Remembering Great Collections

recently heard from Christopher McDowell, a relatively new on the scene
Renaissance Man researcher, now editor of The Colonial Newsletter and
a major contributor to the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (not to overlook great
help with some of the research I have been doing for Whitman and Stacks Bowers
Galleries) In this instance, he wrote to ask who authored certain parts of a
long-ago series of sales. These were the suite of four catalogs for the Garrett
Collection sold by Bowers and Merena Galleries from 1979 through 1981,
consigned to us by the Johns Hopkins University. My reply to Chris included
much of the following.


I wrote
nearly all of the Garrett descriptions with the help of George Fuld on
the MEDALS. There was some staff help on other series. This involved a
heck of a lot of research — going through over 4,000 documents at the Johns
Hopkins University, consulting with specialists – and also resulted in a book
that became a best seller. It was a “grand adventure” that I recall with
pleasure today. David and Susan Tripp at JHU, still great friends today,
facilitated things.


sale turned the market upside down. For the first time TONED coins became
widely popular. Some of the prices were so off-the-wall that Abe Kosoff wrote
that in calculating values, the Garrett Collection should not be considered as
it was a special situation!


David Tripp was instrumental in helping me and the Morgan Guaranty Trust
Company with the Virgil M. Brand Collection, another “grand adventure,” that
resulted in a book as well and the transforming of Virgil in popular numismatic
opinion from a wealthy coin buyer who simply bought and stored coins (as Col.
E.H.R. Green did) to a wealthy coin buyer who was also one of the most knowledgeable
numismatic scholars of the early 20th century.


“grand adventures” include the Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb, Louis E.
Eliasberg, Walter Childs, Harry W. Bass, Jr.  and D. Brent Pogue
collections—for most of which I had a lot of staff help, with John Kraljevich
doing the lion’s share of the Pogue descriptions. I wrote two books about the
Pogue Collection.


Karstedt in particular has been dynamic in the past quarter century with
coordinating and arrangements, and numismatists on staff have been the Who’s
Who in American Numismatics. 
 Some have gone elsewhere in their
careers, but John Pack’s banner still waves high at our California office. The
Stack’s Bowers Galleries team includes many world=class numismatists who were
not part of the aforementioned great collections, but who are front row center
in sales in recent years.

of course, there was and is the SS Central America, coordinated by
Dwight Manley. In 2000 and 2001. I created the 1,064-page book on the treasure
under an unlimited budget that facilitated research from the Library of
Congress in the East to the Bancroft Library in the West. I received help from
many people (Bob Evans was the star); 4,600 copies were sold, and today on the
after-market they still sell for more than they did originally!


None of
the above could have been done without wonderful staff help, an enthusiastic
reception in the marketplace by dealers and collectors, and excellent coverage
in the media.


Lots of

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