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 Morgan dollar was born in 1878 with the Bland-Allison Act. A special favor to western mine owners, this Mint Act authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to procure between $2 million and $4 million in silver bullion a month for coinage into silver dollars. In 1890, the Sherman Silver Purchase Act subsidized its earlier counterpart and increased the Treasury Department's monthly purchase obligation to $4.5 million in silver bullion. Even though Congress repealed this gluttinous act on November 1, 1893, there was so much silver in government hands that all three mints would have their hands full until 1904. In that historically significant year, however, the bullion supply finally became exhausted. From 1878 through 1904, the Philadelphia, Carson City, New Orleans, and San Francisco Mints produced a staggering total of $570,272,610 worth of Morgan dollars. This output dwarfed the federal government's delivery of $8,031,238 worth of silver dollars from the denomination's inception in 1794 to the eve of the Bland-Allison Act. Since it seemed highly unlikely that Congress would pass the enabling legislation to resume silver dollar coinage, the Mint destroyed the master hubs for George Morgan's design in 1910. This would have unforeseen consequences when, under the terms of the Pittman Act of 1918, recoinage of Morgan dollars was given high priority in the interim before the new Peace design could be adopted.
Like its Philadelphia and New Orleans counterparts, the San Francisco Mint rounded out more than two decades of record breaking silver dollar coinage with a respectable delivery of 2,304,000 pieces in 1904. While the Mint stored several bags of this issue in its own vaults, the majority were shipped east to the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C. As the surviving specimens gradually entered public hands over the course of the following decades, numismatists were less than thrilled with the apparent manner in which the government dealt with its coinage. The strike on this issue proved to be a blight on the otherwise stellar record of the San Francisco Mint. In addition, the heavily abraded state of these pieces once again illustrated the aversion of large silver coins to cross-country transport. While MS 65 specimens of this issue are deservedly rare, even the most deep-pocketed collector understands that money alone cannot guarantee the purchase of an MS 66 piece.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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