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.
Between 1908 and 1929, four mints produced 24 different Indian half eagle issues. Although the 1915-S five is not a standout in terms of recorded mintage-it ranks fourth with a total of 164,000 coins struck-it is prominent as a conditional rarity above the MS63 level, perhaps equal to or slightly second to the 1914-S.
The reason for the conditional rarity of the late date S-mint half eagles is that all coins struck were apparently released into circulation. During the early 1900s, circulating coinage was in short supply and desperately needed to meet the demands of a booming West Coast economy. As a result, few coins were saved early on and, as a result, we have a limited number of Mint State pieces available for collectors today. David Akers perhaps said it best in 1979: ?Strictly Uncirculated examples are very rare and Choice or Gem quality Mint State pieces are almost impossible to obtain. This date is the rarest S-mint half eagle in any grade and is also [rarer] in Choice Mint State than the 1909-S, 1910-S, 1912-S, 1913-S, 1914-S and 1916-S. In fact, a strong argument could be made that it is the rarest Indian Head half eagle in Choice condition, its only competition coming from the 1909-O and the 1911-D which are also extremely rare in full Mint State.?
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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