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.
A short quote from the WB reference helps explain this curious coin: 'Head dies of the Capped Bust half dollar design were sent to the New Orleans Branch Mint in 1839 along with companion tail dies of the Reich Eagle design. These tail dies had no mintmark as it was the practice in 1838 and 1839 to apply the mintmark (O) to the head dies sent to New Orleans. One such tail die with no mintmark was not used in 1839 and was reserved for use in 1840 when other used dies were canceled. Subsequent use of this die in 1840 a the New Orleans Branch Mint gave birth to this unique subtype which until recently was considered a pattern or regular issue of the Philadelphia Mint...In 1986, the authors diagnostically die linked the two 1840 obverses in these die pairings to identical 1840 obverses paired with reverses having the (O) mintmark. It should also be noted that all of the half dollars minted in New Orleans in 1840 had smaller diameters than corresponding Philadelphia half dollars.'
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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