1797 Draped Bust Silver Dollar. BB-72, B-2. Rarity-4. Stars 9x7, Small Letters. AU-53 (PCGS).The obverse shows the usual sharp strike from the die, with the stars and most of Libertys curls well defined. The reverse is only a bit less sharp with mentionable wear confined to the eagles head, breast, legs and the clouds. The surfaces on both sides are attractive with some prooflike reflectivity remaining in the fields. Golden-silver hues dominate with patches of teal and blue splashed about, especially around the peripheries. Free of adjustment marks with an overall smooth appearance, provenance concerns alone compel us to mention a couple of minor scuffs on the eagles neck and in the surrounding field.Bowers Borckardt-72 is the rarest and most eagerly sought of the three known die marriages of the 1797 Draped Bust silver dollar. In fact, Q. David Bowers (<em>The Encyclopedia of United States Silver Dollars: 1794-1804</em>, 2013) states, "Without a doubt, it is the best known die variety of the 1796-7 years combined. Indeed, it may well be the most famous variety after 1794 and before 1804." The author also states that approximately 200 to 300 examples are extant from a mintage that was probably on the order of 4,000 to 4,500 coins. Bowers (and others) believed that most, if not all 1797-dated silver dollars were included in the mintage of 327,536 pieces reported for calendar year 1798. The mintage of 7,776 coins given for calendar year 1797 was probably comprised largely or exclusively of dollars dated 1796. The present example is ranked #4 in the Bowers Condition Census for the BB-72 dies, which list is comprised of coins that range in grade from AU-58 to EF. This is obviously a highly significant offering for the advanced numismatist specializing in early dollar varieties.Ex Dale Friend Collection; U.S. Coins; Cardinal Collection; private collection; our (Bowers and Merenas) Baltimore Rarities Sale of July 2008, lot 702; Ira & Larry Goldbergs sale of the Dr. Hesselgesser Collection, Part II, September 2011, lot 5029; our sale of the Freedom Collection, August 2013, lot 4321; Legends Regency Auction XIX, December 2016, lot 352.