U.S. Coins: Dollars
Morgan Dollar CAM [Type] · Morgan Dollars (Proof)
About Morgan Dollar CAM [Type] Morgan Dollars (Proof)
Some of the proof Morgan dollars struck from 1878 through 1904, as well as the limited number of proof-quality strikes in 1921, exhibit cameo contrast in which the devices, inscriptions, and other raised design elements of the coins bear white, frosty surfaces. The degree to which the cameo contrast bears out varies from piece to piece. But the general idea is that so long as the raised surfaces exhibit mostly complete, if even only light, frostiness then it qualifies as a cameo. This is particularly so if the devices and other raised elements on both sides of the same coin exhibit this cameo contrast.
On older proof coinage such as Morgan dollars, cameo proofs are generally much scarcer than typical proofs exhibiting little to no contrast between the devices and the fields. Cameos are thus not only scarcer than ordinary proofs, but they also command a much larger premium. How does one tell the difference between a cameo proofs and a deep cameo? While the nuances of subjectivity sometimes cause a bit of confusion in this department, as it does in most areas of coin grading, most experts agree that a deep cameo must show heavy frosting on the devices of the obverse and reverse with heavy contrast between the devices and the fields.
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