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.
Bass-Dannreuther and other modern scholarship note that there is only one die pairing for this date (although there is a rare die state with obvious clashing on both sides), which boasts an unsurprisingly small recorded mintage of 4,520 pieces. Such a mintage places this issue squarely in the ranks of a 'neither high nor low' emission for this generally oft-neglected series. Bass-Dannreuther assign a middling R.4 rarity rating as well, estimating that 110-125 pieces are known.
For much of their early history and well into the mid-19th century, gold quarter eagles were the Rodney Dangerfield of coins, 'getting no respect' from mint personnel who were much more intent on producing the three workhorse coins of the early Mint era: copper large cents, silver half dollars, and gold half eagles. Walter Breen, speaking of the early days of the quarter eagle series in his Complete Encyclopedia, writes that 'during this whole decade [1796-1807], quarter eagles were coined only in isolated driblets of a few hundred or at most a few thousand pieces. In most of these years, each date represented a new design modification--creating instant rarities and type coins. The problem is less why the coins are rare, why so few were made to begin with, but why any were struck at all! To judge from available Archives records, they were ordered on whim by a few local banks (principally the Bank of Pennsylvania and the Bank of the United States), to judge from the condition of survivors, they spent most of their time in vaults. Between 1803 and 1833, the Mint's major output consisted of cents, half dollars, and half eagles, all other denominations had a kind of poor-relative status--seldom called for, few made, little welcome.'
The reverse die of the 1831 quarter eagle began as a new die for the 1830 issue, also known through a single die pairing, and that reverse continued in use through the single-marriage 1832, 1833, and 1834 With Motto issues. There are 149 dentils on the reverse, as compared with 147 on the obverse. The U in UNITED is recut, the large 2 in the denomination has a curved base, and there is recutting on the right lower upright of the I in AMERICA.
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