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.
This is very likely the rarest proof Morgan dollar (a term that acquires special meaning in conjunction with this issue, as we will soon see), particularly since many expert numismatists, Q. David Bowers among them, exclude the controversial Zerbe proofs as merely prooflike dollars struck from hairlined dies.
The story of the creation of the Chapman proofs bears repeating here (courtesy of Bowers Silver Dollar Encyclopedia:
In 1921, [coin dealer] Henry Chapman went to the Mint and had some mirror-surface Proofs struck to his order. This was done clandestinely by or for George T. Morgan, chief engraver, who had a little 'rare coin business' going on the side. Walter H. Breen reported that he has seen 'the bill of sale for 10 Proofs, Morgan to Chapman.' The original production of mirror-type Proofs must have been very small, perhaps just 15 in all (10 to Chapman, five to Ambrose Swasey). They were not officially sold by the mint, nor were any proof sets made that year.
Further down in Bowers' discussion he quotes Walter Breen concerning diagnostics of the Chapman proofs or, as Bowers calls them, 'mirror-surface Proofs':
On the five Proofs Engraver Morgan sold to Ambrose Swasey, 6/4/21, and the 10 Morgan sold to Henry Chapman a week later, a short line points from rim to third star, and ends about 1 mm away, two die polish lines up from rim to first 1, hollow around Morgan's initial M (from overpolished die). Reverse dash between right star and wreath, touching neither, another, fainter, slanting up from left upright of I(CA), a third between S(T) and I of [IN], touching neither, faint scattered die striations around UN AM RICA
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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