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.
With a mintage of 4.7 million pieces, the 1927-S seems an unlikely candidate for one of the keys to the Mercury dime series. It is an easy coin to locate in the lower circulated grades, but it becomes scarce at the VF level. Uncirculated examples are elusive, but it is really the few Full Bands coins that elevate the '27-S to one of the series keys.
As Lange relates in his second edition of The Complete Guide to Mercury Dimes, 'Full band gems of this date are among the keys to this series. No examples of 1927-S have been certified higher than MS-66.' Those comments are taken from his second edition, which was published in 2005. So, sometime in the past two years this magnificent coin has been certified. To give an even more complete picture of this issue and its rarity in high grade and with full bands, we turn once again to David Lange: 'Flat band or partially split band pieces are the rule. A low mintage, combined with a particularly low survival rate for Mint State coins, provide very few coins from which to search for full band specimens. Occasional comparisons with the popular 1926-S dime are invalid, as 1927-S in Mint State beats it on most counts. The number of Uncirculated coins, both with and without full bands, is notably lower for 1927-S.'
Yet the 1926-S has traditionally been more highly sought after. This, of course, is because collectors like to equate low mintage with low availability. Sometimes this works, but all too often it does not. It has only been in the past 30 years with the advent of scholarship in the various 20th century series, and research specifically by Harold Kritzman into the relative scarcity of Full Band dimes, that we have a much clearer understanding of this popular series. Even then, the 1927-S was often considered second-best to the 1926-S (see Lange's comment above) and the term 'underrated' was often used when considering the '27-S. That would appear to not be the case any longer. This coin will likely bring the 1927-S to the forefront of strike rarities in the Mercury dime series.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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