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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.
Only two die varieties are known for the 1821 half eagles, with an estimated combined population of only 15 to 20 pieces. The varieties are quickly distinguished by the position of Star 6. On BD-1 (Breen 3-A), star 6 points to the cap, above the headband. About 12 to 15 are known, according to John Dannreuther in Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, A Study of Die States, 1795-1834. On BD-2 (Breen 2-A), star 6 points to the headband, below the cap. Dannreuther estimates that just three to five examples of BD-2 are known. Walter Breen recorded a third variety, Breen 1-A. It is now known that his obverse 1 and obverse 2 are the same die.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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