Overview: 1798 Draped Bust/Small Eagle Dollars


Production of Draped Bust/Small Eagle dollars dated 1798 employed 2 known different obverse dies and 2 known different reverse dies, combining to create 2 different individual die varieties.  Both of these die varieties are quite distinctive; consequently, the Redbook includes both as major types.  The distinction between the two types is based on the number of stars on the obverse - either 15 or 13 - and the size of the letters in the reverse legend - either small or large.  On the first variety, the obverse displays 15 stars arranged with 8 to the left and 7 to the right.  Experts believe that this variety resulted from the use of a previously-undated obverse die originally prepared in 1795, when the normal design called for 15 obverse stars.  This obverse is mated with the reverse with small letters in the legend, the final re-use of the die first used in 1795 and previously re-used in 1796 and 1797.  An estimated 700 specimens are thought to remain in existence.  On the second variety, the obverse displays 13 stars arranged with 7 to the left and 6 to the right - as would be the norm throughout the remainder of early dollar production in 1804.  The reverse displays large letters in the legend, a re-use of a die first used in 1797.  An estimated 950 specimens of the 13 stars variety are thought to remain in existence, making it somewhat more available than the 15 stars type.

15 Stars obverse

13 Stars obverse

Small Letters

Large Letters

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