Saturday, June 7, 2014

Garret Specimen 1804 dollar offered by Stack’s Bowers

One of the world famous 1804 silver dollar the “King of American Coins,” will be offered in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries official auction in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Illinois on August 8. The beautiful coin is the famous T. Harrison Garrett Class III coin acquired in 1883 and held by the family until 1942, when it passed to The Johns Hopkins University.

Will this coin make it to the Top 10 world's most expensive coins list?

1804 dollar
Garret Specimen 1804 dollar

Varieties of 1804 Dollars
Two different reverse dies were used to make the 1804-dated dollars, each mated with the same obverse.
  • Class I 1804-dated dollars: Reverse die with E in STATES over a cloud.
  • Class II 1804-dated dollars: Reverse die with E in STATES over junction between two clouds. Plain edge. Made in 1859.
  • Class III 1804-dated dollars: Reverse die as preceding. Lettered edge. Made circa late 1850s onward, last date of manufacture unknown, but possibly into the late 1860s or early 1870s.

The Garrett Specimen was made in 1859 or later as noted above. By circa 1875 it was in the hands of Captain John W. Haseltine of Philadelphia, one of the leading rare coin dealers and auction catalogers of the era, who stated that he had found it in the inventory of Koch & Co., professional numismatist in Vienna. Haseltine sold it to O.H. Berg, a Baltimore collector. On May 23 to 24, 1883, Haseltine cataloged and sold The Berg Collection, where the dollar was lot 568.

The buyer was George W. Cogan, New York City dealer, who acted as the agent for T. Harrison Garrett of Baltimore. Garrett, a connoisseur par excellence, became interested in coins while he was a student at Princeton in 1864. By 1883 he had assembled the largest private collection in United States, a cabinet that included coins from ancient to modern and had outstanding specimens of most of the great American rarities. In 1888 Garrett died in a boating accident aboard his yacht in Chesapeake Bay. The collection was then passed to his estate, and later to one of his sons, Robert Garrett (who as a star athlete won the first American gold medal in the first modern Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896). In 1919, Robert transferred ownership to another brother, Ambassador John Work Garrett, who lived in the family mansion, Evergreen House. After his passing, the collection was gifted in 1942 to The Johns Hopkins University.

In the 1960s, the collection was under the curatorship of Sarah Elizabeth Freeman, then Carl W.A. Carlson, and Susan Tripp. The 1804 dollar was kept at Evergreen for a long period of time, but was later taken with most of the rest of The Garrett Collection to a subterranean bank vault in downtown Baltimore for safekeeping. As security and other expenses prevented the collection from being available for study, the University opted to sell it at auction to raise funds for the improvement of Evergreen House, by then a conference and study center, and the restoration of Homewood, Charles Carroll’s mansion on the grounds of the University. Carroll was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. On March 26 and 27, 1980, in Part II of The Garrett Collection, our predecessor firm Bowers and Ruddy Galleries presented the 1804 dollar as lot 698. The buyer was the partnership of Pullen & Hanks. Later the coin changed hands several times, the details of which will be given in the forthcoming auction catalog along with many other aspects of the history of “the King of American Coins.”

Q. David Bowers, Chairman Emeritus of Stack’s Bowers Galleries, noted: “Over the years many rarities come back to us after being off the market, sometimes for years or decades. It is tremendous pleasure to see this great 1804 again. It brings back memories of my working with Susan Tripp and The Johns Hopkins University from 1979 to 1981, including many visits to Baltimore. Its buyer will gain a rich link with numismatic tradition and history.”

The Garrett 1804 dollar will be on display at several upcoming conventions, including the Long Beach Coin Expo, June Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo, and the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Auction of the ANA World’s Fair of Money.

Source: Stack's Bowers