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 numerals in the date are even in height. This is the more common of the two varieties known.
In 1842, the Dahlonega mint experimented with date and lettering size. This was part of a period of experimentation at every mint that lasted from 1838 to 1843. The reasons for the frequent, subtle changes on gold coins during this era were most probably related to issues of standardization of design and improvements in strike. The 1842-D Small Date is much more available than its Large Date counterpart (the exact opposite is true on the Charlotte half eagles dated 1842 where the 1842-C Small Date is the rarity). There are an estimated 175-200 pieces known with 28-33 in AU and seven to nine in Uncirculated. Unlike the 1841-D, there are no very choice 1842-D Small Date half eagles known.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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