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.
From 1880 to 1886, production of three dollar gold pieces was so trivial that the 1,500 circulation-strike coins made in 1882 amounted to a boomlet. Meager output alone, however, cannot account fully for the 1884 three dollar gold piece's desirability. The comments by Garrett and Guth in their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins are perceptive: 'The 1884 $3 gold piece continues the run of low mintage dates the characterize the waning years of this denomination. However, for some inexplicable reason, this date was not saved or hoarded to the same degree as the others around it. For example, the number of surviving coins matches that of the 1881 issue, which has a mintage equal to exactly half of the 1884 issue.'
The two authors later note that though survivors are elusive in an absolute sense, a significant proportion are Mint State, making it comparatively available in better grades.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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