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.
While the coming of steam power to the Philadelphia mint doubtless explains the introduction of Christian Gobrecht's first Reeded Edge Half Dollar in 1836, numismatists are at a loss to explain why the designer changed the reverse of his coin in 1838. Breen (1988) speculates that the denomination was changed from 50 CENTS to HALF DOL for uniformity with the Quarter and Silver Dollar. The Philadelphia Mint produced 3.5 million Halves in 1838, the highest total for any issue of this brief two-year type.
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