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.
It was not until February of 1853 that a weight reduction went into effect for all subsidiary silver coinage. This weight reduction did not occur without considerable debate in Congress and concern over 'cheating' U.S. citizens by producing coinage with less than their stated value in precious metal. The problem had been that for decades both silver and gold coins had been melted as the raw silver or gold content was worth more than the coin's face value. Which makes one wonder, why was this pre-1853 large silver coin set aside, and in such a superior grade? Was it meant to be melted and spared because of its extraordinary condition? Was it a part of some now forgotten hoard of 1852 halves? Or did someone simply look at this coin in 1852 and appreciate its special surface qualities? Only 77,130 pieces were minted of this issue, and obviously melting and attrition took a heavy toll.
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