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.
Much more elusive than its Open 3 counterpart, the Closed 3 was struck only for a brief period early in the year. According to Walter Breen's Encyclopedia, Chief Coiner Archibald Loudon Snowden wrote a letter of complaint to Mint Director James Pollock on January 18, 1873. Pollock responded with an order to Chief Engraver William Barber to produce new logotypes with an Open 3 that could not be mistaken for an 8 with the naked eye. Mint State survivors are decidedly rare, and only the availability of the Open 3 variety has made the Closed 3 affordable in Uncirculated grades.
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