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 1803 Capped Bust Right, Heraldic Eagle ten dollar gold piece boasts a small mintage of 15,017 pieces. In Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, John Dannreuther estimates 150-200 examples of this issue are still extant in all grades. Mint State 1803 eagles are rarities, even the 'common' varieties.
Die marriages were of little interest to collectors of the 19th century, and catalogers seldom differentiated between varieties in their lot descriptions. Numismatists became more conscious of these important differences in the early part of the 20th century, and auction catalogs began to describe the small stars reverse in basic detail. In the Stickney Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1907), lot 623, an 1803 eagle is described thusly, '1803 R. Small stars. Extremely fine. Mint lustre. See plate.' The coin sold for $25, a good price at the time.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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