The 1797 Draped Bust Half Eagle with heraldic eagle reverse represented another illogical combination created by the re-use of older dies. The reverse design had been switched to the heraldic eagle subtype in early 1798, but three previous obverse dies bearing the date 1797 were put into use.
Two of the die pairs, known as 15-star and 16-star obverse, are identified by a single known example which is contained within the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Collection. This status makes these two unique varieties uncollectible, as the representative examples are not available to the public market.
The third die pair includes an obverse die from 1795 which was overdated to 1797 with the under digit clearly visible. This represents the only collectible 1797 half eagle with heraldic eagle reverse. The mintage for this variety has been estimated at 750 pieces, although this figure is disputed by some. Approximately eighteen coins of this issue are still known to exist, most in circulated condition although on or two heavily marked uncirculated pieces are still in existence. An example graded AU 58 by NGC sold for $129,250 at auction in August 2012.