The NGC Universal ID is a four digit alphanumeric that groups coins based on a unique combination of date, mintmark, denomination and striking process (MS, PF, or SP). These IDs are a simple organization of all coins prior to variety attribution and grading.
The mintage for proof 1908 quarter eagles was a reported 236 pieces. It is possible that the mint actually struck this many pieces, perhaps anticipating increased collector demand as a result of the new matte finish, and it is also possible that all 236 pieces were distributed. However, if all coins struck were indeed distributed, attrition took a very high toll on this date.
It is known that public reaction was not favorable to the new proofing finish, collectors much preferring the more traditional brilliant, mirrorlike finish. As a result, many proofs entered circulation and today are unrecognizable as such. Mintages dwindled over the next several years as the mint was unable to interest collectors in its more 'artistic' finished proofs and by 1915 the experiment was over. Today matte proof coins are highly prized and much better understood by the collecting public, therefore auction prices are consistently higher for matte proof gold than its brilliant counterparts.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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