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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 8, February 24, 2008, Article 26

ALAN WEINBERG ON THE GARRETT COLLECTION AT EVERGREEN HOUSE

[Alan V. Weinberg notes that his mixup of John and Dwight
Manley in his write-up of the Husak sale reminded him of a
time he did a double take over a different Dwight.  The
event took place in Evergreen House, the Johns Hopkins
University home of the legendary Garrett coin collection,
later dispersed in a number of landmark sales in the late
1970s / early 1980s.  His story follows. -Editor]

In 1967 I was attending George Washington University law
school in D.C. and on a Saturday I traveled to Baltimore
and Johns Hopkins University to visit Evergreen House and
hopefully view the Garrett Collection there.

As I walked in, uninvited, I saw someone looking amazingly
like Dwight D.  Eisenhower looking at books in the Evergreen
Library. It was Dwight's brother Milton Eisenhower, then
President of Johns Hopkins University. I introduced myself.

I then requested to view the Garrett coins and medal
collection and was escorted to a massive desk in a large,
dark, somber room where curator/author Sarah Freeman brought
me tray after tray after tray of the most incredible American
rarities - this was well before certain numismatic luminaries
convinced later JHU Garrett curator Carl Carlson to "trade"
pieces out of the collection but that's a story another
E-Sylum reader will have to write.

The coins and medals were unprotected in little wooden
squares of much larger trays which you reached into and
just manually lifted out. No gloves, nothing to lay the
pieces on, no supervision whatsoever. Who was I? Just an
anonymous person come in off the street! I was there for
several hours and, to this day, I wonder about the total
lack of any supervision or security over priceless rarities
that in 1979-81 appeared in four auctions - which I attended.

I remembered many of the coins and medals, having held them
in 1967. It reflected what I experienced in the summer of
1966 when I first visited the British Museum numismatic vault
rooms and, for five days, handled the rarest of the rare
without any supervision, discovering along the way the many
U.S. rarities that had been switched and were missing - like
a Gem Uncirculated 1792 half disme gifted in 1800 by world
traveler Sir Joseph Banks and replaced with a circulated
1829 half dime. But that's another story, too.

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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