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 Denver Mint, the producer of more than half of our country's circulating coinage today, traces its lineage back to the private mint of Clark, Gruber & Co. The most respected and successful of the territorial mints that served the Colorado Gold Rush, this firm produced quarter eagles, half eagles, eagles, and double eagles in both 1860 and 1861. Despite their efforts, however, Clark, Gruber & Co. were unable to keep pace with the burgeoning population of Colorado. On the eve of the Civil War, the Colorado Territory boasted a population of twenty-five to thirty thousand inhabitants, with hundreds more arriving each day. As many of these people were miners, the existing supply of private coinage was woefully inadequate to prevent them from resorting to gold dust as a medium of exchange. Armed with these facts, the Colorado Territorial Convention of the Republican Party met on July 2, 1861 and drafted a resolution calling for a federal mint in Denver to supercede the activities of the local establishments. Amazingly, Clark, Gruber & Co. willingly admitted their shortcomings, supported the resolution, and even offered to sell their property to the federal government for the new mint. Despite rival claims for federal coinage facilities from Nevada (as benefactor of the Comstock Lode) and New York (as financial capital of the country), as well as the enormous wartime deficit, Congress passed the bill that established a branch mint in Denver, Colorado on April 21, 1862. After a year of the usual red tape and political jargon, on April 16, 1863, Uncle Sam purchased the Clark, Gruber & Co. building for the lofty sum of $25,000. After more than five months of extensive remodeling, the new mint was apparently ready to begin operations. For unknown reasons, however, Congress changed its mind at the last minute and opened the Denver facility merely as an assay office on September 24. It languished in this inglorious, although necessary role until early 1906, when Congress finally approved its operations as a full-fledged branch mint.
To commemorate this long-awaited event, the Denver Mint produced a limited number of specimen, or proof strikings in 1906. An unknown number of proof 1906-D Liberty eagles, along with 12 proof 1906-D Liberty double eagles, were delivered for presentation purposes. For years, numismatists believed that these were the only two denominations to receive such attention from the Denver Mint in 1906. In 1976, however, Walter Breen examined a 1906-D Barber dime at the NCNA Convention in San Francisco's Jack Tar Hotel. He concluded that the coin was indeed a specimen striking due to the following characteristics: the dies are in their earliest state and have been brilliantly polished, and the coin was given at least two impressions from the dies as every device is as boldly defined as similarly dated proofs from the Philadelphia Mint. In 1989, this coin was certified Specimen MS 64 by NGC, an event that was announced in the July 12, 1989 edition of Coin World.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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