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 first-year 1873 is the rarest proof in the 1873-1883 Trade Dollar series. These coins were not popular with collectors at the time of issue, with the result that many were spent or otherwise mishandled. Many of the survivors are noticeably hairlined, if not out and out impaired, and unevenness of strike is also a factor that today's collectors need to take into account when looking for a suitable representative for their collection.
The exact number of proof Trade Dollars that the Philadelphia Mint produced in 1873 is still debated. The Annual Report of the Director of the Mint, dated 1887, states that 600 proofs were prepared in 1873. On the other hand, internal Mint records located by Harry X. Boosel state that 600 proofs were delivered between July 1, 1873 and September 30, 1873, plus a further 265 examples between October 1 and the end of the year. This total of 865 pieces is quoted by the 2012 Guide Book.
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