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 1909 and 1910 quarter eagle proofs were struck in the so-called 'Roman gold' finish, a lighter and, most numismatists say, more popular surface treatment than the darker matte finish used in 1908. Dr. Robert J. Loewinger's Proof Gold Coinage of the United States calls the finish 'halfway between a matte and a mirrored finish.' (A single dark matte example is known of the 1910 proof issue, currently graded PR66 NGC.) Mintage figures fell considerably from 1908 to 1909, partially due to the unpopularity of the first-year proofs' appearance, and partially due to the typical lower demand for second-year-of-issue coins. The Garrett-Guth gold Encyclopedia notes of this issue, 'This is far and away the most difficult issue to find in PF-64 or higher grades.... For the collector, this is one of the three most difficult Proof issues to obtain in any grade, and perhaps it is the rarest overall, as the combined PCGS Population Reports and NGC Census show the 1909 quarter eagle to have the fewest Proofs graded of any date in the series....'
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