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 difference between the matte finish and so-called Roman Finish is profound. The matte finish was first used in the mint on regular production coins in 1908, and had been used on several medals previously. Like the previously produced brilliant finish proofs, planchets were carefully selected, however, the dies were not polished. Instead, the planchets were inserted in the high pressure medal press and struck once. After striking, the coins were taken to a small, enclosed cabinet and carefully sandblasted on each side with a stream of fine, industrial sand that imparted a dull, granular effect. The new, European-inspired proofs were not popular with collectors. But the fix in 1909-1910 proved even more unpopular. In those two years, the mint produced proofs that were struck with special dies on special planchets, but the coins received no post-striking treatment (that is, sandblasting). These coins were variously called bright proofs, Satin proofs, new style proofs, and yellow proofs. These coins proved even more unpopular with collectors than the previous matte proofs from 1908. William Woodin commented to Assistant Treasury Secretary A. Piatt Andrew in August, 1910: ' ... The present [satin] proofs of the Saint-Gaudens designs and the Pratt designs are simply rotten. I know of no other word to express it ...' Collectors today would surely agree that Woodin overreacted to the new finish, but the mint in 1910 was sensitive to the comments by collectors and especially one as influential as William Woodin.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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