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 two varieties utilized this represent distinct master dies derived from the common master hub. In his The Complete Guide to Lincoln Cents, David Lange writes that it was determined early in 1960 that the numeral 0 in the date 1960 was too small and susceptible to breakage and filling in of the die. This die was discarded and replaced with one into which a larger and more rounded numeral 0 was engraved. The numerals 6 and 9 were also lengthened and enlarged. The Small Date variant is the scarcer of the two varieties, and becomes quite scarce in higher Mint State grades.
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