Rare 1797 Draped Bust, Small
stars US Silver Dollar
coin is a US 1797
eagle silver dollar, large letters with 9+7 stars variety, BB-73,
In 1797, the relatively new US mint was still
art of coin manufacture and 1797 was a particularly difficult year,
producing only 7,760 dollars compared to 72,920 for 1796 and 327,536
1798. In 1797, both the obverse and reverse dies for this 9+7 star
variety eventually cracked, the obverse die broke so badly that it had
discarded. The reverse die was reused in 1798 with old 15 star and new
13 star obverse dies thus 1797 was the only dollar to bear 16 stars in
honor of Tennessee's admission to the union! This specimen was minted
late in 1797 and shows both
the reverse and obverse die cracks as seen below. The reverse die crack
runs vertically through the second letter T of STATES and is also found
on all specimens of 1798 dollars that used the same die! Early dollars
also had planchet
problems often due to incomplete mixing of the
silver alloy used to make blanks. These often appear as curved black
marks or streaks and these features can occasionally corrode leaving
swirling features as seen on Liberty's neck. Similar effects are
sometimes seen on the famous 1795 "silver plug" bust dollar where the
metal alloy is also not uniform. The reverse has a faint outline of the
date 1832 hand scribed below the wreath. This style of cursive
handwriting is no longer used.
Below: Obverse die cracks start at stars 5
and 7 then cross each
other in Liberty's ribbon.
the coin may have been cleaned long ago, it has very nice
metallic luster like many coins from the period.
Another one travels from
the 97 in the
date to the lower part of Liberty's drape.