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.
Just 550 proof half dollars were coined in 1862, well into the fiercely contested Civil War. During this era, little silver and gold was available for coinage, and few business strikes or proofs were minted in Philadelphia, although it was pretty much business as usual in San Francisco. Back in Philadelphia, however, just 253,000 business strike half dollars were coined during the course of the year, and certainly a substantial part of this mintage was hoarded and later melted for the metal content. Consider also that most numismatists in the 19th-century preferred proofs over business strikes, and the rarity of this issue is apparent. Still today, the only relatively available high-quality examples are proofs.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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