proof walkers
1 1

24 posts in this topic

22 posts

I usually collect foreign so I'm not too familiar with US coins. Even in US, the few pieces I have are always business strikes. Ever since a friend got a flock of sets from his Dad, who bought them from the Gov't, I've been intrigued by the old 36-42 proof sets.  In these sets, the key piece is the Walking Half.  I understand these come in proof cameo (PFCA) and non-cameo proof (PF); the latter appearing more as a regular business strike. So the question is: Since the PFCA attribute was an accident, are there degrees between regular frosted finish and the cameo finish? I'd assume the CA finish was for newly prepared dies, thus as they're used the Cameo Effect should gradually lessen with every strike?

Also these things (PFCA/ proof cameo Walkers) seem quite scarce [unfortunately] from the pop reports. The lower prices may also mean that people think there are a lot more of them out there, unslabbed, in people's old 36-42 proof sets sitting in closets?  How many are thought to be uncertified?  Maybe the lower prices just reflect the unfavor that classic proof coins are currently in?

Edited by Gallienus1
clarify

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,708 posts

There are presumably some 1936-1942 proofs (from all denominations) without the designation that are eligible for it, but I doubt it is many.  I don't recall when NGC or PCGS first started using it.  Though it's a narrow type of scarcity (as with higher grades and other forms of specialization), I do believe that these coins are scarce to rare under US standards.  I doubt there are that many (at least in absolute terms) that haven't been submitted.

I have never seen one of these coins in person (only from images) but the contrast doesn't seem that noticeable and there are zero DCAM listed at least for WLH and Mercury dimes.  Additionally, as with other aspects of TPG grading, I find this one arbitrary.  Different coins but I own a South African 1954 PR-68 CAM six pence which I consider to have less cameo contrast versus other coins I own without this designation.

It's also possible that the increases in the TPG populations are the result of a different version of "gradeflation".  Years ago when I checked the data, there were no WLH and only a very low number for the 1939 Mercury dime.  Now there are some from most dates and the combined count for the '39 dime is 58.

As for the prices, I don't recall any sales for WLH offhand but the Mercury's didn't sell for what I would call particularly strong prices.  I recall one which did and this coin must have had a much stronger contrast.  As to whether the prices are "low", I'd say maybe or yes versus the business strikes but wouldn't expect most to sell for a lot more since I doubt the eye appeal is sufficiently noticeable on most.

In isolation, the coins might appear "cheap" but when the comparison moves outside of the series versus other coins in a similar price range, not really.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24,958 posts

Since the 'cameo contrast' on the devices was never considered when striking Walking Liberty halve proofs from this era, having a modicum of frost was unintentional and rare. One can only guess why the grading services did not recognize cameo at first but I suspect it was the method of manufacture, as in 'brilliant proof' only which caused them to be reserved. I cannot explain how cameo contrast Walkers happened because the dies where never pickled, sand blasted or intentionally made to produce cameo coins, it's like they just happened, much to the collectors delight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
478 posts

Since CAM Walkers are so scarce, one would think that the price multiples would be greater between non-CAM and CAM. As with many older proofs, there are, as you suggest, varying degrees of frost/contrast. Speaking for myself, I look for nice contrast without paying big bucks for the CAM designation; i.e. when there is a big price difference. The fact that there aren't greater multiples for WLH proofs may mean that the contrast isn't all that remarkable, even to the registry guys (?). That's a great question for more experienced members. As a caveat to price discussions, there appear to be darn few recent auction appearances.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12,823 posts
31 minutes ago, LINCOLNMAN said:

Since CAM Walkers are so scarce, one would think that the price multiples would be greater between non-CAM and CAM. As with many older proofs, there are, as you suggest, varying degrees of frost/contrast. Speaking for myself, I look for nice contrast without paying big bucks for the CAM designation; i.e. when there is a big price difference. The fact that there aren't greater multiples for WLH proofs may mean that the contrast isn't all that remarkable, even to the registry guys (?). That's a great question for more experienced members. As a caveat to price discussions, there appear to be darn few recent auction appearances.

Premiums for Cameo Proofs ARE quite large. As one rather extreme example, a PCGS/CAC PR66 1942 reportedly brought in excess of $13,000 at auction a couple of years ago. Meanwhile, non-cameo PR66 CAC pieces have sold for less than 4% of that amount.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,708 posts
2 hours ago, LINCOLNMAN said:

Speaking for myself, I look for nice contrast without paying big bucks for the CAM designation; i.e. when there is a big price difference. 

