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.
There is controversy among numismatists of the intended use and fate of the 1859 and 1860 Trade dollars. David Bowers and John Willem contend that all of the '59 and '60 silver dollars from the mints involved in their production were made primarily for export to China, where they were melted down and converted into bullion. Robert Julian, however, argues that the heavy coinage of silver dollars in 1859-1860 was more related to the heavy imbalance of silver imports and exports, and to the increased mining of silver beginning in 1859. He states: 'If there had been a real demand for the American silver dollar, there would have been no need for the Spanish or Mexican coin to be sent to the Far East. The minuscule coinage at San Francisco in 1859 (20,000 pieces) (when there were ample supplies of silver to be had...from the Comstock...or California) is a telling point against silver dollars being sent in quantity to the Orient.'
Whatever the case, examples of the high-mintage 1859 dollar (255,700 business strikes) are scarce today in all grades, especially in the better grades of Mint State.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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