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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 9, March 2, 2008, Article 19

ALAN WEINBERG ON THE COTTINGHAM LINCOLN CONSPIRATORS CAPTOR MEDAL

[His earlier piece on viewing Garrett collection treasures
at Johns Hopkins University reminded Alan V. Weinberg of
another interesting experience of his relating to the
collection.  Here it is.  Thanks again to Alan for sharing
the tale.  -Editor]

In  1978, now living in Los Angeles, I recieved a phone
call from George Fuld, then working at Bowers & Ruddy
Galleries (located in the heart of  Hollywood Blvd directly
across from Graumann's Chinese Theater and its movie star
hand/foot prints). The area was my old LAPD footbeat (and
oh, the stories I could tell!). George said, "C'mon down,
I'm unwrapping the Garrett/JHU medals".

Wow! I raced down. I was likely the first to once again
view Garrett treasures outside of the Bowers & Merena
employees. I asked George, as I sat unwrapping medals,
"What Garrett/JHU medal most impresses you?" He showed
it to me & it mesmerized me. A large, superb prooflike
toned, completely hand-engraved Abraham Lincoln silver
portrait medal awarded to Captain Thomas Cottingham "One
of the Captors of the Conspirators and Assassin of
President Lincoln.  Awarded One Thousand Dollars"

Presented by General W.S. Baker, then head of the Secret
Service - the medal, money awarded and Cottingham are
mentioned in Baker's 1865 Memoirs, an edition of which
I have. The medal had an auction pedigree back to 1884
when T. Harrison Garrett bought it for $42. "What do you
think this'll bring, George?", already planning on acquiring
it. "$5,000," he said. Well, three years later, I bought it
in Garrett IV for $26,000. Today, I'm still asked about it
and if I still own it. Yes, I do.

Prior to the four Garrett/JHU auctions, I had received
another call from a Ventura Blvd, Tarzana coin shop (near
where I live). "I've got a peculiar George Washington medal
you might be interested in". Again, I raced down. It was the
unique silver George Washington Getz half dollar with reverse
bisecting die crack and large eagle. The dealer had been
flipping it in the air like gangster actor George Raft.
"Whazzit worth? Interested?, " he asked.  I immediately
recognized it as a Garrett/JHU unique colonial and contacted
Bowers & Ruddy.  It seems a dishonest employee had stolen
the coin. It made it into Garrett IV. I didn't get this one
- John Ford did.

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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