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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.
The recorded proof emission is 35 coins for the 1870 three dollar gold. Perhaps 12 to 15 survive today, both NGC and PCGS combined have certified 18 pieces, less duplicates. There are a half-dozen examples certified at PCGS, the finest a single Gem proof. Due to the low business-strike emission of only 3,500 coins, deceptive prooflike examples exist, but they are easily distinguished: On true proofs the date is much lower, barely above the bow. The leaf left of the date is complete, while on business strikes it is incomplete. Bowers' recent reference comments regarding business strikes, 'The leaf left of the date is mostly missing, from grinding the die face too deeply, a process that also imparted a prooflike finish.' Proofs also often show diagonal die striae crisscrossing in the field.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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