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.
Before the treasures of the S.S. Brother Jonathan and the S.S. Republic were recovered, the 1864-S Liberty double eagle was one of the most difficult Type One issues to find in Mint State. The substantial mintage of 793,660 pieces assured an adequate supply of VF to AU examples, but any Uncirculated specimen was a rarity. The situation improved considerably once the coins from the famous shipwrecks entered the market. In A Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins, Q. David Bowers estimates a surviving population of 45 to 60 coins in Mint State grades today. The majority of shipwreck coins seen are in the lowest Uncirculated grades, leaving coins at the MS62 level decidedly rare.
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