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 Treasury release of millions of Morgan dollars in the early 1960s made some rarities within the series become common almost overnight. Without this knowledge, traditional data, such as mintage figures and certified population charts would make little sense. As an example, we compare two issues similar at their time of production. The 1892-O dollar saw a mintage of 2.7 million pieces and, six years later, a total of 4.4 million 1898-O dollars were struck. The mintages are, in the scope of the series and numismatics in general, quite similar, yet the 1898 O-mint Morgans are far more available today. The reason why is explained by Dave Bowers in his Guidebook of Morgan Silver Dollars (2007): 'The 1898-O is the first of the 'big three' rarities released from a long-sealed vault in November 1962 to ignite the great Treasury-release treasure hunt. Previously, in Mint State the 1898-O was a rarity. Today, the 1898-O is plentiful in all grades, including Gem Mint State.' Discussing the current issue, Bowers notes that 'during the 1962 through 1964 Treasury release a deluge issued forth from a vault containing New Orleans coins, put under seal in 1929. However, the 1892-O was not among those found in great quantity.'
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