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.
David W. Lange's The Complete Guide to Mercury Dimes explains how Adolph W. Weinman's progressive, forward-looking 'Mercury' dime design, complementing the many other beautiful contemporaneous coin redesigns, in 1917 was lowered in relief to meet the exigencies of high-speed coinage, thus depriving collectors and art enthusiasts of much of the design's boldness and vigor. Besides the design changes, the 1917-S shows two styles of mintmark, with the Type of 1917 featuring a small but more open mintmark.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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