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.
Very few quarters and half dollars were minted at Philadelphia from 1879 until the late 1880s as a direct result of the Bland-Allison act of 1878. This mandated enormous mintages of silver dollars, thus monopolizing much of the coining equipment which would have normally been used to create other needed denominations. Silver was being purchased from western mines at artificially high (government subsidized) prices. Striking the largest silver coin of the realm made sense to Mint officials, whether they were needed or not. Merchants had to make do without badly needed small change while bank vaults were clogged with bags of silver dollars that basically did not circulate. Only 8,000 Seated quarters were struck in 1884 and very few gem specimens are known today.
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