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.
When the 19th century U.S. Mint documented the number of coins struck, they correctly accounted how many pieces were produced. However, the total entered into the log books did not reflect the subsequent melting of an issue, although that figure may have existed in other journals. As such, the production total recorded for the 1861 gold dollar--a minuscule 349 pieces to begin with--was not completely sold to collectors and must have been melted. Perhaps collector demand was down due to the Civil War. Whatever the cause, today only 20 to 30 examples are believed extant in all grades.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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