Another Great CoinWeek Article.
It's not Charles Morgan but it's extremely good;
re '82-P nickels
"On PCGS Coinfacts, PCGS posits that as many as 116 million survive in Mint State, with 46.5 million surviving in the Gem Uncirculated grade of MS65. The basis of this estimate is not clear and we assume it accounts for a large deposit of unreleased nickels held by the government in deep storage. A more likely population of extant 1982-P uncs would have that total in the hundreds of thousands, with a minority of them (perhaps 20 to 30 thousand) in grades approaching Gem."
I just found this recently and got quite a kick out of it. Now I wish I had studied the '82 nickels more closely so I could provide a good estimate of the number surviving in Unc. It can be closely estimated by comparing the incidence of the two types in mint sets (with known mintages to the incidence in the marketplace. Whatever the actual number it's improbable that more than half a million survive. Indeed, fewer than half a million were set aside and many of these are gone or degraded now. There should be another million in AU and similar numbers of XF's. Most of the mintage is gone from circulation now because these have a remarkably high attrition and survivors are often low grade and culls. Nice VF's can still be found with some effort. Because of the large numbers set aside high grade stragglers are quite possible in circulation. It's much easier to find an XF 1982-P quarter than a 1985.
It's far tougher in BU than the '50-D and probably scarcer than the early mint marked jeffersons though more common in AU.
The two types are extremely easy to spot on well struck specimens but many of these are very poorly struck and they can be confused. The difference is dramatic but bad strikes tend to be awful and common.
FS are scarce. Despite setting aside many Gems in mint sets I found none. I suspect most come from rolls. True Gems are tough because of marking and poor strikes.
The days of finding these at a very low cost might be ending. The only reason they were available was that there was no demand. Now with a little demand they appear to be disappearing fast.