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.
While not widely recognized, the 1884 may, in fact, be the rarest of the three proof-only double eagles from the 1880s. When one considers the total number known today, it certainly appears that way. Only 71 examples were struck and the survival rate is somewhat lower than for other proof double eagles of this era. Walter Breen estimated that "16 to 20" were known, but based on the number of auction appearances for this date in the past ten years, we believe a more reasonable estimate is 12 to 15 pieces. It should be remembered that two or three of these are impounded in museums and another one or two are impaired, which leaves an extremely limited number of pieces available to the serious collector.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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