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NGC ★ Ultra Cameo Coins

As many know, NGC will award a "★" designation to coins that have something special going on with the cameo finish, whether it's really strong but not enough for the next designation (such as ★ CAM instead of UCAM,) or one side of the coin seems to deserve a certain cameo designation but the other is holding it back. It is also used to designate nice toning, but that is not the topic of this thread.
Some coins with extraordinary frost will receive a designation of ★ UCAM. These coins are not very common but are really nice to see, which is why I made this thread: for you to post yours! It's not very easy to find pictures of them on the internet. Here are just a few on Heritage Auctions, though.








Young Numismatist

Comments

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    1Bufffan1Bufffan Posts: 619 ✭✭✭

    Those "Stars" are shinning Bright on all of those examples that are shown here.

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    bud221bud221 Posts: 10 ✭✭✭

    I only have one, but it doesn't have the CAM or DCAM designation.

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    FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    These coins are super cool. The only issue I have with the star is it's subjectivity - it really matters what grader set you get at NGC. Sometimes the star is mostly for color, but other times you'll see it applied for contrast.

    There is also the big question of why obverse DCAM coins with brilliant reverses get the star, but if the reverse is DCAM and the obverse is brilliant it almost never gets the star (I've never seen one).

    No matter what though - usually the star coins are a beauty to behold.

    Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

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    MFeldMFeld Posts: 12,053 ✭✭✭✭✭

    So, if a coin is already graded PR69 UCAM and color-free, what does the Star (supposedly) signify? I’m having a hard time thinking it’s not redundant.

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

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    DeplorableDanDeplorableDan Posts: 2,539 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MFeld said:
    So, if a coin is already graded PR69 UCAM and color-free, what does the Star (supposedly) signify? I’m having a hard time thinking it’s not redundant.

    That’s what I’m having trouble understanding. I understand the first part of OPs explanation about the coin not making the designation but being close, but if it’s already a UCAM the star represents that is a stronger contrast than a normal UCAM?

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    dunkleosteus430dunkleosteus430 Posts: 471 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 19, 2023 2:23PM

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @MFeld said:
    So, if a coin is already graded PR69 UCAM and color-free, what does the Star (supposedly) signify? I’m having a hard time thinking it’s not redundant.

    That’s what I’m having trouble understanding. I understand the first part of OPs explanation about the coin not making the designation but being close, but if it’s already a UCAM the star represents that is a stronger contrast than a normal UCAM?

    Yes. To my understanding, the ★ UCAM designation is used when an older proof coin has very strong contrast that is similar to the black-and-white frost on modern proof coins.

    Young Numismatist

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    lilolmelilolme Posts: 2,462 ✭✭✭✭✭

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=2YNufnS_kf4 - Mama I'm coming home ...................................................................................................................................................................... RLJ 1958 - 2023

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    1madman1madman Posts: 1,295 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @MFeld said:
    So, if a coin is already graded PR69 UCAM and color-free, what does the Star (supposedly) signify? I’m having a hard time thinking it’s not redundant.

    That’s what I’m having trouble understanding. I understand the first part of OPs explanation about the coin not making the designation but being close, but if it’s already a UCAM the star represents that is a stronger contrast than a normal UCAM?

    My guess is it basically is a 69+ UCAM. Since that +grade doesn’t “exist”, NGC has found a way to create it.

    I’ve made 1 ms70*star coin and it’s tough, trust me.

    Are there any coins that have graded 70ultra cameo *star? Does that designation/grade exist?

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    dunkleosteus430dunkleosteus430 Posts: 471 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 19, 2023 2:43PM

    @1madman said:

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @MFeld said:
    So, if a coin is already graded PR69 UCAM and color-free, what does the Star (supposedly) signify? I’m having a hard time thinking it’s not redundant.

    That’s what I’m having trouble understanding. I understand the first part of OPs explanation about the coin not making the designation but being close, but if it’s already a UCAM the star represents that is a stronger contrast than a normal UCAM?

    My guess is it basically is a 69+ UCAM. Since that +grade doesn’t “exist”, NGC has found a way to create it.

    I’ve made 1 ms70*star coin and it’s tough, trust me.

    Are there any coins that have graded 70ultra cameo *star? Does that designation/grade exist?

