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.
Because of its mintage of close to 2.9 million pieces, the 1861 is relatively available in Mint State, although it is found much more often in VG and Fine grades. It is possible that the supply of better condition 1861 half dollars was reduced due to the circa 1879 Scott CSA dollar restrikes. J.W. Scott claimed that only 1861-O halves were used to produce the restrikes, but a Philadelphia example would have done as well, since the reverse (and any mintmark) was planed down to provide a surface for the CSA die.
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