This is the best strategy in my opinion also.

On the rest of your comments, I just checked the Heritage archives and my last comment wasn't completely correct.  There are sales going back to 2004 but I didn't remember seeing the coins in the population data though I thought I checked.

The Heritage archives also support Mark's comment, though the listed sales prices were a lot lower than his example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12,823 posts
58 minutes ago, World Colonial said:

This is the best strategy in my opinion also.

On the rest of your comments, I just checked the Heritage archives and my last comment wasn't completely correct.  There are sales going back to 2004 but I didn't remember seeing the coins in the population data though I thought I checked.

The Heritage archives also support Mark's comment, though the listed sales prices were a lot lower than his example.

Did you see another sale for the date and grade I mentioned? I don’t recall seeing another one. The 1942 is tougher than some other dates.

Edited by MarkFeld

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
478 posts
20 hours ago, MarkFeld said:

Premiums for Cameo Proofs ARE quite large. As one rather extreme example, a PCGS/CAC PR66 1942 reportedly brought in excess of $13,000 at auction a couple of years ago. Meanwhile, non-cameo PR66 CAC pieces have sold for less than 4% of that amount.

Don't mean to quibble, and that's a big premium in my book as well. However, as PCGS has certified a total of 4 '42 CAMs, with just 2 66 CAMs and none better, I would have thought that the registry guys would have bid this coin higher. Maybe I've seen too many crazy numbers for condition rarities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,708 posts
18 hours ago, MarkFeld said:

Did you see another sale for the date and grade I mentioned? I don’t recall seeing another one. The 1942 is tougher than some other dates.

I only checked the Heritage archives.  Five sales listed for 1942 PR-66, all in NGC holders and none recent.  The last cameo sale for a WLH is from 2014.

For this post, I didn't check the population data but maybe the example you cited is a PCGS coin.  The counts are (proportionately) a lot lower implying somewhat stricter standards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12,823 posts
34 minutes ago, World Colonial said:

I only checked the Heritage archives.  Five sales listed for 1942 PR-66, all in NGC holders and none recent.  The last cameo sale for a WLH is from 2014.

For this post, I didn't check the population data but maybe the example you cited is a PCGS coin.  The counts are (proportionately) a lot lower implying somewhat stricter standards.

Thanks and yes, it was a PCGS/CAC PR66 example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12,000 posts

The book "United States Proof Coins 1936-1942" should answer just about any question you might have regarding this series. (At least, that's what I planned when I wrote it.)  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,708 posts
3 hours ago, LINCOLNMAN said:

Don't mean to quibble, and that's a big premium in my book as well. However, as PCGS has certified a total of 4 '42 CAMs, with just 2 66 CAMs and none better, I would have thought that the registry guys would have bid this coin higher. Maybe I've seen too many crazy numbers for condition rarities.

Over the years, I have looked at a lot of prior auction results which for US coins is almost exclusively from the Heritage archives.  My recollection is that with limited exceptions, the prices for proof condition rarities are usually a lot lower than circulation strikes. 

I presume this is due to the (proportionately) lower or far lower number of series collectors.  Even among pre-1858 Seated proofs, the prices of at least some dates are "low" for a US coin given the number of estimated survivors.  As one example, Northeast Numismatics offered (don't know the sales price) an 1857 NGC PR-63 quarter for $5750 about 10 years ago.  A Heritage listing states 40 minted with maybe two dozen known.  Subsequently, I believe one in the same grade (maybe the same coin) sold for less. 

I presume it's because most buyers only want one example, don't really care about the date and look for one with better eye appeal, whether for Seated, Barber and to some extent also 1936-1942 proofs.  Soon after I resumed collecting in 1998 and on occasion since, I have reviewed prices for all three groups.  I thought I might buy one in a grade like 63. 

Today and recently, I wouldn't want it below PR-64 CAM.  Too many hairlines and not enough eye appeal.  I suspect a lot of collectors think likewise even though Walkers cover only seven years.  Even with a low combined population, there isn't the competition which exists for the highest grade circulation strikes of a particular date.

This applies even more to the more common Seated proofs and Barbers.  Barber halves and quarters mintages I believe range from around 500 to slightly over 1000 for each date.  Sure the mintage appears low, but it isn't that low compared to the number of surviving circulation strikes for each date.  With few series collectors, with a combined mintage (for the series) maybe between 15,000 and 25,000, that's a lot of supply even if only half survive when most of the relatively few collectors who even want one still only want one.  Hence the "low" prices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,680 posts

Proof Cameo Walkers are an incomplete set available. Therefore I say ---- stay with your beloved foreign coin sets and enjoy your collection. :)

 

Skyman ----- WOWSERS!! on the great piece you showed up with.