    I think possibly on some Ikes, earlier ASEs, Kennedys, etc. I might have seen it on an ASE from the 80's, but I can't remember.

    Edit: nevermind, I think it was an MS-70 ★.

    Young Numismatist

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    lilolmelilolme Posts: 2,462 ✭✭✭✭✭

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=2YNufnS_kf4 - Mama I'm coming home ...................................................................................................................................................................... RLJ 1958 - 2023

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    MFeldMFeld Posts: 12,053 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 19, 2023 3:04PM

    .> @1madman said:

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @MFeld said:
    So, if a coin is already graded PR69 UCAM and color-free, what does the Star (supposedly) signify? I’m having a hard time thinking it’s not redundant.

    That’s what I’m having trouble understanding. I understand the first part of OPs explanation about the coin not making the designation but being close, but if it’s already a UCAM the star represents that is a stronger contrast than a normal UCAM?

    My guess is it basically is a 69+ UCAM. Since that +grade doesn’t “exist”, NGC has found a way to create it.

    I’ve made 1 ms70*star coin and it’s tough, trust me.

    Are there any coins that have graded 70ultra cameo *star? Does that designation/grade exist?

    Hopefully, that’s not the case, as the Star is supposed to represent exceptional eye-appeal, not quality.
    It appears that the explanation was provided by @lilolme, from NGC’s website:

    “In applying star designations to applicable proof coins, all of the above criteria apply for toned
    coins. Untoned coins, however, must meet one of the additional criteria outlined below to qualify:

    …They qualify for the ultra cameo designation and, in addition, exhibit exceptionally intense contrast between devices and fields on both the obverse and reverse that exceeds by a
    generous margin that of the normal ultra cameo standard.”

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

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    GoBustGoBust Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Those are wow!

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    FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MFeld said:
    .> @1madman said:

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @MFeld said:
    So, if a coin is already graded PR69 UCAM and color-free, what does the Star (supposedly) signify? I’m having a hard time thinking it’s not redundant.

    That’s what I’m having trouble understanding. I understand the first part of OPs explanation about the coin not making the designation but being close, but if it’s already a UCAM the star represents that is a stronger contrast than a normal UCAM?

    My guess is it basically is a 69+ UCAM. Since that +grade doesn’t “exist”, NGC has found a way to create it.

    I’ve made 1 ms70*star coin and it’s tough, trust me.

    Are there any coins that have graded 70ultra cameo *star? Does that designation/grade exist?

    Hopefully, that’s not the case, as the Star is supposed to represent exceptional eye-appeal, not quality.
    It appears that the explanation was provided by @lilolme:

    “In applying star designations to applicable proof coins, all of the above criteria apply for toned
    coins. Untoned coins, however, must meet one of the additional criteria outlined below to qualify:

    …They qualify for the ultra cameo designation and, in addition, exhibit exceptionally intense contrast between devices and fields on both the obverse and reverse that exceeds by a
    generous margin that of the normal ultra cameo standard.”

    As I understand it, the coins display a level of contrast above and beyond what a normal Ultra Cameo shows. As such, the coin has a higher degree of eye appeal and garners the star designation for that eye appeal.

    We can see this in the OP post, where several fantastic gold and silver 19th century proofs with exceptional contrast are shown. I think we can all agree that these are not your average Ultra Cameo proofs and have a level of contrast beyond what is usually designated as Ultra Cameo. I consider each of these much more appealing than a standard non-star Ultra Cameo, and evidently NGC agrees with my assessment.

    Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

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    johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 27,512 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's all good stuff 👍

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    1madman1madman Posts: 1,295 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MFeld said:
    .> @1madman said:

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @MFeld said:
    So, if a coin is already graded PR69 UCAM and color-free, what does the Star (supposedly) signify? I’m having a hard time thinking it’s not redundant.

    That’s what I’m having trouble understanding. I understand the first part of OPs explanation about the coin not making the designation but being close, but if it’s already a UCAM the star represents that is a stronger contrast than a normal UCAM?

    My guess is it basically is a 69+ UCAM. Since that +grade doesn’t “exist”, NGC has found a way to create it.

    I’ve made 1 ms70*star coin and it’s tough, trust me.

