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.
In addition to ranking seventh out of the 24 C-mint half eagle issues in terms of overall rarity, the 1861-C is an important coin due to the enigmatic history of the Charlotte Mint's final year of production. Records indicate that 6,879 half eagles bearing this date and mintmark were originally produced. Perhaps as many as 887 of these coins were delivered in May 1861. Since the Charlotte Mint had fallen into rebel hands on April 20, this last group of coins was produced under the auspices of the Confederacy. Numismatic scholars have spilled a considerable amount of ink trying to distinguish federal 1861-C half eagles from their Confederate counterparts. Rust pits and die cracks have both been cited as diagnostic features of the Confederate strikings.
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