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Cameo on Canadian coins

By thecanadiannumismatist    |   Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Cameo defines a frosted visual appearance on the design of a modern coin and a polished appearance of the field, mostly for specimen, proof-like and proof finishes. This visual eye appeal adds to the value of a coin.

This effect is attributed to an acid residue that remained on the die after cleaning. As the die hits the blanks, the residue on it is less and less present and the cameo effect fades. Cameo is not always evenly visible on both sides.

Cameo is much more apparent on proofs as the shiny background on the field helps to bring out the frost effect. Furthermore, the dies used for these coins are replaced more often.

Most certification services use these designations on their holders, but with some dissimilarities.


PCGS started to recognize cameo and deep cameo finishes for Canadian PL and SP coins in 2017 on Sheldon scale 60 and up. The designation on proof coins was already used.

1 dollar 1967 - Canada


Coins without or that display frosting on only one side don't receive any designation.

1 dollar 1967 Cameo - Canada


Light to moderate frosting on both the obverse and reverse.

1 dollar 1967 Deep Cameo - Canada

Deep Cameo

Heavy frosting on both the obverse and reverse.


NGC uses Cameo and Ultra Cameo on their holders. To earn the Cameo or Ultra Cameo designation, the coin must show the contrast between the fields and devices on both sides.


Coins that have frosted devices and lettering that contrast with the fields.

  • Cameo: Frosty raised surface.
  • Heavy cameo: Very frosty raised surface.
  • Ultra Heavy Cameo: Extremely frosty raised surface.


ICCS uses Cameo, Heavy Cameo and Ultra Heavy Cameo on their holders.

Toning and Cameo are two seperate things. Toning also affects the eye appeal of a coin, but it can be positive, neutral or negative it depends on what the toning looks like. Eye appeal is certainly one of the most subjective aspects of evaluating a coin's grade.

Prices gap examples

1 cent 1953 SF

  • PL-65 - $468
  • PL-65 - Cameo - $490
  • PL-65 - Heavy Cameo - $723
  • PL-65 - Ultra Heavy Cameo - $1,370

25 cents 1964

  • MS-65 - $44.70
  • MS-65 - Heavy Cameo - $49.60
  • MS-65 - Ultra Heavy Cameo - $131

1 dollar 1967

  • PL-67 - $91.80
  • PL-67 - Cameo - $108
  • PL-67 - Heavy Cameo - $186
  • PL-67 - Ultra Heavy Cameo - $476

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