    Are there any coins that have graded 70ultra cameo *star? Does that designation/grade exist?

    Hopefully, that’s not the case, as the Star is supposed to represent exceptional eye-appeal, not quality.
    It appears that the explanation was provided by @lilolme, from NGC’s website:

    “In applying star designations to applicable proof coins, all of the above criteria apply for toned
    coins. Untoned coins, however, must meet one of the additional criteria outlined below to qualify:

    …They qualify for the ultra cameo designation and, in addition, exhibit exceptionally intense contrast between devices and fields on both the obverse and reverse that exceeds by a
    generous margin that of the normal ultra cameo standard.”

    Skip over at icg wrote an article about star coins (I can’t find it at the moment) l but I agree with him that they do exist in 70 grade. There is a level above for certain coins that make them exceptional. You don’t think these exist? I strongly disagree with you. Not all mint state / ultra cameo coins are created equal.

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MFeld said:
    So, if a coin is already graded PR69 UCAM and color-free, what does the Star (supposedly) signify? I’m having a hard time thinking it’s not redundant.

    Think of it as a DCAM/UCAM + for contrasts instead of the numerical grade. The scale looks like this:

    Star - appreciable frost, not full cam

    CAM

    CAM* (cameo plus)- solid cameo, at least one side borders on DCAM/UCAM

    UCAM

    UCAM* (UCAM plus)

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    MFeldMFeld Posts: 12,053 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @cameonut2011 said:

    @MFeld said:
    So, if a coin is already graded PR69 UCAM and color-free, what does the Star (supposedly) signify? I’m having a hard time thinking it’s not redundant.

    Think of it as a DCAM/UCAM + for contrasts instead of the numerical grade. The scale looks like this:

    Star - appreciable frost, not full cam

    CAM

    CAM* (cameo plus)- solid cameo, at least one side borders on DCAM/UCAM

    UCAM

    UCAM* (UCAM plus)

    Don’t/shouldn’t particularly high grade Proof coins with the UCAM designation have “exceptional eye appeal”? If not, perhaps the grade or designation isn’t justified. But if so, maybe an “extra exceptional eye appeal double star” designation should be added.😉

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MFeld said:

    @cameonut2011 said:

    @MFeld said:
    So, if a coin is already graded PR69 UCAM and color-free, what does the Star (supposedly) signify? I’m having a hard time thinking it’s not redundant.

    Think of it as a DCAM/UCAM + for contrasts instead of the numerical grade. The scale looks like this:

    Star - appreciable frost, not full cam

    CAM

    CAM* (cameo plus)- solid cameo, at least one side borders on DCAM/UCAM

    UCAM

    UCAM* (UCAM plus)

    Don’t/shouldn’t particularly high grade Proof coins with the UCAM designation have “exceptional eye appeal”? If not, perhaps the grade or designation isn’t justified. But if so, maybe an “extra exceptional eye appeal double star” designation should be added.😉

    There’s ambiguity for sure. That has always been my criticism of the designation more broadly. Star coins can range from “who cares?” to the crème de la crème.

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    JJMJJM Posts: 7,982 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wowzers

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MFeld said:
    But if so, maybe an “extra exceptional eye appeal double star” designation should be added.😉

    It should come in a rainbow colored slab with sparkles. Maybe they could borrow from the Vault Box people and call it the rainbow core awesomeness series.

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    bsshog40bsshog40 Posts: 3,777 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is the only star cameo I have. Not sure if given for eye appeal or nice Cam.

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    cameonut2011cameonut2011 Posts: 10,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @bsshog40 said:
    This is the only star cameo I have. Not sure if given for eye appeal or nice Cam.

    NGC seemingly felt that at least on side of your coin was borderline UCAM.

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    KurisuKurisu Posts: 1,850 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Coins are Neato!

    "If it's a penny for your thoughts and you put in your two cents worth, then someone...somewhere...is making a penny." - Steven Wright

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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    These ultra cameo coins are simply beautiful.... Especially those that have survived from the 1800's.... I do believe the extra terms/stars etc. are splitting an already fine hair, but I admire the coin beauty. Cheers, RickO

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    WAYNEASWAYNEAS Posts: 6,350 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Beautiful coins. 🤩
    Wayne

    Kennedys are my quest...

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