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The internal unique ID of the item and is a large arbitrary whole number (read-only, not sequential numbers).
Although set to no value (0) by default it is immediately populated with the items UID. The $ID UID number is unique within a TBX.
$ID opens a number of possibilities for export, including making HTML anchors for linking to includes in exported pages.
Important, re aliases. IDs of aliases do not persist between sessions. In other words, if a note X has an $ID of "3219936174" today, it will have the same ID next week, but aliases of X might have different IDs. Aliases created by agents may change IDs at any time. However, aliases inside inactive agents do retain their ID value, unless/until the agent is re-activated.
An object dragged or copy/pasted to a different TB acquires a new $ID, as this ensures the UID is unique in the new location (i.e. it's existing source $ID might already be allocated in the receiving document).