1797 was the final issue of the Small Eagle type $10 gold pieces, and the rarest of the three dates. Only 3,615 pieces are believed to have been struck. The design of the 1797 Small Eagle is unique in that no other Eagle has the same arrangement of stars on the obverse. There are twelve stars on the left and four on the right. It is easy to identify a 1797 Small Eagle without even seeing the reverse, as the 1797 Large Eagle has a different obverse star arrangement. Breen only knew of one coin that showed an unbroken obverse. Apparently, this awkwardly arranged die, with 12 stars left and 4 right, broke shortly after being put into commission. This is an earlier striking as the crack is apparent in the lower right field but is not present yet on Liberty's neck and jaw.
Of the 25-30 pieces believed known, perhaps 5-6 exist today in Uncirculated condition. This is a unique opportunity for the specialist to acquire this coin, since it is the finest example known to exist and the only MS 63 certified at PCGS and NGC. This coin was in the Amon Carter collection that was sold by Stack's in January 1984. It sold for $448,500 in the Goldberg Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction on May 28,2007 (sale 41, lot 1643).