Overview: 1797 Draped Bust/Small Eagle Dollars


Production of Draped Bust dollars dated 1797 employed 2 known different obverse dies and 3 known different reverse dies, combining to create 3 different individual die varieties.  All three of these die varieties are quite distinctive; consequently, the Redbook includes all 3 as major types.  The distinction between the three types is based on the arrangement of stars on the obverse - either 10x6 or 9x7 - and the size of the letters in the reverse legend  - either small or large.  It is estimated that 1,600 specimens of the Stars 10x6/large letters type are still in existence. Specimens of the Stars 9x7/large letters type are of about equal availability as the Stars 10x6 type, with an estimated 1,700 remaining in existence.  1797 dollars of the Stars 9x7/small letters type are legendary for their rarity, being perhaps the most famous variety of early dollar after 1794 and before 1804.  Only around 250 are thought to still exist, making it, by far, the rarest variety of the year.

Stars 10x6

Stars 9x7

Small Letters

Large Letters

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