Did that get a 67 or a 66? Looks close to a 67 Cameo. The reverse is SWEET for sure.

Edited by Six Mile Rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5,533 posts
44 minutes ago, Six Mile Rick said:

Proof Cameo Walkers are an incomplete set available. Therefore I say ---- stay with your beloved foreign coin sets and enjoy your collection. :)

 

Skyman ----- WOWSERS!! on the great piece you showed up with.

Did that get a 67 or a 66? Looks close to a 67 Cameo. The reverse is SWEET for sure.

PR66CAM.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,708 posts
15 hours ago, Six Mile Rick said:

Proof Cameo Walkers are an incomplete set available. Therefore I say ---- stay with your beloved foreign coin sets and enjoy your collection. :)

Proof WLH, Seated coinage or Barbers weren't high on my list and never will be, like maybe in the range of number 500 to 1000 out of all of the type coins available to be bought. 

I don't know how other collectors decide what they want to buy.  I look at most of the universe only automatically excluding most coins without western alphabets in the legend.  Everything else is a candidate and then I go for the coins I consider most interesting for my budget.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
478 posts
On ‎3‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 2:34 PM, SkyMan said:

Looking at current PCGS and NGC population reports there are currently a TOTAL of 18 CAM graded proof Walking Liberties (8 PCGS, 10 NGC).  These things are rare.  I've had mine (NGC PR66CAM 1938) since 2004, and every few years I check the populations.  Actually, at one point the population was in the very low 20's, but clearly someone was sending in the same piece over and over again, hoping for a higher grade.  One would assume that person sent back in the old grading labels, given the current total of 18 coins out there.  I haven't seen an increase in population in years.  The kicker for getting the cameo grade on these coins is having frost on the sun.  

bc1938_66camWLo6t.jpg

bc1938_66camWLr1t.jpg

That's a rare beauty. One for posterity IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,543 posts

There are not many CAMs in the early 36-42 proof sets. I also do not think there are that many (? <10%) sitting in a closet with an old collection, since they are now at least 75 years old.

https://legendauctions.hibid.com/lot/23363366/50c-1942-pcgs-pr66-cameo-cac/

https://coins.ha.com/itm/proof-walking-liberty-half-dollars/1938-50c-pr66-cameo-pcgs/a/1151-5812.s?hdnJumpToLot=1x=0&y=0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4,308 posts
49 minutes ago, e1cnr said:

There are not many CAMs in the early 36-42 proof sets. I also do not think there are that many (? <10%) sitting in a closet with an old collection, since they are now at least 75 years old.

https://legendauctions.hibid.com/lot/23363366/50c-1942-pcgs-pr66-cameo-cac/

https://coins.ha.com/itm/proof-walking-liberty-half-dollars/1938-50c-pr66-cameo-pcgs/a/1151-5812.s?hdnJumpToLot=1x=0&y=0

The sun looks a little iffy on both of those coins, frost-wise, but it could just be the pics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
872 posts

The only cameo events that could happen would be about 20 or 25 coins from new die pairs where both obverse and reverse pairs were put into service together. Look at Roger Burdette's book to see how many times new dies were put into service for each date. As others have stated your best option is to find  properly conserved coins with deep mirrors and frosty devices. Mine are just that in Pf 67.

3_17_2018_1_21_38_PM.jpg

3_17_2018_1_34_26_PM.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,452 posts
On 3/15/2018 at 3:05 PM, e1cnr said:

There are not many CAMs in the early 36-42 proof sets. I also do not think there are that many (? <10%) sitting in a closet with an old collection, since they are now at least 75 years old.

https://legendauctions.hibid.com/lot/23363366/50c-1942-pcgs-pr66-cameo-cac/

https://coins.ha.com/itm/proof-walking-liberty-half-dollars/1938-50c-pr66-cameo-pcgs/a/1151-5812.s?hdnJumpToLot=1x=0&y=0

Its so bogus that they claim the sun frost is a requirement, when many of them incuding these 2 have no sun frost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
872 posts
10 hours ago, mumu said:

Its so bogus that they claim the sun frost is a requirement, when many of them incuding these 2 have no sun frost.

This is generally why there are so few cameo designated Walkers. Also consider the fact that no intent was there to make cameo coins - it just happened when new dies were put into service.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
1 1