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 Philadelphia Mint delivered two 1861-dated obverse dies to the San Francisco Mint in November 1860, followed by a third in June of the following year. Mated with leftover reverse dies, these obverses produced a mere 18,000 1861-S Half Eagles. Since this was a workhorse issue, like most S-mint gold coins from this era, it should come as no surprise that the typically offered grade among survivors is only VF or XF.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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