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.
Production of the double eagle is tied to the enabling legislation for the gold dollar. The gold dollar was in trouble in the House, and Mint Director Robert Maskell Patterson opposed it as well. The objection was the tiny size of the gold dollar--it seemed to Patterson to be little more than play money and he deemed it unworthy of a great nation. However when the double eagle was added to the bill for the gold dollar, there was a new and powerful constituency for the larger coin. Bankers especially liked the twenty dollar gold piece as it could be used to store large quantities of money in a relatively small space. Thus, legislation for the gold dollar was passed on the coat tails of the double eagle's popularity.
Preparation of dies took considerable time in 1849 and only two patterns were struck with that date. One is in the Smithsonian today, and the whereabouts of the other piece are unknown. The 1849 twenty is obviously a pattern, as one can readily see when viewing the piece, which makes the 1850 the first year of regular issue for this highly collectible series. Relatively large numbers of 1850 twenties were set aside, no doubt as curiosities. Most survivors are XF-AU, and Uncirculated examples are rarely encountered.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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