some brand new die pairs were already too polished when they were put in service to produce CAMs. 

I do think that with a lot of time and effort, we could tell for certain that there could be no CAM 1936-1942 Washington quarters. It could very well be possible to stop theorizing that there are no CAMs and in essence prove it. What do you think? 

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We have no reliable information about the quantity of proof quarters (1936-42)  that have not been evaluated for cameo contrast. We also do not have an empirical standard for the term, although this seems to be better understood than the PL language.

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On 3/20/2022 at 3:38 PM, RWB said:

We have no reliable information about the quantity of proof quarters (1936-42)  that have not been evaluated for cameo contrast.

While this is true, if we could rule out the dies themselves rather than the coins - i.e if we could find coins from each new die pair that can show us wether or not the dies had the capability to strike a CAM. For example, this 1942 I saw earlier on GC. 

It has good contrast both obverse and reverse, but it is clear that the dies would have never struck a CAM due to the frost center wing being polished off at the mint before the dies were put into service. It is therefore fair to say in my opinion that we can rule out this one die pair, with fresh obverse and reverse die, from striking cameos. If we could repeat that with all new die pairs for 1942 and other years, we could perhaps achieve what I was mentioning. 

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On 3/20/2022 at 4:01 PM, FlyingAl said:

With all of the technology and information that we have now, it it possible to say that there will never be a cameo 1936-42 Washington Quarter? I think we might be able to, and here's why, but first we have to define a cameo. Here is my personal definition that I use : a coin struck by dies that have not had the frosted texture of hubbing and die cleanup removed while having and maintaining deeply polished and mirrored fields. There are other definitions, but for this era this definition seems to ring true in my opinion.

1. CoinFacts and online auction databases. We can see literally thousands of coins that were struck during this time period, and quickly and easily find the very best of these coins. We can tell which coins have the most cameo contrast and what die pair they were struck from based on tells like die polish and die scratches, and in many cases, recutting.

2. Die tables. We also are armed with the information of how many dies the Philadelphia Mint used. We can therefore match the coins to dies until we can, with certainty, say that the most contrasted coins did not stack up to meet the definition of cameo, and therefore there cannot be any for this year because we have run out of possible die combinations. This is also simpler than one might think, because only NEW die pairs, both obverse and reverse, can meet the definition of a cameo. It makes it easy to rule out a few die pairs right from the get go.

Both of these factors seem to make it possible to tell in today's time with the technology able to us, that we can theoretically rule out any cameo quarters for this era. I just went through GC's entire database of 1942 proof quarters and found one with a claim to cameo, but it still did not meet the definition of a CAM, based on mirrored wings in areas of the reverse. This was out of hundreds, maybe thousands, of coins. So that is one die pair down, out of 4 new die pairs according to RWB's die tables in his book. That of course, leaves out the possibility that some brand new die pairs were already too polished when they were put in service to produce CAMs. 

I do think that with a lot of time and effort, we could tell for certain that there could be no CAM 1936-1942 Washington quarters. It could very well be possible to stop theorizing that there are no CAMs and in essence prove it. What do you think? 


It’s possible to SAY it, but it’s by no means, a given that it’s correct.

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