US Coins

Market Analysis: PCGS Deep Cameo vs. NGC Ultra Cameo

A Proof 68 Ultra Cameo 1951 Franklin half dollar brought $60,000 in Heritage’s July 20 auction.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Professional Coin Grading Service uses the term “Deep Cameo” while Numismatic Guaranty Co. uses “Ultra Cameo” to note Proof coins with significant contrast between mirrored fields and frosty devices.

Some coins otherwise not noteworthy are exceptionally rare with heavy contrast in top grades, like a 1951 Franklin half dollar graded Proof 68 Ultra Cameo by NGC that sold for $60,000 in Heritage’s July 20 auction. PCGS has certified no examples with Deep Cameo contrast higher than Proof 67+, making this a prize for a top-graded set.

Another standout in the auction was a 1964 Kennedy half dollar of the Accented Hair variety, listed as FS-401 in the Cherrypickers’ reference, graded PCGS Proof 69 Deep Cameo that realized $30,001.20. In that book, Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton wrote, “The variety is identifiable by the enhanced hairlines in the central area of the hair, just below the part. However, the easiest way to identify the variety is the weak or broken lower left serif of the I (in LIBERTY).”

Heritage described the coin’s appearance, writing, “Brilliant, starkly contrasted surfaces yield liquidlike mirrors and sharp, frosty central device.”

It is one of five in this grade at PCGS, with none finer carrying a Deep Cameo designation.

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